Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time
If The Cars had never released another album beyond their 1978 eponymous debut they would likely still be a legendary band thanks to the six radio standards included here, all of which I mentioned in my Great Out Of The Gate series (see below). Even the three remaining songs (“I’m In Touch With Your World,” “Don’t Cha Stop” and “All Mixed Up”) are all winners even if they weren’t as radio-friendly as the others. Most of their subsequent albums had greater commercial success and featured bigger hit singles, but none of that would have happened without the brilliance of this record paving the way. It’s hard to imagine anyone not loving The Cars, or at least admiring the quality of the songwriting, musicianship, vocal performances & production, and it still sounds fresh more than 40 years later.
For more information on this series, please read the opening paragraph of the first post, which featured the debut album from Led Zeppelin.
From GREAT OUT OF THE GATE Part 1:
In the late-‘80s, there was a clear divide between fans of synth-based new wave music and what’s now known as classic rock. The only band that seemed to bring those two sides together was The Cars. Main songwriter/vocalist Ric Ocasek’s offbeat delivery & quirky songwriting (inspired by early Roxy Music) was embellished by Greg Hawkes’ space-age synths & keyboards and Elliot Easton’s jangly, melodic, Beatles-influenced lead guitar. Bassist Benjamin Orr added his warmer vocals to several songs and David Robinson supplied solid-but-never-boring drumming. This is one of the rare albums that could pass for a best-of collection, with radio staples “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Just What I Needed,” “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” “Bye Bye Love,” “Good Times Roll” and “Moving In Stereo” (the latter etched in the minds of every male in my age group thanks to Fast Times At Ridgemont High). Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker was an inspired choice, making these songs sound huge and emphasizing their vocal harmonies.
Since I assume there’s no one out there who actually dislikes them, I just want to know how my fellow Cars fans feel about this album. Do you think it was the pinnacle of their career? If not, which ones are your favorites? I love all of their albums (yep, even the under-valued Door To Door), but I don’t think they ever exceeded the greatness of their debut.
Satur-debut will return in two weeks with another classic from 1978.