The Cars

You might think I'm stupid.
*special introductory paragraph!
*The Cars
*Road Test
*Shake It Up
*Heartbeat City
*Greatest Hits
*Door To Door
*Anthology: Just What I Needed
*It's Alive! (by The New Cars)
*Move Like This
I enjoy the music of The Cars a great deal. They sprouted out of Boston in the late '70s playing a sort of '60s rock/'70s new wave combination that made them an instant success, then they lost a lot of fans by veering too far towards the "new wave" side of things, won back the fans by maturing into a pleasantly catchy pop rock band, then blew everything to hell by putting out an album of boring adult pop in 1987 (before returning 24 years later with a much more enthusiastic effort!). They were also masters of the stereo mix, cleanly separating multiple drum, synth and guitar sounds in a playful and dynamic way that rewards close listens. The leaders of the combo were Ric Ocasek, a tall, thin guy with a low quivery voice extremely reminiscent of that guy in The Cure, and Ben Orr, who had a more normal pop voice, except when he tried to imitate Ric, which was far more often than could possibly be deemed necessary. The rest of the band was made up of David Robinson (former drummer for The Modern Lovers), Greg Hawkes (keyboardist who made lots of funny synthesizer noises and looked like a computer dork), and Elliot Easton (the other guitar player, who always tried to look cool in band photos by wearing dark sunglasses). I love them.
Reader Comments
One of my favorite
Car covers was recorded by Weezer in 1993. They heard Ric was coming to see them rehearse and they were hoping that he would produce their 1st album.

* The Cars - Elektra 1978 *
Rating = 10

It's 1978, and the first three songs on here are "Good Times Roll," "My Best Friend's Girl," and "Just What I Needed," three oft-played radio classics that present The Cars as rock purists in an age of punk, disco, and new wave. Like with Tom Petty, your dad can listen to these songs and think "Wow! Finally, some normal guys!" Then "I'm In Touch With Your World" comes on and your dad realizes, "Uh oh....they're NEW WAVE!!!" Then "Don't Cha Stop" comes on, and your dad cups his ears and shouts, "Dammit!!! I knew it!!! They're one of those filthy PUNK ROCK bands!!!" So you flip the record over and your dad is able to relax again as he hears the radio anthems "You're All I've Got Tonight" and "Bye Bye Love" bouncing around the room like little bags of cotton candy, reaffirming Pop's faith in the American Dream of good time quality rock and roll that isn't generic, but rather sleek, sharp, clever, and well-performed.

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, know.....

Reader Comments
"Moving In Stereo" is the only song that gets regular FM play that I still like. It's so different from the rest of The Cars' tunes it doesn't sound dated too much. Oooh that bass line! The rest of the "FM hits" bore me to death because they're overplayed.... (Dumb)
I've never "heard" The Cars before, but I didn't think anything was particularly wrong with your review style. Bring Dad in more often- play the good shit loud- and chain him to the wall if he makes a move for the remote. (Kimberly Shriner)
As someone who hates new wave, you certainly went out of your way to prove it to everyone! Why did you even bother reviewing the Cars at all if all you can do is criticize?! You did not have one good word for them, even when you attempted to make a compliment. The best judge of a artists music is a true fan, not to mention the creator of "Heartbeat City: A Fan-Authored Web Site About the Cars" (, so here's how I'd rate this first album: a fine debut album. The first three songs are often played because they're good, and are never overdone. And the anguish of "You're All I've Got Tonight" and the mystery of "Moving In Stereo" are a perfect addition to those three singles. The album's not their best, but for beginners, the Cars did a pretty damn good job!! And, finally, I don't know what all that "Dad" comparision is about, but his review is no worse than yours!!
The Cars' first album rocks from the opening "B" chord to the final sax crescendo!! Anyone who thinks ANY Cars song has been overplayed should go back and bury his head in Zep, Scorps, and Thin Lizzy!!!! (David Hast)
Hey, my Dad may hate The Cars, but my Mom loves them! She's 59 and one hip granny. As I write this, "Dangerous Type" comes on the stereo.. Too Cool!
In 1978, I was a little 13 year old punk who was looking for something different. I hadn't yet discovered the Clash or Pistols, and then I heard this album. It was unlike anything else being played at the time, and I think it was Ric Ocasek's great ability to write a perfect pop hook that drew me in. I consider it an essential record in any collection.
Most of the songs from here are endlessly played on classic rock radio but they’re all still catchy, in particular "Moving In Stereo." But after seeing Fast Times At Ridgemont High I can't listen to that song again without having mental flashbacks! I mean, sure, you get the mental image of the well-endowed Phoebe Cates and all, but you also have to picture Judge Reinhold riding the horizontal pony with his magic staff. Ewwwwww.....

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. (Ben Greenstein)
In your REM reveiw, you said you hated slow rockers like "Finest Worksong."

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.
I know that the cars is a classic rock staple but it has been overplayed to death and all of the melodies sound the same so I think it deserves a 7 just for historical importance. (Richard Savill)
A piece of deserved rock history at a time when a saturated rock revolution was going on. There is simply nothing more pleasingly nostalgic than the good ol' Cars. The Cars weren't overly self-indulgent either, like the 'Talking Heads' of the same period and enriched popular music of the time with a great style. There is hardly any argument that as the debut album, it's their best. Candy-O carried the sound from the debut, and even though it has much the same wardrobe as the first album, it holds up as a classic for the Cars as well. (Rob Raymer)
one of the best debut albums ever. every song is catchy and most are classics. awesome, over the top production thanks to baker. easton is underrated and a real badass, always did alot without doing too much. (Norman McPherson)
As close to a ten as The Cars ever got in my opinion. I read somewhere that the guitar breaks on "My Best Friends' Girl" was a tribute to The Beatles' tune "I Will". Rock radio standards and a fine debut for them boys.
Any covers band worth their salt would take a crack at 'Best Friends Girl' and then discover that it is in no way as simple as they thought it was...but you can still bash out a simplified version that knocks the audience's socks off (the acid test for any classic song IMHO). Elliot Easton was a very accomplished guitarist and anyone who can wrap their fingers round this solo at the right tempo has earned the right to say they can play guitar...full of tricky runs and wonderful two and three finger bends...economical and to the point...pretty well the first country solo ever heard on a new wave album (well, the first one I'd ever heard).

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. (Mark R. Lecuona)
Well, back again. My recollection of this album comes from a typical day browsing the album stacks back in the late 70’s and wanting something new, I asked the clerk for some help. He suggested either The Cars or an album by a group called Japan. Not knowing a thing about either band, I chose Japan. While I liked the album, the group has remained in total obscurity, while The Cars, of course, became THE CARS! Anyway, as time passed, I decided to buy The Cars album and took it over to my friend’s apartment. The room was full of my very arrogant mates who thought they knew it all about music. Remember, this is 1978 and New Wave was trying to hit the beach like it was D-Day or something and many people just totally rejected it. I somehow managed to convince them to allow the disc to be played on the turntable. Not knowing which side to play, I chose side A. Of course, Let The Good Times Roll was just a total dirge (and it really is, if you think about it) to everyone as they were more into things like Little Feat or Led Zeppelin. We didn’t even finish the song, before someone pulled the needle off in a rather rude manner (seeing as how I bought the album and it sounded like it had absorbed its first scratch). I meekly said nothing else about the album and later played it alone and realized that side B (Your All I’ve Got Tonight etc) was really good. The kicker is that months later the “friend” who pulled the needle off the album comes up to me and say’s “Hey, have you heard The Cars? They’re pretty good!” I just about spit on his shoes. It was a classic case of someone who didn’t want to acknowledge that I might have been 20 minutes or so ahead of my time in terms of uncovering some different sounds. Sheesh….
When you first meet someone, there is an easy way to judge whether or not they are going to be "cool" with you.

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.
The CARS debut album has to be one of the finest efforts of rock/pop/punk ever made. When you realize this album was released in 1978 (and The CARS were performing this stuff for two years at small clubs before the record) its amazing to think how progressive it was. Every song is catchy and the album demonstrates The CARS' ability to run between power pop, classic rock, new wave, and light punk. Aside from Don't Ya Stop and All Mixed Up (which is one of their finest songs, especially when you hear the original DEMO with Easton's brilliant lead guitar) all of the remaining songs are current FM staples on classic stations for a reason; they are classic rock songs. People who complain that these songs are played too much are not considering the stations playing the music; THEY ARE CLASSIC ROCK STATIONS, so one's ear will get a dose of 60's 70's and 80's classic rock, that's all, there should be no surprise. If you want to hear other good stuff from those eras then change the station!

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 (Felipe)
The cars is my FAVORITE band. The Cars is my favorite album (with Candy O and Heartbeat City). Even now, it is still regarded by many as one of the greatest 'new wave' debut albums of all time. 'My Best Friends Girl' has a sound and feel that harks back to the late fifties. Just what I needed is is in truth amazing.

I love moving in stereo and all mixed up (The brilliant final track). I think it deserves a 9 just for historical importance. (Richard Savill)
It's been said by the group themselves sometime ago that their debut album turned out to be a de facto 'Cars Greatest Hits' album. Although this is not how they expected it to be, it remains a very curious work. The only album I can compare from the period in this construct would be 'Get The Knack' by New Kinks on the Block - better known as The Knack. As you say, it's cross of mainstream, new wave and punk rock. For a popular music mongrel such as it sort of is, it comes across nowadays to me as both dated and timeless. This album and the next can easily be regarded as a set pair, because the further work beyond The Cars and Candy-O are so much more a departure - for better or worse probably depends on your personal fandom.

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78 - Audifon 1978.
Rating = 9

Crappy sound, but it's so neat to hear the early Cars running through their entire first album (sans "Dontcha Stop" - if you don't know what "sans" means, feel free and ask me, natch) that you can forgive the fact that it sounds like it was recorded on a piece of buttered toast. Gotta dig them Greg Hawkes keyboard squiggles, art?
Reader Comments
LOOK! I FUCKING HATE JUST WHAT I NEEDED BECAUSE IT WAS USED IN CIRCUIT CITY! FUCKING OVERPLAYED SHIT! I FUCKING HATE THESE FUCKING ADS! DO NOT SHOVE SOME DICKWEED IN MY FACE! HATE THIS SHIT! I WILL SHOVE THAT SONG UP THE DJ UP HIS COCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Road Test - Bootleg
Rating = 8

Mark baby,

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

Reader Comments
You really have no clue how cool it was for me to see a review of that material. I never knew it was on a bootleg (as I have never had the pleasure of owning one), but I have heard (and seen) it, as it is on a DVD released around the time of Ben's death. The footage is of the Musikladen gig in Germany. The song list: 1) Good Times Roll, 2) Bye Bye Love, 3) Nightspots, 4) I'm in Touch with Your World, 5) My Best Friend's Girl, 6) Candy-O, 7) You're All I've Got Tonight, 8) Take What You Want, 9) Since I Held You, 10) Don't Cha Stop, 11) Just What I Needed. It's all really quite enjoyable, and "Take What You Want" really rocks my proverbial socks. Solo's great, as it always is; consider the source! I also have the demo version on the Deluxe first album, and it's also good. I believe the DVD is called The Cars 1978 or something like that. Please seek it out, it's worth it, and if you don't enjoy it, you must have a brain disorder. Sorry; that's not neccessarily true, but you get my point. Anyway, thank you bootleggers for releasing it, and thank you Mark for reviewing it and letting me know it exists. Again, enjoy it if you haven't heard it already!

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Candy-O - Elektra 1979.
Rating = 8

Screw the line. This is completely new wave. Stiff bouncy Devo-ish rhythms, tons of silly keyboards, skinny ties...but man, if you're gonna get a new wave album, this is a good one! There are some normal pop rock songs - the godlike radio standards "Let's Go" and "It's All I Can Do," for example - but the majority of the songs are ridiculously bouncy electronic fun with stilted beats and Ocasek's wiggly vocal chords. But the song construction is excellent, with the band gradually bringing in different instruments, layering little guitar licks on top, piling on more great synth tones, singing about chicks and more chicks ("I got a lot on my head / And most of it's you"), and doing it all with a demonstrated understanding of the dynamics of normal radio pop, even if most of the noises they're making don't quite qualify as such. It's a good record to chew fruity gum to.

Reader Comments
Devo-ish rythms??!?!?! Now you've done it. The Cars could NEVER hope to be as good as DEVO was in its heyday. The one problem the Cars had is all their songs sounded the same. No variation in production. Contrast that with Are We Not Men? We Are DEVO. That album has no two songs that sound the same. Comparing The Cars to DEVO is like comparing Nirvana to the Dead Kennedys.... (Kimberly Shriner)
This was one of the Cars' best albums!! Full of atmosphere and intrigue! The rhythms are bouncy and fun, and the lyrics are cool and mysterious. The Cars were starting to perfect their sound, and and it really showed on this album with better music and sound effects. Songs like "It's All I Can Do", "Double Life", and "Let's Go", were all different and all brilliant! And some songs like "Got a Lot On My Head" and "Lust For Kicks" are funny! What more do you want??!!
Candy-O has it all. It's 1979 and they're showing you things you can't even label!! Elliot's work on this one rivals anybody's from that era. Easton is God!!!!
How can you NOT like Candy-O? That is the #1 Best Album of All Time!! Especially the songs "Nightspots" and "Dangerous Type." There is only 1 slight problem with this album: "Shoo-Be-Doo" should have been flushed down the toilet before the album was released. (Khrystynah Foster)
i love this album. it's the best new wave album i own; i'm always confused when they are classified as punk cause i don't see it...hhhmmm... when i first got my convertible, and i still do it now when i'm in the mood, i would cruise around rocking out to "Let's go"! i love it, and people would look at me as though i had lost it,.... fuck em, it rocks. (David Hast)
The first album I ever had to replace due to over-use, and its the first Cars album I bought on CD. What a great album to drive by, the time flys by and I'm in a great mood when I get there. As far as the DEVO comments, so what! Two different bands, both enjoyable.
Again, they put out a record that didn't sound like anyone else, so they get hammered for it. I can remeber knowing every single drum part on this record, and I bet if I put it on now, I could still drum the fucker in perfect time! I don't think it's DEVO-esque though.
Definitely their best album - just edging out their debut album. This was a fun record with lots of variety from start to finish. "Double-Life", "Nightspots" and "Dangerous Type" were my favorites. I overplayed it when I bought it back in '79 (on 8-track) and can still recite the lyrics from the songs. None of their newer albums can compare. (Ben Jordan)
Candy-O as an album is great. The song itself is a scorcher, it's straight ahead rock set up by the off-kilter "Shoo-Be-Do". "Dangerous Type" slinks along with trepidation(is that a word). "Let's Go" is watching the girl in the convertible. How can it be a "Lust For Kicks" but sound so dead pan and repetitive? Ironic. And I agree with that guy, Elliot Easton's a guitar hero. I think of few people who put a song over with a guitar solo like he does. (Ben Greenstein)
You might think I'm foolish, but I really don't like this album as much as some of the others in the Cars catalogue. Sure, "Let's Go" is one of the greatest songs ever written, the title track is great punk, and "Dangerous Type" kicks booty five-fold, but there are too many tunes in the middle with no real melodies. I bought this expecting to love it, after all of those great things I had heard about "Double Life" and "Night Spots." Imagine my surprise when niether of those grabbed me at all, and niether did the rest of the album.

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.
I finally heard this one. Most people say that it's inferior to the debut, and well, they're right-- the meaty rock production has been replaced by this really thin sound which places the shiny keyboard right up to the forefront, and the songs are generally a lot weaker this time around (the only song that stands up at all to anything on the previous album is, of course, "Let's Go"). I still like most of the album ("It's All I Can Do" and "Got A Lot On My Head" are awesome!!), and though "Dangerous Type" is really nothing but a hybrid of "Get It On (Bang A Gong)" and "Psycho Killer," it's still a phenomenally cool song. Maybe a seven. (Dante Tomaselli)
Candy-O mesmerized me when I was 9 years old in 1979 and at 30, still retains its power. This is a visceral masterpiece. Arty, percolating pop at its finest. All the songs, even some of the funnier ones like, "Lust for Kicks" have a spooky, dreamlike vibe. Just listen to "Double Life" "Shoe-Be-Do" Candy-O" and "Nightspots" in a row and tell me your not invigorated. I could loop those four songs together and probably listen to them forever. "Double Life" is my favorite. It's all gonna happen to you - when you drive in the haze... Brilliantly, Candy-O combines avant-garde futurism, punk, pop and rock. It is one of the best albums of all time.
This is one of the most perfect pop records ever. The guitar licks are what really stand out for me (Check out the layered riffs in the title track). Sure, they were pop, but damn they were visionaries! The album's greatest moment is the Shoo-be-do/Candy-O/Night Spots sequence. It sounds like it could have been made last year! Candy-O is a timeless classic that belongs in every collection. (Uncle Buzz Records)
The Cars Candy-O is the best 80's album to come out of the 70's, ever. The ultimate Cars album. The ultimate new wave album. The ultimate power-pop album. The ultimate bubblegum album. Just look at those back cover photos!.....NO ONE can weild a lollypop like Benjamin Orr.


y'know, I take that back about Candy-O being the ultimate power pop album. That honor goes to GET THE KNACK.
Nothin' wrong with shooby doo. It is the perfect lead in to Candy O and wasn't meant to be any more!!! (Rich Sahagian)
A classic, it pulled me in when I first heard it, and its just as powerful now. Primal, sexual, casual,intense, confident,scared..lonely,dominant.
Now here is my review for this second offereing from the Cars. I'm A DieHard Cars fan, so I will not spare any praises THis my number One albume of all time. Every song is a hit. All played on rock radio in 1979- 1980. This one also my favorite song of all-time. "Let's Go". To me this albume and Shake It Up were the Cars. So I have a killer review on this Candy-O. The songs are about ...the type of woman who victimize us men, but still we can't help being obsessed by them. EX:Dangerous Type,Let's Go,It's All I can Do. here Ric and Ben equally sing great songs. Well..Here Goes!

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 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!!
The 1979 second effort, CANDY-O, by The CARS is another example of outstanding versatility and this time story telling. Perhaps all of the songs on the album are about a girl named Candy-O (for CARS fans Candy-O is a girl named Candy Obnoxious Hence the "O" in Candy-O). This is most obvious with the brilliant mixing arrangement of the four songs: All I can do, Double life, Shoo Be Doo and Candy-O, which completes the first side of the album.

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 (Felipe)
Hey, The Cars and Devo…The Cars is better. No variation in production?...Are you think Let´s go is the same that shoo be doo? Please!.

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.
The Cars' "Candy-O, follows up their debut in grand fashion with an album that's more uptempo and rougher sounding than the debut. The opening cut, "Let's Go" is still being played at sporting events to help fire up the team and its fans with the hand-clap effect inserted before the lyrics"Let's Go ". Some observations , comparisons, and opinions offered about this release are: #1. The producer, Roy Thomas Baker, also produced Alice Cooper's "Flush The Fashion" album a year after this release and one of the similarities, between the two albums is the electric drums at the beginning of the song titled" Double Life", sound very close to the electric drums that are heard at the beginning of Cooper's single entitled "Clones". Also the cuts on each album run into one another without much, if any pause between them, on both artist releases..

#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.
When these guys hit the Top Ten, they got booked on the live rock late night show The Minight Special on NBC; Ocasek said he would only do it if he could book all the supporting acts; in my middle school years, I stayed up late of a Friday watching, and when I realized the band put friggin' Suicide on national TV in 1978, doing their thing on what seemed like a 25 minute version of Frankie Teardrop, my respect for the Cars went up exponentially; even the killer Iggy Pop performance (in his ripped shirtless love god phase) of 5'1" and I'm Bored didn't top that.

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.

Add your thoughts?

Panorama - Elektra 1980.
Rating = 7

UPDATE: In late 2006, I raised this grade up from a 6. Sure, "Don't Tell Me No" and "Down Boys" are dumb as dirt, "You Wear Those Eyes" features a pathetically lazy spoken verse, and "Touch And Go" wastes a brilliant lockstep rhythm riff and beautiful guitar solo on an otherwise ugly as sin song, but the warped spy theme "Panorama," punky "Gimme Some Slack" and "Getting Through," and awesomely brooding rockers "Running To You" and "Up And Down" are so goddamned fun, weird, fast, bouncy and rockin' (although not always in the same song) that I must have had my foot in my nose when I gave it a mere 6. A 7 it is! Here then is my original "6" review:

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.

Reader Comments (Kimberly Shriner)
You're no better then all the rest of the critics when Panorama was new! They hated it, but real fans still stick up for it! And so do I. The songs ceratinly ARE gripping and draw into the Cars' aire of darkness and mystery that is present on this entire album. "Don't Tell Me No", "You Wear Those Eyes", and "Touch and Go" all hit different ponits of truth about confusion and pain, as the songs on this album are amoung Ric Ocasek's most honestly written. And how can anyone not be blown away by "Panorama"'s riviting spy story video?!
If you can't "get" Panorama then you can't "get" the Cars. Easily the most intriguing album the band authored. Hawkes, Easton, RicO, Ben, and Dave. "gimme some slack" already!!!! (Steve Hampton)
I'd have to agree with the others on this. The Panorama LP was quite an odd listen the first time round, but it definitely grows on you. I think the band is entitled, like anyother young band, to experiment. In my opinion, Panorama was indeed a venture a bit to the left. Any diehard Cars fan might agree that the album was definitely worth buying, even if a first listen was a bit what you didn't expect. Looking over The Cars' discography one can notice and appreciate the fact that the band did experiment -- that's what kept them on the charts for a decade.

As far as a comparison to DEVO...I think not. (Jim Meeks)
"You Got Lucky (Babe)" came out 2 or 3 years after Panorama, so if anyone was stealing keyboard licks, blame Tom Petty's keyboardist; don't blame Greg Hawkes (who to this day, is still an innovator in the keyboard world).

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. (Marc Kovac)
Music "fans" often become first infatuated with a superior album, or rock star. As their psychosis grows with every listen, they soom become desensitized to the bands' other material which is more often than not crap. Soon every album is owned, and revered, in a blind orgy of fandom. Do not fall into this sad sad cycle. One must keep a critical ear, or else earn themselves the brain of a small squirrel. (David Hast)
Many true Cars fans call this their cult favorite, dark, brooding, complex. The press really showed their true colors reviewing this one, they didn't bother to listen. "You Wear Those Eyes" still hits me between the eyes nearly 20 years after I first heard it. (Doug Dye)
Panorama has been my most recent purchase of the Cars music. I only knew "Touch and Go" and "Don't Tell Me No", so the rest of the album was a surprise. When I first heard it, I didn't know what to think. I love all the Cars music, but this album was different. I kept on listening to it, and now I really like it. It's not my favorite, but the songs have grown on me. I love Easton's guitar riffs throughout the cd. (Ben Greenstein)
Hey, you forgot to mention that in addition to sharing its keyboard sound with the superb "You Got Lucky," "Touch and Go" also sounds a lot like "Spirits In The Material World" by the Police. So what if these songs stole the effect - they both did it a heap of a lot better.

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." (canadien)
actually, the Cars were really there when I needed them because if we remember the late 70`s...American music sucked so bad, that I relapsed into another Beatles fit. Punk, New-wave, who friggin` cares, the Cars were an American band with something unheard of in the USA, (unless your are Black)...A NEW SOUND !!!

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 dunno, I mean, I'm all for bands trying to stretch out artistically, but....the Cars doing an art record? As much as their fans might try to deny it, they were a singles band, and without catchy hooks their songs just sound like generic, badly-produced new wave with no reason to exist. It's nice that the Cars pay tribute to Roxy Music (an obvious influence here), which really makes it too bad that none of this stuff comes within a mile of most of For Your Pleasure. Most of the album tracks just hang around boringly and do nothing at all, and the singles are even worse - the title track has almost no melody at all (or if it has one, it's hard to notice) and "Touch And Go"? I can imagine the song being cool with full production making those synths echo around your brain, but as it is it's one of the stupidest, most go-nowhere songs they ever penned. It hit the Top 40 based on momentum alone.

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.
Every Cars album had a distinct flavor; I found Panorama to be the tastiest. After that came Shake it Up, which was nice - the way a Snickers bar can be. But not as satisfying, like everything after. Except Beatitude and Change No Change.

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. (Dante Tomaselli)
PANORAMA is glacial and eerie. This is The Cars feeling subversive. I love how Ric Ocasek leaves his lyrics uncompromisingly ambiguous. The overall effect is hypnotic. With The Cars, mood is paramount: The electronic landscapes presented here are hallucinogenic and occasionally sinister. No other band combines synth and guitar as well as The Cars. With, Panorama you get the feeling of being in a techno-pop dungeon. Another Cars masterpiece.
Panorama has got to be one of the best songs (and albums)...EVER!!!! And do you know what really pissed me off (besides Prindle's not-so-good rating)? NOBODY EVEN MENTIONED "DOWN BOYS" OR "GETTING THROUGH"!!!!!!!!!! Those are 2 really kick-ass songs and a couple of my favorites. Oh, well, great album here. (Earl McPherson)
Some record company sent me this tape when I was a member of their club. You know the kind that send you stuff if you don't reply back or wind up paying for it being sent back. I kept this one and wound up playing it on my way to Garner, N.C. all the time when I used to go with this woman who lived there. It took a little getting used to but it sounded pretty good after awhile. Years later I heard some of the tracks being played down at Myrtle Beach and they still sounded good. -A seven. (Steven Lennon)
someone above said that "if you don't get panorama than you don't get the cars". I think that is totally wrong. I think panorama is an album that only a true cars fan can love(which explains why I love it so much).I can understand if people don't particularly care for it but for me one of my great concert memories was when I saw the cars for the first of many times and they opened up with misfit kid at Nassau coliseum in 1980.the first cars song I learned on guitar was gimme some slack..the somber tone of Panorama touches my soul as mush as candy-o makes me feel good and gets my energy up..
Panoramma= 8/10 third group effort. Many critics bash this albume as thier worst. I disagree. It definatly is experimental, but the less a great record. Thier are many different sounds and on this ones it's mainly Ric who had the radio hits, Ben's songs where really good too.EX:Running To You,You Wear Those Eyes. This was the albume the cars did to get airplay on KROQ. That was the newest happening station. Even Cheap Trick and Tom Petty were getting airplay on that. 1980 was the new wave year. DEVO,Gary Newman, Vapors and even early Duran Duran were all over KROQ...and the cars did just that. They scored 4 hits from Panoramma on KROQ's famous year end countdown. Here is my review.

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
The third CARS album is so underrated for its quality but real fans and non-commercial critics loved the album. Some said the album was too experimental... YES, that's right, it was supposed to be. Why not do what you want after two huge album successes? By this time, the CARS were well established and PANARAMA clearly reflects their schizophrenic attitude about their overwhelming success. The CARS were a shy band and did not like all the media attention and this album echoes that. The song "Misfit Kid" exemplifies this with Ocasek singing about the hardships of success, the shallowness of the music industry, and perhaps his place in it, an outsider who stumbled on to mainstream greatness and how misplaced he feels.

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 (Felipe)
Hey Ben Greenstein… "You Got Lucky” and "Spirits In The Material World" . I respect these works. I don´t think they are better that “Touch and go”. But I think about than both groups, they found something once was done, and tried to improve it. In any case Greg Hawkes was the original.

Panorama is different. But is good. I like “Touch and go”, “Misfit kid”, “You Wear Those Eyes” and “up and down”.

Add your thoughts?

Shake It Up - Elektra 1981.
Rating = 8

Yes! The Cars shift their sound (and production values) just enough to qualify as a mature adult pop rock band. Aaaaahhh...the sweet sound of good music. Can't beat it, eh? Perhaps it's not exactly your cup of Steve, but I love this stuff. It's all so damn catchy! Have you heard "Since You're Gone?" Couldn't be a better album-starter, my word. And the title track? Like a new wave update of that rock and roll on the first album! What else? "Cruiser" rocks pretty dang hard for a band like this, and it's a fantastic night driving song, "I'm Not The One" is sad and pretty, and "Victim Of Love," "A Dream Away," and "Maybe Baby," though they all go on too long, are still nice and atmospheric in a way that The Cars haven't been since those last two songs on the debut.

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!!!!

Reader Comments (Kimberly Shriner)
You seem to like this album, but it doesn't really show. Especially since you called them a "sissy band." From looking at your other reviews of groups, you seem to be more into metal, hard rock, grunge, and alternative. My question is how the Cars even got on your list in the first place! Anyway, Shake It Up is a lot of fun. I'll admit, it's not my favorite album, but there are a few really great songs. I know you've HEARD "Since You're Gone", but have you seen it's charming video? One of their best!! "I'm Not the One", "Victim of Love" and the title track are all great (as you can see, I prefer side 1 over side 2). Nevertheless, I gave every song a fair chance.
Sissy Band? Try Duran Duran, Naked Eyes, Kajagoogoo, General Public, and a host of "Fool Wave"!!!! Music progressed because The Cars said so! (Arthur Page)
"Shake It Up" is one of my all-time favorites by The Cars. Too bad the concert to promote this album was a real YAWN. (David Hast)
Well, there you go again, "This Could be Love" is one of my favorites, especially positioned right after "Dream Away".
Boooooooooooooooring. As I've said elsewhere, I don't have a problem with synths at ALL, but I REALLY HATE them when they're used as backing for thin, dinky music. "I'm Not The One" is atmospheric and moody, and "Since You're Gone" is a good stomping opener, but I've never been a fan of the title track (it sounds more like one of those songs that you're supposed to like because it's fast, but it's actually really dull and repetitive in a non-"Rebel Rebel" way) and I just can't get into the rest of this stuff. I mean, "Cruiser"? Who cares if it has a guitar riff - it still sounds thin and synthesized. I can't give the album anything more than a 5.

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. (Dante Tomaselli)
SHAKE IT UP was spotty, but even at its most disposable, it's gorgeous, sleek, well-made atmospheric pop. Lyrically lighter than PANORAMA, SHAKE IT UP still contains Ocasek's surreal prose - displayed prominently in "Crusier" and "This Could be Love" (intense, seductive Orr vocals) and one of my all-time favorites - the weirdly psychedelic, tantalizing, A DREAM AWAY.
The 1982 release of the CARS 4th album, "Shake it Up," brought casual fans and most critics back in favor with the CARS after the controversial 1980 Panorama album; the album cracked the top 10 on Billboard’s sales chart and it went multi platinum. The pop and radio friendly recording is relatively well arranged and written but it is clear that there was a concerted effort to bring back the casual fans and adore the critics. Nothing on the album is too edgy or chancy, however, a few songs continue the CARS tradition and keeps t the roots of quality well thought out music.

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 (Felipe)
I love “A dream away”, “I´m not the one” and “shake it up” (Full of fun). Is a good album. But Definitively is not of the best.

Hey 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?

Add your thoughts?

Heartbeat City - Elektra 1984.
Rating = 9

Aaaaaahhhh....more like Heartbeat Shitty!!!!!

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.

Reader Comments
This album is shit. It's not a Cars album but a "Mutte" Lange album with the Cars playing instruments. If you had Angus and Malcom Young playing keyboards you'd have the same effect. This is where the Cars lost it for me. God this album bites.... (Kimberly Shriner)
I think the popularity and awards speak for themselves...this album was their masterpiece. From the first song to the last, Heartbeat CITY is exciting, fun, and absolutely perfect!! And you can't deny the cleverness and creativity of the videos that accompanied the singles. The animation techniques of "You Might Think" have never been matched, "Magic" is a delight, "Drive" is emotionally compelling, and as for "Why Can't I Have You..." will you forget the Cure??? Ric Ocasek looks nothing that freak!! Also, that song is their most powerful ballad, as it can, along with it's video, rip your heart out and stomp on it! And I'll say it again, Heartbeat City is a masterpiece!!
If you dig the Cars like me, then you dig HB City. Call it what you want, it did in '84 what everyone does today, Cutting Edge? Vision? Vehicular? You got it!!!! (Kubla Kahn)
What the fuck?! Stop putting down The Cure you lameass AOLers... Anyone who is cognizant of real music in the 80's knows that The Cure, The Smiths, and The Pixies were the glittering prizes of that decade. Disintegration is the best album of the 80's!!!! The Cars had a decent guitarist, but the rest of the band sucked!!! "Just What I Needed" is the only decent Cars song. "Shake It Up" ??? Please. Give me Cocteau Twins synth-pop anyday. Damn, I digress... Just had to stop the hosers who don't know New Wave over this alternative shit they call music now.
I agree with Doug, this album sucks. The only people I knew who liked it weren't real music fans. (Matthew Estabrook)
Heartbeat City is the album that introduced me to the Cars, so I could never hate it. But given my die-hard loyalty to Ric and The Cars, I must admit that this album does not stand the test of time. Listening to the album in 1997, it sounds too slick and over-produced. The programmed drums and the synths make the album sound mechanical, thin and unsubstantial. Even the guitars sound sterile. Unlike earlier albums, Heartbeat City fails to transcend the era in which it was recorded. (David Hast)
Every song on this LP is a gem. No denying it, don't even try. The Cars where so ahead of everyone in 1984. Of course, "It's Not The Night" is one of my faves, go figure. (Doug Dye)
"Hello Again" is one of my all-time favorite songs. Yes, it does have a very 80's sound but that's exactly what it is. No 2 verses sound alike and I really like that. It is a good album, but I agree that it was way over-produced and sadly contributed much to the Cars' break-up. "It's Not the Night" and "Drive", they are all good, but the cd just doesn't have the harder edge that their earlier stuff did. It's more fantasy. Easton's guitar still rocks. (Charles Carlino)
When this album first came out, I liked it, but it still didn't compare to my two fave Cars records: Numero Uno & Candy-O. Perhaps it's the overuse of synths and drum machines on this one.......whereas the first two were more organic: real guitars, real bass, real sax, etc. Don't get me wrong....the 'songs' on HBC are okay, but the production and instrumentation are not my cup of tea. (Terry Haggin)
When I remember this album all I can think about is Ric as a cartoon fly and the Cars greatest song ever, 'Magic'. I don't care if you just ate a rotten peanut, gaak. And your Celica ran out of gas, in the desert, ten miles from the next station, and you have to go reaaal bad. And this is the last day of summer so back to Cost Accounting at 8:00 am tomorrow. Once that eternal happy song, 'Magic' comes on the radio you just have to smile and tape your toe on the inside of those $70.00 Nike's. 'Oh, Oh it's Magic...' I'm smilin' right now and seeing the tall, thin, singing ghoul walking on the water of that perfect swimming pool. Where's the CD, gotta have it on now...? Oops, don't have it yet.
I like this album more than I used to - in fact it's gotten to the point where it's my second-favorite behind the debut. The overproduction isn't really a problem in this case, mainly because it brought out the melodies that the Cars had been missing for quite some time. Plus, the production on every album since the debut really bit the big one, so I'm happy to hear clear, poppy stuff. Some of the gimmicks bug me (why the hell do they have that really loud, processed drum beat in "Why Can't I Have You"? IT'S A BALLAD!!!!!!) but most of this stuff is really melodic, peppy, and un-Cars-like-but-still-good. An 8.

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. (Ben Greenstein)
I cannot stand it when people put down great albums like Heartbeat City for being "too mainstream," and then stand up for albums like Panorama, saying that they are "underrated," no matter how crappy they are. I respect people having different opinions than the mainstream, but, damn it, have those opinions for the right reason. Don't hate something just because everyone else likes it. Just because it's popular doesn't mean that it's bad.

Of couse, in the late nineties, that statement is pretty innacurate. (Dante Tomaselli)
Heartbeat City came to me when I was 14 - 1984. I was already a die-hard Cars fan and tingling with excitement just looking at the surreal cover-art work. I eventually became obsessed with the album. The concert was heaven - it didn't matter to me that The Cars sometimes came across on stage as cold and mechanical because that was was part of their image and it worked! Hello Again took me on an interior journey all the way through the closing song, the dreamy, soothing HeartBeatCity. Sure, it's occasionally overwrought and over-produced - but that is what it is, what it stands for. I enjoy its excesses... It's a really ambitious, almost gaudy excursion... I knew The Cars spent a long time producing with "Mutt" Lange. Remember... It's Not the Night? And Looking For Love? Very good, underrated pop songs. I love listening to Stranger Eyes - with its classic, soul-searing Benn Orr vocals. We all miss him...his spirit lives on....
"It's Not the Night" has always, always been (and will always be) one of my all-time favorites. You [Prindle] need to do your homework... (David Dickson)
Wow. I mean--damn. I mean--aw, hell, SHIT.

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?

This is the '80's, at their most generic and representative (I mean that in a pejorative sense). How you can rate this higher than "Candy-O," or as high as the debut, is utterly beyond me.

Other than that, and your Can reviews that don't go to eleven, I love you, Prindle. (Nathan)
I was surprised to find that somebody had given me a copy of this and that it was sitting in my record collection. I knew the synths would be horribly cheesy, but lots of people gave it good reviews, and I liked Prince's stuff a lot, so I was completely open to the idea of this being a good record. Unfortunately, I may never know for sure because I can't seem to sit through the first 3 tracks without feeling as if I'm about to vomit. How can you listen to this? I'm sure the song writing is ok, I just seriously can't listen to it. Is this an acquired taste or something?
Heartbeat Shitty is RIGHT, Mark… OK, if you think of it in a dysfunctional multi-personality/schizophrenic kind of way. Realistically, the album is a quintessential mid-80’s masterpiece, not unlike the debut album in some very subtle ways and like the debut, made it to number three on the Billboard top 100, staying in the top 100 for well over a year. This album is often mistaken as the CARS’ most successful album in terms of sales and it sold over 7 million copies. But it falls short by a few million to the debut. The album sounds very dated now but other than Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" and one of Madonna’s albums, this album perhaps, had the most radio airplay of 1984. The string of radio friendly singles rivals only the CARS debut album in terms of quantity. All of the following cracked the top 40 list: "You Might Think," "Magic," "Hello Again," "Drive," and "Why Can’t I Have You." The title track, "Heartbeat City" or later/also know as "Jackie" could easily have been a hit single too, had it been released as such; it was smooth, refreshing and emotionally grasping (My favorite song on the album, by far). Another song, "Addicted to Love" could have also easily been a hit had it been released as a single, although it received a lot of airplay on alternative stations such as 91-X in San Diego, it was too long, slow and boring for my taste, but radio friendly.

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 (Felipe)
A wonderful album. Very different to “The Cars” and “Candy O”. But Wonderful. I love “Drive”, “You Might think”, “ Magic”, “Why can´t I have you”, and “I Refuse”.

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.

Add your thoughts?

Greatest Hits - Elektra 1985.
Rating = 9

Doesn't have every single classic (to do that, it would have to include pretty much the entire debut album), but it's good enough to uhh! Has a pleasant enough Cure-sounding song called "Tonight She Comes" that you can't find no place else too either too. One question, though: Is "I'm Not The One" really a classic? I mean, yeah, it's pretty, but was it a hit? And, for god's sake, is "Touch And Go" considered a greatest hit? I applaud them for going out of their way to include a track from Panorama, but I can think of about six catchier songs from that record.
Reader Comments
Just thought I'd point out that even though "Touch And Go" probably isn't the best song off of Panorama, (I haven't heard anything else from it myself) the fact still remains that it was the album's only Top 40 hit, and barely that. Since the album is Greatest Hits and not Best Of, they had to include it. Which is a shame, since I think that song is complete crap compared to a lot of their other work.

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. (Ben Greenstein)
Yes, I too love Greatest Hits, but I don't understand why "Bye Bye Love" and "Dangerous Type," the first two Cars songs I ever heard, aren't on it. I've heard them on my radio station at least eight times as many as I've heard all of the higher chart singles combined. And, no offense, but I find "Since You're Gone" quite annoying. And only one song from Candy - O? I mean, "Touch And Go" instead of "It's All I Can Do"? That's just stupid.
I don't own this album, but my mom has it and I've listened through it a couple of times. I like the Cars too, but two of their best songs, "Dangerous Type" and "Candy-O," are not on it. Still pretty good, though--at least it has "Since You're Gone," my favorite Cars tune.
Pisses me off. This one is missing way too many classics. I owned this CD for years and was shocked when I heard so many other great Cars songs later down the road that weren't on this CD. Where the hell is Dangerous Type? Candy-O? Moving In Stereo? This one's got WAY too much of Heartbeat City on it. And I don't care if it's got Tonight She Comes on it. I can understand why the CD is so short though. It was originally released as an LP, which only allows around 45 minutes of music, but they should have updated it some for the CD release (kind of like Rhino did for Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits). I had to go out and buy the huge Just What I Needed Anthology double disc set to replace this one, which I highly recommend.
As Ric Ocasek would say… "Well…" I personally awaited anxiously for this album to come out and when I first heard the single "Tonight She Comes" I thought, "…instant hit." The song’s sound is similar to Heartbeat City’s "You Might Think" with strong, forced keyboards but its better arranged and written and it did reach #7 on the Billboard Charts and was a top 20 Mainstream Rock charter as well. Though, again the song is powered by Hawkes’ synth and while Easton’s great, fast guitar solo sets the song and group apart from contemporaries such as Duran Duran and Huey Lewis, the song reminds us today of the shallow gleam and fashion that dominated mid-80’s NEW WAVE rock.

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?

Add your thoughts?

Door To Door - Elektra 1987.
Rating = 5

As evidenced by my adoration of Heartbeat City in spite of its corny overproduction, I don't much care how a record sounds if the melodies are good. But these songs ain't good. They're mostly dull ballads and slick '80s synth crap that doesn't come within a camel's hump of "Why Can't I Have You" or "I'm Not The One." Say! Remember when I compared Ric Ocasek's voice to that guy in The Cure? Well, doesn't the title "Why Can't I Have You" sound suspiciously like "Why Can't I BE You?" And isn't it a bit strange that Rick wrote a song for Candy-O called "Double Life???" And isn't it a little bizarre that "The Cars" and "The Cure" share five of the exact same letters - in the exact same positions?????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?

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.

Reader Comments (Kimberly Shriner)
This album is one of the most likely to be panned by critics. This is because it was never given a fair chance. So I did. I love this album. With the exception of one or two songs, there was no reason Door To Door couldn't have been as successful as any of the others. Some songs were breezy and just made you feel good ("You Are the Girl", "Everything You Say", "Coming Up You") while others were moving and seductive ("Wound Up On You", "Fine Line"). This album is terribly overrated and it's about time somebody gave it the recognition it deserves.

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.
Door to Door pissed me off! Bought tix and they canceled. Wanted rock and they yielded. But all in all The Cars were way more than that, they were IT!! Why Don't You STRAP ME IN All Night Long. (Steve Hampton)
I loved this album instantly! "Double Trouble"'s groove is powerful and in the pocket. The transition from "Coming Up You" to "Wound Up On You" is very nice.

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" (Jim Meeks)
The only good things about Door To Door were "Double Trouble" and "Coming Up You". I think Ocasek wanted this album to totally suck, because he's written far, far better songs on his rotten solo stuff (well, his first and second solo albums aren't THAT bad).

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? (Matthew Estabrook)
Well, it's been nearly ten years since the album was released, and I'm still not quite over my initial disappointment.

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. (David Hast)
Yea, pissed me off too. Had to think about growing up after they split up. "Coming Up You" should have been a huge hit, don't know what happened to that.
I must've been somewhere between your dad's age and yours when I first got into the Cars, because I really did not dig "I'm in touch with your world" and "Dontcha Stop", and it left me wondering how this band which produced the much-played tunes you mentioned added this stuff to the record. Still, you gave it a 10 and that's what it deserves. You also framed the band as a 60's rock meets 70's new wave. I think it's more like 50's rock meets 70's rock and 80's new wave. This is the answer to my question: they were obviously fond of classic rock-n-roll and looking to take it new directions -- which they did -- hence the new wave additions until Heartbeat City.

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 . . .
I?ve just bought the greatest Hits-CD and I think it's a very good one. Although I think Rik could sing a lot better on some songs... Listen to "Just What I Needed", "Drive" and "Magic". Why couldn't he sing that good on all the songs? Particularly on "Tonight She Comes" and "I'm Not The One" the singing could be a lot better! All in all I think the Cars are quite good although, like I said, it could be better... (Doug Dye)
In response to the above entry: the Cars had two lead singers. You are referring to Ben Orr in those songs. I too bought Orr's solo cd and then went back and picked him out from the songs. I didn't realize that he did that many...

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...??... (Charles Carlino)
The reason "Just What I Needed" and "Drive" sound better that the other songs Ocasek sings is because it's fucking Benjamin Orr singing them!!! (Jon Varner)
You almost mentioned Ric Ocasek's greatest moment here. Since you're a hardcore fan, you owe it to yourself and your readers to discuss Bad Brains, possibly the greatest hardcore band ever. And by the way, Ric Ocasek produced Suicide's first album, which is also a corker! (Gustavo Rodriguez)
Dated. Boring. Souless. Forgettable. Sure there are worse offenders but who really sits around and actually listens to this dreck? 80's hangovers. (TAD)
Like with Prince & Madonna, it took me a LONG time 2 catch on2 the fact that these guys had actual talent. Don't know why. Loved "Just What I Needed," thot the rest sucked. Worked in a record store at the time. 1 of my clear-thinking co-workers played the 1st Cars album over & over & OVER until I gave in & admitted that it was sheer genius. Perfect 2nd side, especially. Just freakin brilliant: "You're All I've Got Tonight" 4 comedy, "Bye Bye Love" 4 hit-single bounciness, then "Moving in Stereo" 4 spaciness & "All Mixed Up" 4 grown-up terror & melodrama. Jeez, why'd it take me so long 2 catch on?

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. (Rick Foy)
I am not one of these people who craps on about the first album being the best. U2 are a band who receive a lot of these types of comments. Their first albums are boring and repetitive. Their later albums such as Zooropa are masterpieces. It's similar with the Cars. While the first albums are not boring, the last two, Heartbeat City and Door to Door are easily the best. Door to Door in particular is a classic of it's time. It requires patience but once you know the tracks it can blow you away. The standout tracks are "everything you say", "strap me in", "coming up you" and "go away". Each of these has it's own feel of space and emotion [in motion] and grows on you everytime. I took the album with me on a trip to Thailand and now it evokes very strong memories of that trip. Other albums I had with me don't. Detractors should give the disc another chance - it's a slow starter!
Yeah, Door to Door is a REALLY underappreciated album; one of my personal favorites. The title track, in my opinion, is a good song. Hell, it's all good! And I think that pulling those demos out that were recorded 10 years ago then turned out to be a good idea. I have the Anthology, and I've listened to the original versions of "Leave or Stay" and "Ta Ta Wayo Wayo" and I honestly can't tell which ones are better. Great album. Crappy rating.
The end of greatness begins… The CARS’ "Door to Door" was a complete nightmare. Poorly arranged, bad songs and when listening, it just feels like the CARS were giving only half an effort. The single "You Are The Girl" had chart success at #16 but it was certainly not NEW WAVE rock. Rather, it was pure adult contemporary pop, which turned off a lot of fans. The album eventually was noted for selling a million copies on the strength of the mentioned single and the song is easy on the ears, but its misplaced in some weird "Bizarro World" where the cars are known for smooooth, coool, easy tunes, yea… Easton attempts to "rock up" the song with a decent solo but, no dice!

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.

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Anthology: Just What I Needed - Elektra/Rhino 1995
Rating = 8

This two-and-a-half-hour double-CD compilation was designed with both the casual fan and the Cars enthusiast in mind. For casual fans, it's an excellent greatest hits compilation featuring almost every single from the first six LPs in addition to some killer album tracks. And for enthusiasts like me, it features twelve rare demos, B-sides and covers.

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!!!

Reader Comments (Jim Meeks)
Since I have all the other Cars albums I bought this one too. After all, there are some unreleased and "B" side cuts on here, so I thought I'd take a gamble.

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!).
Definitely a great buy if you really don't want to bother with any of the Cars' albums. The collection pretty much takes the better songs off of every album and delivers a concise, catchy double-disc set. The songs from Panorama can screw off as far as I'm concerned, and most of the unreleased stuff is worthless, plus I've never been the biggest fan of "Shake It Up," but the rest of the songs are pretty awesome. But, uh, where the hell is "Bye Bye Love"? Are they trying to act like that one's not a Cars staple or something? Oh, but "Touch And Go," man that's a radio classic, baby!
This on is much better than the skimpy 1985 Greatest Hits album. Like Prindle said, it includes any Cars single anyone could possibly need without owning each album. But, hey, how could you not like Cool Fool? It, along with Little Black Egg, is my favorite unreleased track on the CD. If you're going to get only one Cars album, this is THE compilation to get. It's well worth the $30 price tag.
One thing not mentioned is Ricks connection to Cleveland! Th home of Rock & Roll. The cars were cutting edge 80's. Never got the "recognition they deserve.

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!
Don't forget "Funtime". Ben really kicks ass on the vocal and, just for the record, does NOT sound like or imitate Ric Ocasek, dammit!!!!!!


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?!?!
heres some pics from my private album for any of you who might enjoy.for that gals,read my "Ben Story".

peace all (Gary G., Florida)
I was 15 years old in 1978 and grew up in East Boston. I remember the release of their first album and how popular it was. Like many others in Boston and throughout the country I purchased it too. My band played the club circuit including the Rat in Kenmore Square, a club that many Boston bands played including the Cars. Two years later in 1980 we practised in the Cambridge Music Complex a large facility comprised of sound proof rehearsal rooms.

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.
In this review, less talk is more. Greatness returns as the CARS anthology is released. Although the CARS are officially no longer a band, the Anthology bursts with brilliance and force-feeds the listener with masterful versatility, creativity and intelligence. This is a must for even the casual fan and if there were only one album to have this would be it. Previously unreleased songs provide the listener with a deeper look into the CARS beginnings and roots of PUNK. The demo version of "Night Spots" is mysterious and dark, "Cool Fool" is as hard as anything they’ve ever played and "Don’t Go To Pieces" reiterates the CARS ability to throw in synth and smooth chorus to a good rock sound. The entire album reminds the listener that the CARS were way ahead of their time and unique to anything else in the rock & roll world. There’s plenty to go around. The hits, demos, B-sides, and previously unreleased tunes make up this 40 song, 2 CD set. If you don’t have it, get it… if you have it, you know exactly what I am talking about! An absolute NECESSITY! One of RHINO RECORDS’ top 101 finest albums.


Cheers to all, especially Mark for putting up the review board

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It's Alive! (by The New Cars) - Eleven Seven 2006
Rating = 6

Benjamin Orr tragically succumbed to pancreatic cancer, Ric Ocasek has an actual career, and David Robinson retired from the Spurs after the 2003 season, but that's certainly no reason why the keyboardist who wrote maybe three songs and the other guitarist who didn't do a fucking thing shouldn't tour around the world playing the band's old songs!

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!




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.

Reader Comments
The review and rating is spot on though Rundgren's voice didn't bother me as much as you. "Not Tonight" absolutely sounds like a filler track from one of the Cars' albums that just barely missed the cut. The other two new tracks might be the reason I've had diarrhea for the past several days and running out of room in my toilet. If only I had read your review earlier and purchased a large one.
At least they were tasteful enough to call themselves The New Cars. Other than that and a couple of good new songs, this album is a nightmare. Why on an album by a band called The New Cars are there songs by The Old Nazz and The Old Rundgren? And the vocals on the old Cars songs....the vocals....uhhmmmgrrrgghh....apparently Kasim Sultan sings most of Ben Orr's parts and Rundgren handles Ric Ocasek's vocals. ( Isn't that right? There's not specific credit for who's who in the credits...embarrasement? ) Shoulda been the other way around. Or all Rundgren, as Todd has a wider vocal range and Sultan's vocals are just horrible. If they do any service to The Cars, it's pointing out what a cool voice Orr had, by comparison. I thought a similar thing as you, my first listen: These song are so damn good, even the agonizing vocals can't completely ruin them. But this album'll be lucky to squeeze one star outta my Panorama-lovin' orifice.

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.....

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Move Like This - Concord 2011
Rating = 7

Between 1978 and 1987, The Cars released six studio LPs. Aside from six songs co-written with keyboardist Greg Hawkes, Ric Ocasek wrote every song on all of those albums as well as his '82 and '86 solo albums. Then between 1991 and 2005, he released six more solo albums. Finally, in 2010, he realized that his latest batch of compositions sounded awfully Cars-esque. "What the Jimmy?" he decided. "I'll call up The Boys and put out an album people will actually buy!" Unfortunately Ben Orr had died a decade earlier, which put a damper on everything.

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.

Reader Comments

Todd Totale
First of all, I think it was that asshole Todd Rundgren who said “Time Heals,” but that was a few decades before he became the frontman for The New Cars and shit all over Ben Orr’s legacy. I’m happy you’re alive. Seriously. There was a time when I thought that you weren’t going to make it. Thanks for hanging in there and, I may have hinted at this before, I think you’re better without the hooch. To demonstrate that I’m not one of those holier than thou blood farts, I’m going through some similar struggles with silly addictions, just not with the drink. Maybe we can be recovery buddies! Or perhaps jerk-off pals! Maybe we can just forgo all of that nonsense and continue to write stupid record reviews on the internets and make fantastic loads of money!

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.

Billy Barron
I agree with your score, but I completely disagree with " its sole crime is not being quite as consistent as the classic Cars records." Excluding the 1st album, which still had that stinker "Don't Cha Stop", I would never call the Cars' albums as being consistent. In fact, through I owned the classic albums on LP or cassette, I only bought the first album and a greatest hits collection on CD because their albums have great songs and then a bunch of filler.

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 don't know why all the Rundgren hating - he was invited to tour with the New Cars, it wasn't his idea. He wanted to play to arena crowds, not sheds and prog festivals touring as Utopia (which is a money losing endeavor). Yes, it was a money grab and he, along with Easton, never intimated it wasn't. Move Like This is an OK album, but it lacks any real teeth. Not one song on this album is as good Not Tonight. All the old TR fans are just pissed because TR won't pull the tarp off that old warhorse Utopia and tour the renaissence fairs and art festivals circuit in front of a couple of hundred old prog dorks (who are going to bitch that the music's too loud anyway).

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.

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