* The Cars - Elektra 1978 *
But then what do the friggers do? They end the album with "Moving In Stereo" and "All Mixed Up," and all of a sudden Pop begins to consider putting his head in the oven as he realizes that the rest of the album was a lie; life isn't fun - life is threatening, dark, and depressing, even if the fruit-filled keyboards try to convince him otherwise. These last two songs are the most mature and gripping pieces ever recorded by this band (especially "Moving In Stereo" - man, that's a song), but Pop can't deal with them. He's crying and throwing his hands up in the air in hopelessness and looking for his BB gun, so all you can do is turn the record over so Dad can hear the happy stuff again. He'll be okay. I don't know why I started writing this review in such an irritating way. Forget everything I just said.
If they didn't play six of these nine songs on the radio every ten minutes, I'd probably listen to the record a lot more often. Straddling the thin line of cleverness and accessibility that lies between new wave and classic rock, it is absolutely essential to any collection.
Well, not a stamp collection, but....you know.....
I’ve heard "Just What I Needed" a million times too many, but that doesn’t make it any less of a great song. Do I really need to go on with this album? Everyone undoubtedly knows 2/3 of it by heart, and the parts that people don’t know like "Don’t Cha Stop" are pretty darn good too. Only at least one song, maybe "I’m In Touch With Your World" but that’s still funny in a minor-chord sort of way, detracts from the album, so 9/10 it is.
Then you praise the first Cars album, which is nothing but slow rockers. Hmm...
Not that I blame you. The Cars is a great album. I'm not saying that any of the classics contained hold a card up to "Worksong", but they are all perfect examples of pop music that's great the first time you hear it, yet doesn't diminish with each listening.
Classic, must have album with nary a duffer on it.
Live....unfortunately they couldn't sing for shit and I've rarely heard such out of tune harmonies...but still great songs.
If they like "Moving in Stereo" and BOC's "Don't Fear the Reaper", you have a friend for life.
Thier Debute albume is and allways will be one of the pioneering records that put new wave on the charts. Although more Rockers own it than anyone else. This was actually the last record >I purchased from them, because all the hits were already played on Radio. I mean KMET and KLOS and KWEST played Cars all the TIME. Easily one of my favorites in my collection and arguably thier best. It is the one albume were Ben got as much spotlight as Ric and Evenb though on pop charts the songs only reached #'s 26, 35, 37 they are still better remembered than most of the top 20 from same year and the albume made the top 10 for that year, maybe only the Eaglesr beat them. I Don't remeber.
1. Good Times Roll= What a way to start an albume. The song is a masterpiece in itself becauset it contradicts the mood of the title. Melocholy is the sound best described, but somehow you get an ironocally good feeling from this song. A perfect way to introduce itself as a band on this albume.
2. My Best Friends Girl= Ric Okasek's ode to Buddy Holly as he describes in an interveiw. A song from the 50's hits the charts in late 1978. Right here you really grasp Rics vocals and the clever way he tries to sound like Buddy Holly. Always a sing-a-long tune on any day of summer
3.Just What I Needed= One of my top 10 songs of all time. This time Ben Orr takes the spotlight vocally and Greg Hawks instrumently. Is it a Rock,Pop,or Punk song? Eitherway all genres love this song. ...and will always be a favorite on Flashback and Rock radio stations. You must listen to Greg's keyboards as he captures perfectly the mood of this song.
4. I'm in Touch With Your World= A nice filler tune on what already is turned out to be superb albume.
5. Don't Cha Stop= Back to the fun. The best part of this song is the Chorus. Ric really delivers on this tune. Actually one of those that grows on you.
6. You're All I've Got Tonight= Ric makes this song. Here they capture what I call the "Garage band" sound perfectly. The song is so much different from the others and still a fan favorite. Another ironic song? Is Ric happy to have her or not? Listen to the intro and get hooked like I did.
7. Bye Bye Love= This song got ommited on both greatest hits compilations. it's one of thier best and this time Benn takes the lead on vocals. Another different sound for them boadering on pop balladd. The pianos are simply haunting.
8.Moving In Stereo= Everyone remembers this from Fast Times At Ridgmont High, (Pheobe Cates) WOW. This time they produce a song that both Rock and new wave radio could play. Actually all thier songs. This has a vibe that even peolpe who are not Cars fans like. It's a more mature sound complete with Greg Hawk's keys. He really outdoes himself on this one.
9. All Mixed Up= This song sound great when played back to back with its predecesor. That's the way it was meant to be heard.
I was 12 y/o when I first heard this album and the impact planted the seed for my musical likes for the rest of my life. This, of course, is a subjective state, but to be more objective, THE CARS really is a masterpiece of rock/pop music and is largely regarded as such by the music industry. Go to any reputable music expert (Rolling Stone, A&E, MTV/VH1, Billboard, et. al.), and you will see that the album is arguably the finest debut release in the 45 years of popular rock/pop music. Very few albums have charted on the Iconic, Billboard, as long as this debut album did, which was for over 2 1/2 years! That's right this debut album stayed on the Top 100 best selling albums for 2 1/2 years, and this was USA sales only ( makes you think of Dark Side of the Moon). The album reached as high as number 3, when Disco still ruled the airwaves. This is a testimate to the broad range of listeners the album appealed to and the lasting power of the quality of music. The Police were great, the Talking Heads were solid, Elvis Costello was brilliant, and Blondie was "fun" and the Pretenders were way overated, but this debut album, by far, exceeds any of these other contemporary acts. There's a reason this album has sold almost 10 million copies worldwide and with the revamp of the NEW CARS, the production of this album will continue for several years to come; its estimated that this album still sells roughly 25,000 copies annually. Not too shabby.
I agree with Mark's assessment of the CARS up and down career; they got huge, tailed off slightly to only new wavers, made a huge comeback with Heartbeat City at the height of over-produced and overly polished 80's NEW WAVE (which is what everyone was doing) and crashed horribly with the last album. But even so, all of the albums, Candy-O, Shake it Up, and Heartbeat City, along with the debut can still be seen for sale in music stores or on-line stores. That says something about the greatness of this group.
Cheers to all.... Darden
I love moving in stereo and all mixed up (The brilliant final track). I think it deserves a 9 just for historical importance.
Road Test - Bootleg
Here are my notes on the Cars bootleg. As always, turn it into a 'hilarious review for the kids.' The more they read, the more likely it is that their faces will turn into a bunch of bugs squiggling around.
That Guy In Halloween 3
Live in Germany Musikloden 1979 and Live in Boston Paradise Theatre 1978
they play every song from the debut except "all mixed up"
3 from "candy o" - since i held you, title, nightspots
5 repeated tracks between the two concerts
two rare tracks: "take what you want" has a cool 'jigga-jig jigga-jig" bass/guitar rhythm, but not much of a melody. Too similar in tone and sound to "Candy-O' and "Nightspots." Cool to hear though!
and "Take Me" is a kinda dumb circus rock/polka hybrid. Sounds like a reject.
The Germany recording is incredible - everything is so clear and well-performed!
In "candy-o," the chorus says "candy-o/i need you so/i guess you know"
some of the Boston tracks have heavy echo on the voice for some reason.
in 1978's "nightspots," instead of "it's just an automatic vibe," it ends with Ric repeating "I think you're crossin' the fine line."
There you go. Do what you do - turn it into an 'uproarious' review for the sinning masses. The more they read, the more likely it is that they'll develop a brain tumor and grow a big vagina in their stomach.
That Guy in Videodrome
Candy-O - Elektra 1979.
And by the way, the Cars kick Devo's scrawny wuss arses. So do Talking Heads and early XTC. Devo aren't new wave innovators - they're a really bad, jerky, rythmic group who came along when that kind of music was becoming popular. I love jerky music, but it needs some life, and Devo have none. Sure, some of their pop songs are really fun and catchy, but early Devo isn't fit to suck the crap out of Ric Ocasek's anus.
y'know, I take that back about Candy-O being the ultimate power pop album. That honor goes to GET THE KNACK.
1. Let's Go= Already said my favorite song of all-Time. I have never heard a song that sounds like this one. The whole production is GENIOUS. This is why Ric is my favorite songwriter. I mean this one was played everywhere from Rock Radio to Discos to Rollor Rinks even as an Anthem. You here any TOP Flashback countdown and thier it is. It's just that great.
I have to admit I was only 10 when it first came out, but I was really into music. I thought it was Ric singing untill I saw them on Don Kirschner. I said "Dad that's another guy singing". It was also my very first single. I mean can you imagine that single in the company of say "Kids songs" ...and the video is also awesome captures them live. Have I even talked about the song. What Can I say POP at6 it's best From guitars to synths, vocals the percussion the guys were in perfect synchronicity. 'NUFF SAID!
2. Since I Held You= Second tune on the albume and I'm still hooked. This one captures a BEACH/Surfer feeling. The lead guitars of Elliot really shine here and Ric's vocals ...man they're perfect!"You run around like a paper doll, pretending it's fun" My fav. line.
3.It's All I can Do= The thing I like about this song, aside from Benn's vocals is the fact year after year it shows up on Flashback countdowns. These are made up of fans request. Means that every year some fans recall this song and request it. The pecussion is very "Let's Go" like, but the mood is way different. It's a Ballad, but such a graet ballad complete with Greg's new wave pop keys and Elliot's signature guitar solo.
4. Double Life= Ric shines on this one. Once again you're on the beach cruising for chicks on this one. It sound great played high on your car stereo. Again the "Let's Go" percussion vibe is present. The song itself is very simple. The main melody doesn't change much. It starts out and ends the same way. A fade out. The Cars were known for thier Arena like ending to their songs. But this song delivers, especially the bridge right before the chorus. One of my favorites!
5. ShooBee Doo= This one belongs on Ric's later solo efforts. Not bad , but simply an intro to the Title track.
6. Candy-O= This song was so different from other ones on the albume. Very Punk-Like(like Cruiser) and also Benn's vocals sound haunting as he describes a girl who is bad, but still he needs her so. This one was on KLOS top 100 of the year and kicked off the countdown in last place, but sounded great, because it proved you would here at least 3 more that night. They had 5 on the countdown.
7. Night Spots= This song sounded like a club hit in so many ways. Not one of my favs, but still good. Would have been recieved better I think on Heartbeat City along with "Hello Again"
8. You Can't Hold On Too Long= remember I said the Cars were a great albume cut band. This is perfect example of that. Man this is one of my favs from the albume too. The chorus just kicks in perfectly..and that vibe comes alive with Ben Orr's vocals in a way that nobody elese could ever pull off.
9. Lust For Kicks= New Wave Bouncy and Fun. Greg is the obvious spotlight on this one. The VIBE is there and Ric delivers as allways. It's like a Jack n Jill story..Boy meats Girl and all! Also look for david's drums. They sound out of synch at times, but gives the song a more Rock feeling. Great!!
10.Got A Lot On My Head= Yeah! fast rock. They got a Garage band sound on this one with that awesome organ. Very Door's -Like. This song is a mix of all different styles. Blondie-Punk,Doors, and the guitars sound very Heavy metal. Ric tries to sound a bit like Ben on this one. Thier voices are never again so familiar sounding. This song was being played when Panorama came out, so I thought it was from that albume(did I mention I never had this albume untill I was 16).
11. Dangerous Type= My second favorite Cars song of All-Time. This was very Cruiser-like or vise-a-versa. The Vibe was incredible as i could here it being played to showcase candy-O in every record store. now-Days Classic Rock has it on Heavy Rotation and whenever I hear it I roll down the windows and PUMP it! Did I mention Ric Ocasek's vocals. Night,Tonight Dangerous Type. He sings about her with such passion , that he compares her to his new girl.The song feels like it go on forever and it's partly mainly due to Gregs keyboards...and when it finally does fade out you wish you could start it all over(many times I find myself singing along even after it ended. In short a perfect way to end the BEST ALBUME OF ALL-TIME!!
All I Can Do is a great example of the CARS melodic ability and the song makes one think of the neurotic things we say, do, think and experience through the process of obsession and/or love and lust and lastly the let down of rejection. The next three songs, Double Life, Shoo Be Doo and Candy-O is a masterpiece of mixing musical arrangements and song writing; its no accident that these three songs are placed on the album in such a manner. Double Life ends and overlaps with the beginning of the artsy/experimental Shoo Be Do, which then, w/o any break in the music launches into the hard rocking sound of Candy-O. This is purposely done to demonstrate the Candy-O theme of young love and trials and tribulations related to heartbreak. Ric Ocasek's lyrics on Shoo Be Doo, particularly ,"…don't you tell me what to do…" and how he screams this line over and over again at the end of the song creates a errant climax where his lyrics can't be made out because they’ve become so distorted through sound effects. This is a not so subtle hint to one going crazy over the inability to capture the heart of Candy-O.
All of the songs are good examples of early New Wave (what I mean by early New Wave is a good rock guitar sound of New Wave w/o the over produced crap that epitomized the evolution and decline of New Wave in the mid 80's.)
Let's Go is as good as "Just What I Needed" and IMHO is a continuation or sequel and gives you "happy feat." And the titles Candy-O and Dangerous type are good examples of big drums and strong guitar that shaped the 70's New Wave sound. Again, in Dangerous Type we hear the Candy-O theme of girls like her who tease but never please. The song progresses into strong, emphasized feelings of hopelessness through the redundant lyrics of "She's a Lot Like You... the Dangerous Type" during the last half of the song and demonstrates frustration, attraction, preoccupation and obsession. The live version, which is most certainly how the song was originally written reveals some of Easton's best guitar work as does it with David Robinsons Drums and Hawkes "counter line" keys during the last half.
"Got A Lot on my Head" is a nice fast tune and the rest are well written but not particularly interesting songs. The hooks are weak, yet in Lust for Kicks, Easton, again demonstrates guitar excellence as he effortlessly plays up and down the frets. And finally, Night Spots, the most underrated song on the album gives the listener a great Eddie Van Halen like solo by Easton. A very difficult solo to play; although it sounds simple and is not particularly long, the length is what stands out as sometimes less is more. Moreover, if you ever see this solo live you can easily detect the difficulty and talent needed to play it. The lyrics are smart and passionate and stays within the "Candy-O theme.
Easily one of the better albums of the 7O's. Smart, catchy, and mature.
Incidentally, this is nothing like DEVO; DEVO's musicians? Please, don't compare DEVO to the CARS. DEVO had two catchy hits which were fun but ordinary in terms of quality and were more like Gary Numan. The CARS music was often deep and poetic (they still had their share of ear candy and simplicity, however). And, the CARS had RIC OCASEK, DAVID ROBINSON on drums and ELLIOT EASTON on lead. So as far as musician talent goes, its not even close. Elliot Easton was one of the finest guitars players of his era and is still widely respected in the music industry today as a guitar player and designer (who do you think wrote all of those solos in countless CARS songs that are still played on the FM today?) David Robinson was always seen as a very good drum player and while Ric Ocasek probably is not the most talented guitarist, his song writing ability and producing is where he shines still today!
Cheers to all, Darden
I love “It´s all I can do”, “Let´s go”, “Candy O”, “Shoo be doo”, “Dangerous type”. Definitively this is one of the most perfect pop records ever.
#2 -The cuts "Nightspots" and "You Can't Hold on too Long" transition almost like the transition between "Bye Bye Love"and "Moving in Stereo"from the first album.
#3- On the releases"Since I Held You" and You Can't Hold On Too Long", Elliot Easton's guitar sound is close to the Rickenbacker guitar jangle of early REM.
#4 - The interplay of instruments by the band is tremendous. Elliot Eastons solos are definite gems. I like the observation by a prior poster that his solo on "Nightspots" has that Eddie Van Halen influence to it and I totally agree. The title track and "Dangerous Type " are excellent solos indeed. The new wave keyboard sounds from Greg Hawkes add ingredients to their sound that help them stand apart from other bands of the time. I think their sound was influenced by Gary Numan as posted previously.
That's all I have to comment on. Oh Yeah, this is my favorite from The Cars.
I can't remember who else guested, but I'm sure they were all cool; you have to remember, the edgiest The Midnight Special got c.1978 was Judas Priest.
Panorama - Elektra 1980.
Not quite as new wave as the last one, but not nearly as good, either. These songs just aren't very gripping. They grab your attention for a second, then become predictable and you get sick of them and just want them to go away. Or at least get more interesting. The stirring emotional dynamics of "Moving In Stereo/All Mixed Up" and gleeful goodtime pop of "Let's Go/Nightspots" have been completely negated and replaced with nothing more than half-written, bitter, trying-too-hard-to-be-tough non-hooks.
Still, it's not as bad as it could be. "Running To You" boasts some real smarts in the songwriting department, "Up And Down" and "Getting Through" are among the hardest asskickers the band ever wrote, and "Misfit Kid" at least comes close to real emotion. But on the whole, the album just sounds like the band was running out of ideas and didn't know what to do about it. But don't you worry your lovely head about it - they quickly figured out what the next step had to be.
Hey! I almost forgot! Remember that comparison I made between The Cars and Tom Petty a little earlier? Well, the "hit" off of this album, "Touch And Go," has almost the exact same keyboard sound and melody as the one in Tom's "You Got Lucky" (a much better song, by the way). Now back to my Cars reviews.
As far as a comparison to DEVO...I think not.
The Panorama album is in no way new-wave; perhaps that's why so many of the Cars' fans don't care for it. I, on the other hand, love Panorama for just that reason - it's different.
If most "true Cars fans" consider this their favourite, then I guess I'm not a real fan! I think that Mark's 6 was a pretty generous score for an album that's chock full of truly boring attempts at songs. I usually really like serious records - the problem with this one is that, like Prindle said, the songs don't grab you AT ALL. The exceptions are the last two songs (especially "Up And Down"), the title track (which, honestly, is hideous until the last three minutes), and "Thouch And Go," which I feel is a fine, well-written single.
But four out of ten good songs is not a good album in any way. Some of the others are okay, but that's it. Simply not that interesting. I do "get" the album - it's an attempt to sound serious - but don't "get" why only a few songs work, or why the band would need to be somber after dirges like "All Mixed Up."
And, in response to this "AllDanon" fellow, I do "get" the Cars. I've "got" all of their albums, and I "listen" to them quite regularly. Excuse me - I need to go walk my "dog."
Panorama is one smooth playin` masterpiece, my favourite Cars album. But my affair with the Cars quickly ended as I decided to go to England and realized once again that when is comes to music, the US music scene was, is and always will be a poor excuse for fudge-packing. Come to think of it, American music is as bad as Canadian music....and that`s fricken bad ! eh ??
I DO like "Gimme Some Slack" and "You Wear Those Eyes," which both show a hint of good songwriting, and "Don't Tell Me No" manages to strike a really ominous synth vibe before the monotonous Cars-by-numbers chorus rolls in and repeats itself 27 million times, but man, the rest of this stuff is just awful. I can't even say that it would be better with good production (like Shake It Up) because it wouldn't - these songs are just badly-written at the core. So a 4 it is.
What I so loved about Panorama, aside from identifying with lyrics, is the moods and feelings it evoked in me. Maybe that's the key, how it affected you, not its technical failings or coldness. I'd listen for hours, headphoned in a dark room.
1.Panoramma= The title cut was the introduction to the kind of sound you would get on this record. Haunting,Mysterious and punk edged. Really a great track accompanied by an even greater spy-like video. you could see Ric's influence on this one.7/10
2.Touch & Go= Ah... the Reggae souning synths reminding you of all those great Police hits(Who ironically dominated the charts that same year). You also get a lot of "My Best Friends Girl" sound on this one. Any true Cars fans LOVEs this song. I mean a song that sounds both ballad like and bumpy good. Only the Cars can pull it off. Elliot's Solo makes this one rock n roll. and Ric's vocals made it a top 40 hit(should of been top 10)10/10
3.Gimmi Some Slack= What a transition from the last track. Once you hear that intro with David on percussion, you'll get hooked. Man this is the Cars at thier best. With that Garage band sound again present, but also on the beach it sounded so good. Ric delivers his vocals A-La "Shake It Up" . You can't help dancing to this one.10/10
4.Don't Tell Me No= First one with Ben's vocals. Another step on the melocholy side. But this one was also on the radio. the chorus does it for me. It could have gone on forever as far as I'm concerned. What a haunting atmosphere this one produced.7/10
5.Getting Through= This one is not one of my favs, but still good on Cars territory. I usally skip it to get to the next side.5/10
6.Misfit Kid= This the song that for me captures the vibe most closely to "Let's Go" almost same percussion beat and rythm guitars. Except this time Ric does the vocals. The lyrics are pretty silly. It mentions he gets cornflakes(WTF). But the mystery is there really is no chorus. Just a part that says "I Get In Inside, I Get Outside" Still my second fav from the record. Go figure. Is it Ric's vocals or the quirckyness of the song? 10/10
7. Down Boys= This really sound a bit like DEVO. Pure punkwave and with Ben's vocals even more. Has a great Candy-O vibe to it. I thought maybe Iggy Pop when I heard it. Really different for the cars. I really love Greg's synths on the Verses especially the last one. I do not like the ending though.8/10
8. You Wear Those Eyes= Ben again. This time on a one those haunting ballad-like songs he does so well. Not really anything new, but Ben Orr's vocals sound stellar.8/10
9. Running To You= I love this intro. Again a perfect style new Wave song. Ben Does vocals though he sounds very Ric-Like in the verses and a bit forced at times. but the bridge and chorus get me addicted everytime I hear it. You also hear some Blondie -style synths played accordingly by Greg. Another abrupt ending that really don't care for, but none the less still a fave.8/10
10.Up & Down= The percussion really stands out on this one. as do Rics vocals. he does not sound pop at all . This was all over KROQ in 1980. the question is is this Pop, Punk, Or Rock. Every part of the song is different from the other. Still you just know it's the Cars when you hear it. The end bites and therefore does not give this record that stellar FINAL it deserves, but still a great record!!7/10
A musician wants to make a living singing his songs but with popularity come the pressures of critics, time and a lack of privacy. Some don't mind but for the CARS, this was a difficult thing to handle. They were always criticized for not doing interviews, making appearances and not doing too much on stage. They were always in demand but rarely gave their time. The media hated them for it. And, perhaps the fans sometimes felt cheated at the Panorama tour of concerts, as there was not a lot of stage play by the group. The CARS felt they had already done all of the jumping around and doing the "getting the audience involved" shows earlier in their career. Although rare, there is footage of the CARS jumping around on stage, wrecking and throwing guitars, smashing equipment and doing all of the rebellious NEW WAVE/PUNK stage stuff of the mid 70's.
In 1980 however, the CARS wanted to make it clear that they wanted to create their own identity and that meant creating an album and mood at concerts that was spawned by the fans, not the group. In other words, let the fans react to the music naturally rather than the group trying to get the fans to stand up, shout, dance, or do whatever fans typically do at rock concerts.
The songs are very good and well written. Give them some time, especially "Misfit Kid," "Running to You," "Gimmie Some Slack, "Getting Through" and "Up and Down," which is a good hard rocker that shows that a harder sound can still have the synth in it. What is more, "Touch and Go" the commercial success of the album is a well written, thoughtful song with wonderful counter synth, off-beat drums and great lead work by Easton. The song is still played on classic rock FM today.
The album went multi platinum and reached number 5 on Billboard, so the CARS kept their strong fan base and said, "screw you" to the music critics. They were rich, famous and could do what they wanted by this time and they did by staying out of the limelight.
Cheers to all... Darden
Panorama is different. But is good. I like “Touch and go”, “Misfit kid”, “You Wear Those Eyes” and “up and down”.
Shake It Up - Elektra 1981.
And oh man, do I love "Think It Over." New wave. Hilarious synth noises. Repetitive. Catchy. Hilarious. Great Ben Orr vocals. Easily my favorite one on here. I'm an idiot. Knife me. I love it. I always will. Go hear it now. The only suckjob on the album is "This Could Be Love" - Ben imitates Ric, the band imitates a synth-heavy Bloodrock, and it's a real drag, man. But oooh the rest of the album just brings out the Julie Andrews in me!!!!
AND NO INSULTING DURAN DURAN, ALLDANON@AOL.COM!!!!!! Especially since the weakest songs on Rio can absolutely kick the crap out of the best songs on here. You can take or leave the rest of their stuff, though.
The title track "Shake it Up" was an instant hit and climbed to number 7 (or was it 5?) on the Billboard charts. The CARS were now the clear leaders of the NEW WAVE ride and this song is the first hint that the CARS were being sucked into the mainstream, shallow mechanical NEW WAVE evolution that would define the mid 80's. Driven by poppy keys and synth rather than strong guitar and drums, this song appealed to the masses and the video was quite fun in a video age right before MTV was launched. The video was a staple on weekend late night music video shows in big city markets before becoming a regular during the first 6 months of MTV. Easton’s guitar solo is strong and the song is catchy but too much "pop" made it impossible for this song to be a long lasting classic rocker. Of course, its still heard on the FM stations today that play an array of music genres and when heard, its easily and instantly connected and defined to the CARS. (As a side note, THE NEW CARS version with Todd Rundgren as the lead singer has transformed the song from a poppy, happy sound to a good rock sound as Hawkes’ overwhelming synth has been replaced with strong rhythm rock guitar.) Yet, a couple of other songs on the album are smarter and have endured the test of time much better in terms of classic rock music.
For example, Since You’re Gone is still heard on classic rock FM as the lead guitar work keeps this song primarily a well respected classic "Rock & Roller." What is more, Ric Ocasek’s vocals are smartly arranged and his homage to Bob Dylan is apparent in such lines as, "… You’re so treacherous…" which just flat out makes it a cool song. It is easy to listen to and the catchy chorus does not go overboard.
"Cruiser," (the best song on the album IMHO) although less known, received substantial airplay on rock and alternative stations throughout 1982 and it’s a wonder why this song was not released as a single and made a video… The hard guitar, both rhythm and lead, and the relatively fast beat along with Ben Orr’s purposely forced and dense vocals makes this a classic rocker that is still a rare treat from time to time on today’s FM. I just heard it on my area’s classic rock station just a week ago as a matter of fact. And, might I add that the end of the song with Easton’s guitar narrowing out and abruptly stopping is brilliantly creative and arranged.
Victim of Love, Think it Over and "Maybe Baby" are the other songs that keep this album from going over the commercialized edge and are easy on the ears, although not particularly interesting. "Round and Round" was a "charter" two times, both on "Shake it Up and the 1985 Greatest Hits release and still remains the only song ever to be released twice by the same group as a single and eclipse the Billboard Top 40. A nice, but sometimes too long of a ballad that has now become "musac" or elevator music. Incidentally, "Think it Over" also got substantial radio play on alternative stations but its "crazy-8" synth and its mechanically driven clapping keeps it dated. The songs "Dream Away" and "This Could Be Love" are slow and boring and "Dream Away" lacks any real substance and seems to be a weak experimental leftover from Panorama. Why the CARS chaose Dream Away as part of their 1984 Heartbeat City line-up still makes me wonder what they were smoking when they decided that this would one of the two songs to be played from the album.
Overall, the quality of side one makes Shake It Up one of those "every song on the first side is good to listen to" type of albums. In addition, there’s enough rock sound, but just barely, to make this a well respected 80’s album that made an impact on the NEW WAVE genre.
Cheer’s to all
Hey email@example.com...Are you Boooooooooooooooring?.or you are bored.
Maybe Rio is best that Shake it up. But “The Cars”, “Candy O”, and “Heartbeat City” beat Duran Duran. Or not?
Heartbeat City - Elektra 1984.
Nah, just kiddin'. As you may have already deduced by the nine cute little pictures of record albums hovering over these here words, I'm extremely fond of this release. It's very similar to the last one, but without the overlong stuff, and with more radio-ready classics. "You Might Think," "Hello Again," "Magic," "Drive," and "Why Can't I Have You" were all over the airwaves in 1984, in a slightly Big Brother-esque fashion but without all that Newspeak crap, and with good reason! These songs are simple, like Huey Lewis, but extremely fun, catchy, and memorable, unlike Huey Lewis. The keyboards reign supreme, but they aren't blurting out silly noises - they're playing all the melodies, nice and smooth. A few of them sound dated (especially "Hello Again," with that dumb synth noise going completely against the statement I just made that "they aren't blurting out silly noises"), but most of the songs are just lovely. If you like keyboards, give it a look-see. As long as you avoid the putrid "It's Not The Night," you'll be snapping your ass for a good forty minutes.
Most people knock this album now, and talk about how great the first two records were, but I think that might be because the first two sound so sort of young and...not raw, but more realistic. This later stuff is very produced. Very full. But I think that it's The Cars' keyboardist playing all of it, so what's the big deal? They were never exactly Half Japanese to begin with. I just like all the melodies so much, I don't mind that it all sounds ready-made for radio success. Frig you, the anti-establishment.
Oh also, to the person who wrote that "Ric Ocasek looks nothing like Robert Smith," you’re right. Ric Ocasek is much, much uglier. And I can make fun of his looks as much as I want since Ric’s getting tons of money in royalty checks every day from the classic rock stations that play the hits from the first two albums and the 80’s flashback stations that play the ones from Hearbeat City. I’m sure he doesn’t mind what some guy on the internet thinks—he’s rolling in his cash and living with Paulina whatshername.
Of couse, in the late nineties, that statement is pretty innacurate.
This album was preatty darn awesome until track seven. Then it just died! What the hell??
Actually, it's got some good songs on it. "Magic" and "You Might Think" are, I confess, two of the best pop rock songs of the '80's. Fuck "Relax" anyway. If I wanted to disco dance, I'd go to France. Hey, that rhymed. But to sum up, this album is pretty good. Lotta good songs, and the filler (which clutters up side two) is at least pretty-sounding. Too bad the band fell apart after this.
Come to think of it, I should take this opportunity to state my feelings on the "Indie-rock vs. Shit" conflict that dominated American popular music of the '80's. Now I know most of the people who visit this site tend to be of the opinion that R.E.M., Husker Du, the Replacements, the Minutemen, Black Flag, Metallica, X, Sonic Youth, the Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, the Meat Puppets, XTC, Jane's Addiction, and Joy f%*&ing Division were the only artists not to suck hardcore and lick multiple corporate buffoons' asses and sacrifice talent for stock options and stop being COOL and playing real music and all that in that decade, and I respect such viewpoints. In fact, I can partially identify with them--in my opinion, Thriller, Purple Rain, and Synchronicity are obscenely overrated, and Billy Idol, Motley Crue, and Poison suck like a hull breach in space.
But DAMMIT---if you don't, at some point in your life, hear the Symbol Of Everything Wrong With Pop Culture In The Eighties Def Leppard's twin blockbusters Pyromania and Hysteria in their entireties, you are not only doing yourself a disservice, you are perpetuating a myth that has stained an entire generation--namely, that they are the worst nine-armed band in world history. Listen to those two albums--all y'all, I don't care what your high school popularity rating was--and finally learn what it is to make quality hard rock through labor, blood, sweat, and tears enough to topple two Hetfields. Did you know that it took fifteen months to record Pyromania alone? And twenty-seven to record Hysteria? Now THAT'S work ethic for ya! Of course, such effort would be for nothing if the records weren't both perfectly awesome, and of course they are--in fact, I would trade every album the Pixies ever recorded for side two of Hysteria alone. Mind you, I'm not a hardcore fan of the band--they've done some real suckjobs in their time--but in 1983 and 1987, respectively, they got it right--so right, in fact, that any fan of music ought to appreciate it, indie-lover or no. So get past this "well-produced=popular=that jock in homeroom I hated=shit" complex and recognize at least ONE OR TWO mainstream pop albums of the Decade of Decadence for the quality they contain. Or just wait until Prindle himself reviews them. He'll back me up, won't he? Won'tcha?
Other than that, and your Can reviews that don't go to eleven, I love you, Prindle.
Starting with "You Might Think," the song is initially not that easy on the ears. Although it has a catchy chorus, the lyric break in the middle with Ocasek’s, "…but you kept it going ‘till the sun fell down (pause)… you kept it going…" made the song seem disorganized. However, after a few listens, the song grows on you and the aforementioned break becomes what the song is noted for. Its fun, relatively fast "tempo’ed" and catchy… although this song exemplifies the over produced, water downed sheen of mid-80’s NEW WAVE and as with the album, Shake it Up, many of the songs are driven by synth, not good rock guitar or rock drums. In fact, all of the mentioned songs are very dated sounding but darn it, the songs are still so good!!!!! Hence, I hate the fact that the album is so over produced with electric sheen but I love the tunes.
"You Might Think (#7)" and "Drive(#3)" cracked the top ten and "Magic(#12)" and "Hello Again(#20)" made the top 20; "Why Can’t I have you made it to #33 on the Billboard. "Drive" a brilliant ballad is one of the songs that will define the CARS forever. I personally disliked the song and still don’t care for it. But, I have to respect the writing of Ocasek and singer Ben Orr’s dead pan vocal delivery define it as a legendary ballad; it also reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts and in many big city markets was the number one song of the year. What is more, the video was an excellent visual of what the song was about.
"Hello Again," at first, sounds very experimental and also disorganized but give it a few listens and the song grows on you with Ocasek’s legendary hooks and chorus’. The song was also a remixed dance hit that reached #8 on the Dance Charts and even #22 on the Mainstream Rock Charts, although the lead guitar only drives the song in sporadic places. This song’s beginning with its big, layered, and mechanical "HELLO, HELLO AGAIN!" also became a favorite for people to record their answering machine’s greeting to.
"Magic" was driven by hard rhythm guitar and Easton plays a fine solo, making this almost a classic rocker. But, still, the song fell victim to the overproduction demons of the mid-80’s. The song was way too perfectly arranged and had it had a garage edge to it minus the happy "Uh Oh, its Magic…" chorus, it might be in the CARS collection box of classic, timeless tunes.
"Why Can’t I Have You" was another ballad that almost hit home in terms of greatness but it was released well after Drive and really rode Drive’s coat tails. Another song dominated by synth, Ocasek shows that he can sing a ballad and does have some vocal ability by not hiding his unusual voice behind "hiccupy" or playful vocal tones. Oddly, not only did this song reach #33 on Billboard it also reached #11 on the Mainstream Rock Track, which was just two slots back from Drive’s highest position of #9.
"Stranger Eyes," the last song on side one was horrible as the lyrics were difficult to understand and it sounded like it was made from a sound machine rather actual musicians playing instruments. Boy, was this a bad choice, especially when you consider that the song "Slip Away" a B-side to one of the album’s hit 45’s was an album option. "Slip Away" was later released on the CARS Anthology and is a great tune.
I have said my opinion on the title track, which leaves two songs left, "Its not the Night" and "I do Refuse." "Its Not the Night" was another near hit and made it to #31 on the Mainstream Rock charts as the big guitars reminds us that the CARS were still a NEW WAVE ROCK band. And finally, "I Do Refuse" was not particularly interesting and seemed to be another synth driven over produced filler.
The CARS were forced into the limelight and it was hard for them to embrace and it’s a wonder that the album was as successful, because the CARS time was widely demanded but the band still hesitated to give up their privacy. Ben Orr was the perfect teen idol/sex symbol but as much as the media tried, the CARS avoided giving out all of the extras. In the age of video however, it was impossible for the CARS not to be the center of some attention and Ocasek and the rest embraced this with smart, funny and well thought out videos that were MTV staples for two years. And "You Might Think" was nominated for 8 selections in MTV’s inaugural Video Awards Show. Against though competition, the video, which demonstrated masterful cartoon special effects (for the times) won the very first "Video of the Year Award" against Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" and "Beat it."
Overall, the album is a must for even the casual CARS fan; very passe’ but also very good!
Cheers to all
Hey Kubla Kahn. The Cure, The Smiths, and The Pixies were the glittering prizes of that decade in order to you. But no all people think as you…
In order to me The Cars, The Doors, The Beatles, ABC, A Flock Of Seagulls, Rolling Stones, The Who, Emerson Lake and Palmer were the best…but other people think different… Nobody is the owner of truth.
Do you think Disintegration is the best album of the 80's?...hmmm. I have listened Desintegration, is good, but regrettably isn´t the better for me. (and And other ones)
To me and to people's majority that I know The Cars is over The Cure.
I respect another opinions.
Greatest Hits - Elektra 1985.
Otherwise, a pretty good compilation. But why are the title track to Heartbeat City and "I'm Not The One" here instead of "It's All I Can Do," "Moving In Stereo" and "Bye Bye Love"? In fact, why can't they just include all of the songs? As cliched as it is to say this, CD's can hold up to 74 minutes of music!!!! I'm pretty sure that this has something to do with Communist subversion. Really.
The video was refreshing, innovative and was produced in such a way that it gave the song more energy as Ric Ocasek’s running around, dancing and doing an "air guitar" mimicking of Easton’s solo showed that the CARS videos could have some punch. I suspect by this time, the CARS were also starting to open up to the media and limelight a little more.
There is no doubt that "Tonight She Comes" is another "must" single to add to the collection of classic CARS songs; although defunct, I maintain this song still stands the test of time better than anything on 1984’s Heartbeat City. As for the rest of the album, LP technology still ruled over CD and I can’t help but feel cheated about the song selection chosen for the album. It just seemed like the group and producers had to settle for the limiting space of an LP. By this time, the CARS had made their mark on rock/pop history and for songs such as "Bye Bye Love," "You’re All I got Tonight," "Dangerous Type," "Candy-O," and "All I Can Do" not to be on the album was a bummer. And where was the single "Why Can’t I have you?" IMHO this is especially true when one considers that the CD vs the LP had one more song on it, "Heartbeat City." As much as I love the song, I am still bewildered as to why this song was chosen for the greatest hits album; this was not "Best Of" it was "Greatest Hits" and one of the aforementioned songs should have been selected over "Heartbeat City." This release should have been arranged as a "Volume One" type of release with a "Volume Two" to follow within a year later with another unreleased single. This would have been smart marketing and would have given other very popular songs, such as the already mentioned songs along with others like "Cruiser," "Victim of Love," "Moving in Stereo," and "Nightspots" their due. Nonetheless, the album sold over 6 million copies in the USA alone and reached #12 on Billboard.
More recently, I think in about 2001, most probably know that a "Complete Greatest Hits" album was released, which gives the listener a better idea of the versatility and talent of the CARS as about 20 or so songs were listed with many of the above mentioned songs included. BUT STILL, WHERE’S CANDY-O?
Door To Door - Elektra 1987.
Oh man. Say it ain't so. Tell me Ric ain't masqueradin' as a dumpy lipstick fruit. That would just be too painful for me to bear.
Say! Did you notice that I just wrote "Say it ain't so?" That's a song by Weezer from their debut album that was produced by none other than Ric Ocasek! I seem to have inadvertently been extremely witty and clever! It's almost enough to make me wanna run in a race! A GRAY RACE! No, no! On second thought, I'll just rock! Yeah, that always makes me feel good! When I want light in my soul, I just rock! I just ROCK FOR LI
Back to the record review. Door To Door is extremely mediocre, filled with the sort of obvious MOR slop you'd hear at the orthodontist's office. Remember "You Are The Girl?" Probably not. This is basically a bunch of faceless, overly slick synth-pop with a few interesting attempts to kick up some energy dust (cowpunker "Everything You Say," aged carnival organ playtime "Ta Ta Wayo Wayo," and the HEAVY ASS METAL title track). Very few tracks feature the clever and hook-driven songwriting for which the band is known -- melancholy single "Strap Me In" is pretty much it, honestly!
I'd say stay away. They broke up soon afterwards, and Ric's just been producing and crap. I don't know what the other guys have been up to. Probably just ogling girls in Malibu or something.
Say! I reviewed every album without ever talking about their lyrical style, didn't I? Well, they're all kinda vague and oblique, but in a hip, ironic way. They're mostly about girls, and sometimes they're blatantly sexual. Like a banana entering a donut hole. And that's that. Now go buy that classic 1978 debut - and tell 'em Rick James sent you!!!!
I don't know. Just do it.
And for you information, since their break-up, most of the Cars' members are still in music. Next time, do a little more research before putting your information on the internet. And I don't just mean that one line. Your entire review was poorly written, immature, and unprofessional. Next time you feel the need to write about the Cars, why not just leave it up to a fan, and even more infortantly, a good writer.
I think in general the music industry at that time was looking for a different sound and The Cars were not the sound they were looking for. If I were to pick the singles from this one, my vote would have been for:
- "Leave Or Stay"
- "Double Trouble"
The title track has to be the WORST song on any Cars album. I think they all knew it would be the last song they'd do in studio and they all must have been drunk when they made it. Are we even sure this is the Cars doing this song?
Most of the songs on Door to Door are meandering and soulless, like "Wound up on You" and "Fine Line". "You Are The Girl" exemplifies this trend as well, but it disappoints me more than the others because it is so formulaic. Structurally, melodically, lyrically, this song adds nothing new to the Cars canon. More importantly, it shows that they really weren't even trying.
Perhaps we should be tipped off that by the fact that the best songs on the album are "Leave or Stay" and "Tata Wayo Wayo". Both capture an energy that is lacking on the other tunes, as well as catchy hooks and competent production. But they were both oldies at the time, dug up, I suppose, when Ric and the crew were plumb out of new ideas.
I have to also agree that Ric's influence on Orr's vocals fooled me into thinking Orr was just bassist for years. Wasn't until I got The Lace that I could go back and pick out Benjamin Orr on almost every Cars hit, as well as the many Cars songs which rock but didn't become household words ("All Mixed Up", "Cruiser", "It's not the night", etc.) Instead of criticizing Benjamin Orr for sounding too much like Ric Ocasek, you should thank Benjamin for making Ric into a rock-n-roll superstar. And you didn't note that this Ocasek influence on Orr disappears after Shake It Up.
Why you felt compelled to cut down the Cars in your introduction is beyond me. Elliot Easton is noted as "trying to look cool - but wearing sunglasses too much" while Hawkes is described as a "dorky looking guy." Are you starting a Mr. Rock and Roll beauty pageant? Good grief man, take a look at Ocasek! But does it even matter? have you heard these guys?! They rule!
I'm also sorry to see yet another reviewer stereotype Hawkes as a "sound effects technician". Am I mistaken or did he not co-write some of the endearing Cars tracks like "Moving In Stereo" and "It's not the Night"? Fact is, like Orr and Easton he is underrated (all of them overshadowed by the celebrity status of Ocasek). Don't get me wrong, Ric's influence is everywhere, I'm just saying I suspect each member contributed a quality and directional force that would not have otherwise been there. I have Orr's, Easton's and Hawkes' solo albums -- and they're great, they just happen to be really different tastes (pop, 50's rock, playful) It would have been interesting to see what the Cars could have gone on to do without Ocasek (assuming some other material-generating being replaced Ric). I don't mean to leave out David Robinson, but unless you're Neil Pert, it's hard to be recognized/appreciated/worshipped for your drumming style. At the very least he has good taste in album covers.
While I'm here, Easton's riff on "Touch and Go" rules, and there's nothing better than hearing "Moving In Stereo/All Mixed Up." I'm gonna have to go put it on right now . . .
Door to Door isn't bad. It's not great either. It was actually one of the first Cars cds I bought. I like it for songs like "Leave or Stay", "Double Trouble", and "Everything You Say". The title song is a little obscure, but I do listen to this album. I agree that it just wasn't what the music industry wanted at that time.
Still the Cars will always be one of my favorite bands ever. Even though I am only 18 and many of my friends didn't know who the hell they were until they heard me listening to them. All the band members were under-rated except Ocasek. Hawkes was masterful on keyboards almost as much as Elliot was on guitar. (by the way, if anyone could tell me what kind of guitars he used for his songs, I would really appreciate it). David really had a big role in other aspects of the band that I appreciate. His designs for the album covers were cool. Orr had a terrific sound. Candy-O still is my favorite album, with every other one not far behind.
Now how could anyone make such a ridiculous review of them as you have...??...
Have liked bits & pieces of their work since then: "It's All I Can Do," "Shoo-Be-Doo," "Dangerous Type" (1 of my daughter's favorite songs in the whole world, which means I raised her right), "Since You're Gone," & of course the biggies on HEARTBEAT CITY, "Magic," "Drive," "Hello Again," "Stranger Eyes," etc. (Have been searching 4 1 track where the guys R sposed 2 sound like Roxy Music, might B called "Could This Be Love" or something -- I've never found it.)
While these guys had nice (4give me) drive at times, they could also B kinda cold, distant & boring. Long as they were actin flashy & catchy, I was impressed.
There are some almost decent songs, the more rock sounding "Strap me In" was almost a hit and the lyrics sometimes hit home and the video is cool. And, "Double Trouble," sang by Orr teases the listener by saying… "See what we used to be able to do, we used to write good rock tunes?" I love his vocal delivery in "Double Trouble" but neither of the songs is strong or particularly interesting. Other songs, "Coming Up You," "Wound up on You," "Fine Line," and "Everything you Say" are boring and aside from "Fine Line" which is a cheap attempt to have another hit ballad, all sounds the same. "The song "Go away" tugs at the emotions a little with Orr’s vocal ability to make us think of heartbreak and love, but it still does not hit the mark.
Then we get to the "Bizarro World" part. The title track, "Door to Door" is a wonderful, hard rocking tune that should have been the focus of the album. Its fast beat, hard rhythm guitar, very good distorted rock solo and Ocasek’s frantic sounding lyrics makes this a good, strong rock and roll tune, my favorite on the album. And the end, where one hears the opening and closing of a door slamming shut sound effect reminds us of the good old days when the CARS were imaginative and fun. Then we go deeper into the Twilight Zone… the songs "Ta Ta Way-O, Way-O" and "Leave or Stay are horrible songs on the album because they are way over produced and their shiny, sleek mush typifies what’s wrong with the album.
Then, years later, it gets even stranger. Once the Anthology is released in 1995, these two songs, we find were written in 1977 or earlier and we are able to hear the original "demo" versions. These two songs now become classic CARS songs IMHO. They are the same songs, but they sound rawer and "garage like" and are great, great, rock and roll tunes. After I learned that these two songs were some of Ocasek’s early stuff, I confirmed that the CARS were major groundbreakers in a new rock and roll sound. Almost punk sounding in some areas of hard guitar, the "Leave or Stay" tune oddly goes back in forth between subtle and obvious sounds of proto-punk and NEW WAVE rock. And, "Ta Ta Way-O, Way-O is also rawer and now sounds like something we’d hear from Panorama. Its fast, hard and again, on the strength of Easton’s solo, is pure proto-punk rock and roll. I will listen to these two songs anytime on the Anthology, but will not touch them on "Door to Door." Anyone who has listened to both versions knows what I am talking about.
Anthology: Just What I Needed - Elektra/Rhino 1995
Unfortunately, there's a reason that these rarities have remained rare.... most of them STINK! Awful 1977 ballad "Take Me Now," atrocious 1977 rocker "Cool Fool" and irritating Candy-O-era outtake "Slipaway" are the worst, but "Let's Go" b-side "That's It" is a sluggish rotter and the '77 demos of "Leave Or Stay" and "Ta Ta Wayo Wayo" are as bad as the slicked-up Door To Door versions. I'll hand it to adorable popper "Don't Go To Pieces" and gorgeous keyboard slicker "Breakaway," and both covers ("The Little Black Egg" and "Funtime") are fine, but otherwise YECH!
One other thing: a 40-song Cars compilation MUST have "Bye Bye Love" and "Cruiser" on it, and this one doesn't. What the fuck!? And "Don't Tell Me No" instead of "Up And Down"? What the FUCKity fuck? Plus, now it's not even a career-spanning compilation because it came out before Move Like This! FUCK YOU, double-CD I originally gave a 10 to!!!
I've had the album about 2 months now. I must say that the unreleased songs aren't really worth the price of the album, if you have the others. BUT...
One "new" song in particular is quite good. "That's It", which to me, sounds like a cross between "Shake It Up"/"Tonight She Comes"/"You Might Think" but without the keyboards, if you can imagine that. It was the B-Side of "Let's Go", but I never had the 45. I'm pretty sure Greg Hawkes was playing guitar on this one. And although Roy Thomas Baker produced it - he left out some things! It could have bbeen a huge hit - if Hawkes had been playing keyboards - but they are mysteriously missing.
There's also no Elliot Easton magic here - he plays rhythm too - or perhaps he isn't playing at all (hard to say, but I'm virtually positive that Hawkes is playing a guitar in this one). Anyway, I've fallen in love with this song.
Another 'don't-miss-this' on here is "Little Black Egg", which is a song about a little black egg, believe it or not. It's a rather silly and uncomplicated song - and WAY underprodcued (lots of Ocasek errors with the vocals for instance) but the song is as catchy as anything as Ocasek's ever written.
I'm not too crazy about the other B-sides and unreleased material on here.
Anthology is good for something else as well - it's amazing just how much the band used Hawkes' Vocoder (combining vocals with a synthetic voice) as it's in about half their songs - far more than any other band I know of. Oddly enough, the song I would have used it on if I were producing them would have been "Cruiser". (Check out Ocasek's first solo album where he and Hawkes used the Vocoder on six tunes!).
Can only attribute that they were engulfed by other Bands from Bean town....
They should have stayed with Clevleand....then maybe Aerosmith and Boston could have winged victory. Benny & Rick did a great job, hope the CARS fans are still out there. I hope someday the CARS drive their way into the Rock & Roll HALL OF FAME WHERE THEY BELONG!
Oh yeah, and in response to the above comment, next year (2004) is The Cars' first year of eligibility (I never knew that word had so many "i"s) for the Hall Of Fame. Rolling Stone considered Van Halen the "shoo-in", Prince a worthy shot, The Cars a maybe, and Dire Straits the long shot. I, personally, disagree with most of this. Me, being the biggest Cars fan I know, picked them as my shoo-in, but there's just no stopping the popularity of Van Halen. I admit, they're the shoo-in. But The Cars remain mine. Prince was popular, but I don't listen to his shit. My long shot. Dire Straits is my 2nd for '78 behind our almighty Cars (my second favorite band of all time, behind Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers). By the way, "Palm Sweaty and the Fartbreakers"??? I don't get you sometimes, Prindle. Yeah, you readers can go to his Pink Floyd reviews and read about his ass-acne. BAH! Oh, well, let's hope The Cars make it....for Ben; who's with me, eh?!?!
The security guard told us several times that Elliott Easton used to stand outside of our door and play along with us while we covered several of their popular tunes from their debut album and Candy - O album. We got a kick out of it. A couple of months later I was able to meet the band and found them all to be very nice and down to earth. To this day I listen to their first two albums, which I feel are their best. My wish Ben Orr was still with us. What a shame.
YOU MUST ALSO GET THE 2000 RELEASE OF THE CARS "DELUXE EDITION" WHERE YOU GET THE ENTIRE FIRST ALBUM AS DEMO VERSIONS AND 4 OR 5 PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED SONGS. ALSO A RHINO RECORDS’ TOP 101 FINEST ALBUMS.
Cheers to all, especially Mark for putting up the review board
I'm just joking you. Of course they did plenty. And even though Ric Ocasek is credited for writing most of their material, I have to wonder if he took too much credit because The Cars wouldn't be The Cars without Greg Hawkes' fuzzy goofball synthesizers or Elliot Easton's suave lead guitarwork. But that's for the Boyz to work out amongst themselves. My only right is to ask, "How come these NEW Cars are a bunch of OLD men?" Look who we've got here:
Todd Rundgren (Hello People, The Nazz, Utopia) - 58
Elliot Easton (The Cars, Creedence Clearwater Revisited) - 54
Greg Hawkes (Milkwood, The Cars) - Not sure. Old though.
Kasim Sulton (Utopia) - Probably old.
Prairie Prince (The Tubes) - 56
The "New" Cars? More like The "Utopian Tube" Cars, if you ask aaah pbl!
The first of what will surely be many, many releases for this inevitably long-lasting and prolific supergroup, It's Alive! features "live" renditions of 12 classic Cars tracks, 1 Rundgren hit, 1 Nazz nugget and 1 New Cars composition, along with three new studio tracks (one of which we just heard "live" about ten minutes earlier on the disc). And I put the word "live" in "quotes" because this "live" set sounds about as "live" as Sgt. Peppers' Lonely Hearts Club Band. I've no doubt that the original tape was recorded live, but it sounds like they then proceeded to overdub... pretty much EVERYTHING! The backup vocals are particularly suspicious, being in perfect harmony and identical volume at every appearance, not to mention sounding like more voices than there are people in the band.
But that's fine, and let me tell you why: because these songs are so goddamned good. And never in the Cars' career did they have the opportunity to take advantage of this type of production -- the songs are loud, full, tough, sparkling, rich and overwhelmingly melodic, propelled by much tougher, harder drumming than Robinson ever attempted. Not a single poor track was chosen for inclusion (6 from the debut, 3 Candy-O, 2 Heartbeat City, 1 Shake It Up and nothing from Panorama or Door To Door), and the performances are almost always spotless (the rare exception: in "Candy-O," the lead guitar chords sound much uglier than in the original recording). But there's just one problem. And it goes deeper than the fact that this is nothing more than a Cars tribute band that happens to include two down-on-their-luck former members.
The problem is this: as much as I respect the guy's past work, Todd Rundgren kinda sounds like a festering paper bag of shit on here. I can't tell whether he's attempting to imitate Ric Ocasek's natural warble or if he just can't hit any of the high notes, but his voice wiggles in and out of tune all over the place and it's very, very distracting. His straining, shaky approach sounds like he's literally in pain trying to sing these songs. How am I supposed to enjoy the lovely music when the singer sounds like each line is stripping another layer of mucosa from his throat?
"Just What I Needed"? Yeah, an AMBULANCE!
"Let's Go"? Yeah, to the THROAT HOSPITAL to GET A NEW THROAT!
"You Might Think"? Yeah, that you'll be VOMITING UP BLOOD BY THE ENCORE!
"Shake It Up"? Yeah, THE SWISHY MIXTURE OF PLASMA, GUMS AND BROKEN TEETH THAT YOU KEEP SPITTING INTO A GLASS AT THE FRONT OF THE STAGE!
"My Best Friend's Girl"? Yeah, STANDS HORRIFIED AS THE ARTERIES ON YOUR NECK LITERALLY EXPLODE, EJACULATING THEIR CONTENTS ALL OVER THE FRONT ROW!
As for the three New Cars compositions, "Not Tonight" is an overly cutesy but likable pop ditty that includes the Up-To-The-Cutting-Edge lyric, "So put me in your Blackberry, and I'll take your email"; "Warm" sounds like the 'round and round' part of "I'm Not The One" turned into a dull Todd Rundgren ballad; and "More" combines the verse chords of "Maybe Baby" with a guitar lick from "Panorama," which hardly counts as a new composition at all! The chorus is super-catchy though, and much less a ripoff than the rest of the song. For this reason, I recommend that you purchase just the chorus.
In the end, I definitely think it would be worth seeing these guys live because they sound terrific and the songs are, of course, timeless gems. But if the New Cars ever decide to record an album of originals, you may want to make some extra room in your TOILET.
One other thing - In his "personal thank you's" in the CD booklet, Greg Hawkes has the common decency to thank "Ric, Ben and David." Elliot Easton does not.
And the album title...What's up with that? Being down with NY bands like Suicide back in the day, certainly these guys knew of the million-times superior Ramones album of the same name ( "But ours has an exclamation point at the end !"...Masters 'o subtlety, them New Cars ).
So why did this "Queen" featuring Paul Rogers-hater even bother with this CD? Well, besides being fanatical about the 2nd and 3rd Cars albums, I actually thought Rundgren may be able to pull it off. Utopia's Deface The Music was such a fun album. At times, Utopia out-Rutled the Rutles. So I partly checked I'ts Alive! in hopes of hearing Utopia's Rundgren and Sultan pull off at least one Deface style Cars knockoff among the 3 studio tracks. On "But Not Tonight", they nail it. It's a catchy spoof on the Cars + all those songs out there about "Tonight". I love it, but it's an argument for iTunes iffin' there ever was one.
Woulda been a cute EP, but.....
My point is that it's useless to say, "Hey, this is just a Ric Ocasek solo album that he got the other Cars to play on!" because that's essentially what EVERY Cars album was. He writes the songs, and they make them sound like The Cars. And that's exactly what we get here -- with very pleasing results. Unlike its mediocre 24-year-old predecessor, Move Like This is a good Cars album! It sounds like The Cars as you remember them, complete with fist-tight playing and mix, minimal guitarwork, quirky '80s synths, handclaps, singalong hooks and Ric's wonderful wiggly voice. However, the production is somewhere between the crisp rock/new wave of the early material and the lusher synth-washed sound of the later records, sounding like a carbon copy of neither.
Getting past the obvious self-references (ex. the cold Candy-O new wave approach of "Blue Tip"; melodic "Magic"-esque rhythm chug of "Too Late"; "My Best Friend's Girl" intro of "Sad song"), the songs are truly melodic in that classic Cars manner that few of today's radio bands seem to have mastered. Verses tease and percolate; choruses explode into super pop glee. Chord changes sound both new and familiar at the same time. In short, it sounds like they never broke up! Only one song, the guitar-layered blues-rock choogle "Drag On Forever," hints that they've listened to any records at all since 1987. The rest reside in that timeless melodic world of melody, hooks and melody called Carsville, USA (Pop: melody).
Move Like This has only one crime, and it's not the lack of Orr; that was unavoidable (even Ric admits, "I was aware that on half of the new songs, Ben would have done better than I did"). No, its sole crime is not being quite as consistent as the classic Cars records. It beats the HELL out of Door To Door and gives Panorama a strong run for its money, but there's no way that songs as cliche'd as "Keep On Knocking," boring as "Soon" or nondescript as "It's Only" would've made the cut on their other records. Here's a fun game though: try to listen to "Soon" without getting "Girl I love you -- yeah I love you -- so baaaaad" stuck in your head. If you succeed, congratulations! You clearly have never heard "Girl I love you -- yeah I love you -- so baaaaad."
But come on, seven good Cars songs out of ten is no small shakes, especially considering they were in their prime over a quarter-century ago. If you're a fan, you need to buy this post-immediately. And if not, maybe this one will do the trick. It won't be getting as much play on my turntable as their others, but only because MP3s sound like shit on my turntable. If they ever invent a device that can play MP3's, I'll be listening from norm to nanny!
Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the day my marriage fell apart overnight. It's been a hazy, crazy twelve months for Ol' Prind, and I appreciate all of you who didn't abandon me due to my self-pity and self-destructive behavior. I'm now snug and secure in my own little apartment, I've been dating a lovely new woman for six months, and I'm even trying to stop drinking altogether (I haven't had a drop in four weeks and counting!). I still need a job though. If you have one, email it to me.
I don't feel very funny anymore. I think I'm so focused on trying to figure out what to do for the rest of my life that my head just isn't in the Funny Zone. It's more in the Confused & Worried Zone. Actually, maybe I should take advantage of that and write only confused and worried reviews from now on. Here, let's try one:
The Move's Cars Like This is -- oh, is that not... I can't tell if it's piano or guitar! Oh wazzih what's happening to my brain? Is this how Alzheimer's starts!? WHO ARE THOSE SCARY FIGURES ON THE ALBUM COVER!?!?!? THEY'RE COVERED IN SOUP AND HAWAII!!!!!!!
Well, that went great.
Hey, on the topic of great, if you've never seen the old TV show Arrested Development, go rent all three seasons RIGHT NOW. Its brilliance was only recently brought to my attention by Jim Laakso and my girlfriend, and I couldn't believe I'd missed such comedy genius. It's like Mr. Show in sitcom form!
Ahh, but enough of my yacking.
And by "yacking," I of course mean "vomiting." I get carsick.
Get it??? CARsick??? As in the band I'm reviewing right now???
As I said, I don't feel very funny anymore.
I was really harsh on the idea of this project. It’s not the Cars without Orr, IMO, although I understand where you are coming from. More importantly, I listened to the lead-off single for this during my sourpuss phase and made jokes of how the video for it only features the band’s silhouettes because they’re all old and very ugly, whereas before they were just ugly. But that hook had me sheepishly admitting that it was better than anything off of fucking Door To Door and that it might require further consideration. Thanks to your review, I will be illegally downloading this one immediately. I bought Candy O on vinyl and cd, so Ocasek can suck my dick.
Given that, this album fits in perfectly with their other albums. It's crime in my mind is that it doesn't have a single song can compete with the best songs pre-Door to Door. Don't get me wrong - "Blue Tip", "Sad Song", "Keep On Knocking" (to disagree) , "Drag on Forever" (which doesn't live up to the title fortunately) and "Hits Me" are all fine songs but none of them are GREAT.
I had seen Ric's comment about Benjamin too. Just the other day I discovered that my three favorite Cars songs ("Cruiser", "Candy-O", and "Moving in Stereo") were all sung by him. :-(
I know a guy who saw the New Cars tour and saw the original Cars back when they tour off their greatest hits release. He thought that The New Cars gave a good accounting of themselves and the original Cars had all the stage presence of a work-release crew. Maybe they'll be a ltittle more animated this time around.
Quick! Replenish your supply of Cars CDs by clicking hERE!
Click here before midnight. I'll be waiting orp.