The Cars/The Cars

Don’t laugh but the Cars are the grandparents to Weezer!  Yup and when Weezer dropped there debut album(Blue Album) in 1994 who was the producer? Ric Ocasek the gangly tall geeked out sunglass wearing lead singer/main songwriter of The Cars! Hmmmm maybe DeKEs hasn’t totaly lost his marbles….

Also the Cars debut album is 35 minutes of Quirkiness as was the 37 minute debut from Weezer!

Speaking of Weezer heres my review of the Ocasek produced album..https://superdekes.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/sonic-waves-weezerweezer/

Your Honor! I rest my case…..

The Cars were one of those bands that i didn’t champion back in the day out loud as Gene and Paul would have revoked my Kiss Army membership quicker than you can say ‘The Elder!’

But from a distant as a young lad in my Highschool Daze of the early to mid 80s The Cars had a real good run of hits and they were catchy songs,well crafted with hooks galore and a sound of there own!

Than by 1988 whoossssh they were gone and a few years later pops up a Greatest Hits set and it had all the hits from there 6 studio albums. For the longest time this is all I Just Needed!(cheap pun).

Now if you know my deal I hate Greatest Hits packages I never bothered with them (for the most part)until Kiss(surprise,surprise) suckered me in 1988 with Smashes,Thrashes and Hits that included 2 new songs(Let’s Put The X In Sex and You Make Me Rock Hard) that were just plain dumbo rock, bad Synthy sounds and just goofy lyrics that were just brutal! I was fooled ..ha! $immons and $tanley still loved me though…..

Actually come to think of it Kiss with Double Platinum back in 1978 was THE first Greatest Hits album I ever bought! What a scam job hahaha..they totally duped this 11 year old at the time with a double set of songs that i already owned but did include Strutter 78 which was no different to Strutter 74 from the debut album(maybe it was,maybe it wasn’t )….Geezus Stanley and Simmons …ha ….but the whole silver packaging of Double Platinum  was impressive to say the least! Lol!

Of course that became the norm for all artists put out 11 of your Greatest Hits songs and toss on the end of your Hits album  a couple of leftover pieces of  junk so that DeKEs will take notice and buy….yeah I can admit it i was  hosed by this move more than a few times…….

The Cars for me it worked in reverse as  I mentioned I had there Greatest Hits but over the years I have collected 5 of there 6  albums and there are some good songs that I’m gonna talk about so over time I will slowly tackle The Cars body of work so today lets chat about the self titled debut released in 1978(produced by Roy Thomas Baker,he of Queen Fame!)  a band from Boston calling themselves The Cars….

Ric Ocasek,David Robinson,Elliot Easton,Benjamin Orr(RIP) and Greg Hawkes…..Hey it can’t be Metal……all the time!….well most of the time !

GOOD TIMES ROLL-Let the Good Times Roll oh! And so it begins which is a triple header of hits on the debut album and how about the album Covers of The Cars especially this one and Candy Oh! Wowzers and it worked man…sex sells but you need good tunes also and The Cars do that! Good Times Roll is a slick rock track! Big sound,new wavey in spots with the synth mixed with rock guitar but current for the times and even to this day. Ric and these cats are here to stay!

MY BEST FRIENDS GIRL-some neat picking on the guitar from Easton and he laid down some good guitar work! Simple yet effective! Ocasek throws down that geek guy lead vocal that in the basis of this band works fine actually Grandpa Weeezer had a knack for writing real good short tunes to keep my attention span from wandering back to MetalVille! Like i said earlier I love Eastons playing after Ric sings the line ‘used to mine’. Simple yet so effective I’ll be humming it all day!

JUST WHAT I  NEEDED-Umm who has not heard this track? For me the first time I heard it it was simple yet so hooky! That guitar riff from Elliot Easton is sooooo good! I also had no idea it was the bass player Benjamin Orr who sang lead on this tune until many years later but whooo cares! The opening few bars hook you in as a listener! “I don’t mind you coming here and wasting my time!” Cool use of the synth from Greg Hawkes and yeah I have a ton of issues on how some bands use there keyboards(Hello Journey) but for The Cars no issues! Ha! This is one of the best Cars songs ever!

I’M IN TOUCH WITH YOUR WORLD-so what do you do when your first three songs on your debut album push the album into the million plus sold club? Well you have to keep going artistically! This song is not single material! It’s almost like a psychedelic  Acid Cars trip off a cliff with the use of sax,synth and the song is held together by Eastons playing. Different vibe with this tune,not one of my favs and to be honest more of a skip to the next track kinda deal!

DON’T CHA STOP-some more great guitaring from Easton and like so many tracks on this album his guitar work drives the tunes! Don’t Cha Stop picks up pace after the drop in the previous tune.

YOUR ALL I GOT TONIGHT-Yup Easton shines on this one as well! He weaves up and down the fret board in a New Wavy kind of deal! Ocasek and the boys try to perhaps tell us they have deeper tracks on there debut album but man it’s just hard to top those first three songs! Try they may and I’m sure they knew they had some songs that we’re gonna go big but not mega even still in 2015! Folks these are the songs that are on the debut that no one ever notices ….shit I guess that must suck,but you deal with it when your bank account gets stuffed with cash….wish I had that problem!

BYE BYE LOVE-next to the 3 big singles this is the next best track! Orr steps up for the lead vocal on the last three songs! This tune ramps up especially in the chrous with Easton flinging some power chords and Hawkes goes all wackle doodle on the keys in the solo section and Orr had a real good rock voice which The Cars realized they had! Check out the vid!

MOVING IN STEREO-chunks of Hawkes keys mashed up Eastons guitar form the basis of this tune! It’s a New Wavers delight! Hawkes synth sounds meshed with Robinsons kinda sounding like electronic drums pave the wave for this tune as Orr once again is lead vocalist! On the debut it’s almost a 50/50 split in the lead vocalist dept between Orr and Ocasek! One vocalist sounds like a nerd looking for cool!(Ocasek) the other vocalist sounding more Rock cool!(Orr)

ALL MIXED UP-Big Queen like backing vocals are on tap for this song and well when you have Queens producer Roy Thomas manning the recording console of course some influence is gonna creep up! Orr almost sounds Bowie like on this tune. Poppy tune big atmospheric sound they were I think trying to get at and I mean The Cars here definitely found there own niche…

IN CONCLUSION-I’m sure most the Arena Rock Readers will just say ‘ just gonna stick with The Greatest Hits Deke!” Fair enough but i gotta do fair journalism reporting here friends! Ha! Seriously though no one ever talks about the other 6 songs on this album as the first three songs are staples on the Classic  Rock Circuit! So it’s been cool to talk about them and a few of them to be totally honest are a tuff slug to get through them sonically but what the hell! Some one has too!

For these Cars reviews( gonna pop up occasionally) I’m gonna post of course a song we all know with one that is not so known as that seems to be the deal with The Cars albums (all of Em!)

Having said that those first three tunes The Cars could have just released a 3 song EP back than and that would have still sold a ton …

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22 thoughts on “The Cars/The Cars”

  1. It’s often the case that a Hits package can be good (and in the Cars’ case, it’s GREAT. What a list of songs!) but that means that many solid album tracks get overlooked. Good on you for shining a light on all the rest! Cool write-up Deke.

    I never thought of the Cars as Weezer’s grandparents, but now you mention it, it totally makes sense. Good call.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Aaron yeah it was fun digging around in the debut and to bring it some kudos here at Arena Rock…..Weezers Grandparents ha it’s funny how when I came up with it it kinda spurred me on to finish it …

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  2. Without the Cars there would be no Weezer! I don’t think Weezer was ever as good as the Cars but the connections are there like strands of DNA.

    Google Ocasek and see how many different artists he produced. Bad Brains! Even No Doubt, which sounds a lot more Cars influenced than Bad Brains!

    I’m happy with my Anthology though Meat thinks I need more Cars.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ha I know you mentioned I think at your site Mikey that you had the Anthonolgy and that you were good with it…..I had your quote ringing around in my noggin as I typed…ha!

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      1. It’s a winner, aint it? Definitely my favourite. That and Heartbeat City are the two I hit an awfy lot. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on them all!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a great review. I have said to LeBrain many times that I think this might be the greatest debut album of all time. The argument is there. Half the album is played fairly regularly on FM radio to this day.

    I like the track by track breakdown … It is hard for me to pick a favorite track on this album. It kinda switches like the weather. With a gun to my head right now? It would probably the Just What I Needed. The keyboard lick between the verse and Chorus gets inside you.

    Fun read

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    1. I am pretty sure also that the first Greatest Hits album i had was Double Platinum. Got it on vinyl at an old place in Kitchener that is very near where LeBrain resides presently called Hi-Way Market. Took the escalator to the second album and my Grandma bought it for me. All excited about a new version of Strutter .. Oh that Kiss marketing

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    2. Thanks man….Mikey has mentioned before that you have told him Theres more to the Cars than just the Greatest Hits Deal….maybe we should him tell it’s Savatage…! Ha!

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