Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Life's The Same, Except For My Shoes

Today, we take a brief look at the eponymous debut of The Cars. I totally and completely love this album. There, I said it. And I meant it. The Cars were a breath of fresh air to this child of the late-'70s/early-'80s, especially given my sheltered Midwestern upbringing in which I completely missed the whole punk movement. Hell, I didn't really "discover" punk until high school in the mid-'80s, and didn't really get it until I went away to college in 1988. So, for this classic-rock-is-in-my-DNA boy, The Cars were as off the beaten path as I got at the time. And, by Heartbeat City, they'd lost me for good--too damned pop.

But, man, this debut album is killer!

All songs written by Ric Ocasek except where noted.

Side One
"Good Times Roll"
My Best Friend's Girl"
Just What I Needed"
"I'm in Touch With Your World"
"Don't Cha Stop"
Side Two

"You're All I've Got Tonight"
"Bye Bye Love"
Moving in Stereo" (Greg Hawkes, Ocasek)
"All Mixed Up"

Quick review: If you absolutely NEED to trim anything, drop "I'm in Touch With Your World" and "Don't Cha Stop". I'm not recommending that per se. But, if I had to, I could live without them. The rest are stone-cold-classics...e-fucking-ssential! The hard-edged rock of "Bye Bye Love" leading directly into the spacey "Moving in Stereo"* followed directly by the the desperate longing of "All Mixed Up" is such a wonderful way to end an album it almost defies description.

[ * Yes, the song that plays in Fast Times at Ridgemont High when Phoebe Cates reveals her greatest assets, via "Brad" and his innermost poolside bathroom fantasies. ]

"Good Times Roll", "My Best Friend's Girl", "Just What I Needed", and "You're All I've Got Tonight", are those really all on one album?! And, it's not even a greatest hits album?!! Amazing, isn't it? Actually, only the first three of those were released as singles. I was surprised to learn that "You're All I've Got Tonight" was not. As many times as I've heard that on the radio, I would've thought it was the biggest hit of all of them.

The long ago marginalized (in my mind, at least) Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums lists it as #282...if anyone still cares.



Blogger Rob said...

Are you telling us that you got new shoes?

12:10 AM, January 16, 2008  
Blogger Keith Kennedy said...

This was the only Cars album that I liked but it was a breathe of fresh air when it came out.

Fell into a middle category somehow.

The classic rockers didn't like that "new shit".

The punksters didn't like the synthesizers.

The popsters didn't like anything that was worth a damn.

The new wavers thought this was bubblegum.

But somehow, it just worked and even though I would have never left the cassette in plain sight in my car, it was in the glove box.

9:38 AM, January 16, 2008  
Blogger haahnster said...

Rob: No, it's just a quirky little line from "Moving in Stereo" that always caught my ear, but which I never really stopped to ponder. It seems on the surface to be a laughable attempt to be "deep"...but perhaps I'm not looking at it properly. Great song, either way.

KK: VERY well put! I agree completely.

11:17 AM, January 16, 2008  

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