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Old 05-12-2020, 07:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Cars-The Cars

Not only was The Cars the first album by the band of the same name, but was also the first album among a list the would eventually come to be remembered as the New Wave of American rock and roll. Like many other firsts of this (sub)genre (The B-52's self-titled debut and Devo's Are We not Men? for example) it was arguably the strongest of their careers. The album was included in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, has a 5 star rating at, has many singles that to this day resonate across classic rock radio and has been jokingly referred to by members of the group as The Cars' Greatest Hits album due to the number of singles that the album heralded and the overall quality of the tracks themselves.

Though dubbed new wave, The Cars had a sound distinct from other groups given a similar moniker. While Devo was heavily induced with social criticism and concept art and The B-52s weird "Parliament for white people" sound emanated from funk, surf music, and disco, The Cars are more inline with the New York group Blondie whose subject matter and song structures more closely resemble traditional rock and roll and garage rock.

The songs are sung by Ric Ocasek, whose vocals are something like a baritone Buddy Holly which suit the lyrics which are largely about youthful infatuation (Just what I Needed, My Best Friends Girl) and odes to rock music itself (Good Times Roll, Moving in Stereo). The album is an early example of the synthesizer in a pop record which, along (and in noticeable equality) with the lead guitar, provide radio-friendly hooks that soar over the steady and sure rhythm section). Any guitar solos are short and melody-driven with a clear intent to avoid any of the experimentation common in the progressive rock and havy metal of the time as well as the mood and approach of a blues rocker.

Arguably the reason the group became so well known, one of the songs (Moving in Stereo) was even featured in the famous maturbation scene in Amy Heckerling's film Fast Times at Ridgemont High as an accompaniment to Judge Reinholdt's sexual fantasy. An importsant record for the genre, as well as for the development of other genres and groups who would eventually come to carve their own place in pop music history, [I]The Cars[I] is a very accessible album regardless of when it is being heard and has melodic sensibilities that are still well and alive in many alternative acts today.

Track pick: an album that is basically incredible from front to back; but if one had to choose "Just What I Needed" is a perfect example of teenage love that evades the obvious trappings of having written such a song.
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Nice review suffer

Keep it up!

Great debut - beautiful album by a fantastic band with an exciting signature sound that has stood the test of time

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Old 05-13-2020, 12:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you all
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Old 01-24-2024, 03:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Bassist Ben Orr sang
Just What I Needed
Bye Bye Love
Moving In Stereo
All Mixed Up

On that album alone in addition to many tracks/hits from The Cars' other records.
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Old 01-27-2024, 07:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The Cars first album rocks!

Welcome chillybilly!!
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Old 06-19-2024, 11:59 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I saw The Cars at a festival in '79 at Legend Valley outside of Columbus, Ohio. The line-up was Roadmaster, Eddie Money, Cheap Trick, The Cars, Todd Rundgren's Utopia. It was 90f plus and no shade to be found. Great memory.

I saw Elliott Easton perform with Nick Lowe in '82 at The Cleveland Agora. There was a snow storm and The Cars could not get their gear to The Coliseum that was just outside of Cleveland. Nick Lowe (the scheduled opener) played an impromptu show at The Agora and Elliott Easton was on stage for nearly the entire set. Also in the band was Paul Carrack formerly of Ace (How Long) and Squeeze. An outstanding show in front of a sparse gathering.

I think The Cars first album has aged extremely well; much better than most of their contemporaries that tried straddling classic rock and new wave.
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