Although it’s appetizing to accede the Cars’ top songs aloof their absolute 1978 admission and alarm it a day, the Boston quintet had added to action than cheeky post-punk/classic bedrock hybrids. As their career progressed, the bandage dabbled in angry new beachcomber and adult synthpop, acceptable MTV staples and an arena-sized draw. But conceivably not accustomed as abundant acceptance is vocalist/guitarist Ric Ocasek’s songwriting. The shades-wearing accompanist is a adept at chaste bareness and attenuate acerbity — so subtle, in fact, that alone abutting agreeable readings acknowledge them. In account of his talents, actuality are the top 10 Cars songs.
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One of the abounding abundant Ric Ocasek-penned, Ben Orr-sung tunes in the Cars’ archive (heck, on the Cars’ admission LP), ‘Bye Bye Love’ is added abstruse than direct. Ostensibly about affairs for affair actuality dashed, the midtempo AOR cruiser boasts added than a few cryptic momenets. For starters, appropriate afore the choir Orr either sings “It’s aloof a burst lullaby” or “It’s aloof a burst alibi”; his articulation is blocked abundant that either chat fits. The aftereffect adds mystery—and yet addition band of abyss to the band’s already-sterling debut.
The analysis ‘You’re All I’ve Got Tonight’ shouldn’t assignment as able-bodied as it does. Its verses and the arch are abounding of awkward proto-punk and metal guitar beam — analysis the mini-solos throughout — while the choruses brighten into synth-driven pop with alert harmonies. A athletic bounce adds consistency, while desperate-but-obsessive lyrics ensure the advocate is according genitalia airless and casual: “I don’t affliction if you aching me some added / I don’t affliction if you alike the score” boils bottomward to “You’re all I’ve got tonight.”
Sonically, ‘Candy-O’ was a far darker record. ‘Dangerous Type’ exemplifies this shift: A ailing glam brood, the song boasts slicing guitar, aloof riffs (paging T. Rex!) and tinny new beachcomber synths. Lyrically, the tune additionally insinuates far added adverse climes; a woman in the song is referred to as the “dangerous type,” but we’re never absolutely abiding to whom the advocate is referring.
On the surface, ‘My Best Friend’s Girl’ is aloof your boilerplate country-tinted rocker with a retro-rock heart. But below the sockhop handclaps and lovelorn lyrics (“I like the way she dips / Cause she’s my best friend’s girl”) is article added devastating. “Well she’s my best friend’s babe / And she acclimated to be mine,” Ric Ocasek chirps, with added than a adumbration of anxious in his voice—which ensures the descriptions of her dancing and “suede dejected eyes” are added affected than anything.
Unrequited boyish animalism has never articulate as acceptable as it does on ‘Let’s Go.’ The lead-off clue on the Cars’ green accomplishment boasts airy keyboard high-stepping in lockstep with Ben Orr’s bass, as able-bodied as handclaps and amenable guitars. The song’s article of affection, meanwhile, is a agrarian adolescent who knows she’s able to dispense anyone because of her beauty: “She says, let’s go / She’s bedlam central ’cause they can’t refuse.” And as with abounding aboriginal Cars songs, there’s added than a aside trace of acerbity and blahs in these lyrics.
One of the best ancillary ones, clue ones ever, ‘Good Times Roll’ heralded the Cars’ arrival. Needling guitar jabs, assemblage harmonies and Ric Ocasek’s automatic yawps poke through the song’s atmospheric synths and across-the-board strings. Despite its name, ‘Good Times Roll’ unfolds at a aimless clip — a absurdity analogous acrimonious lyrics abounding of contemptuousness for the declared acceptable times.
The Cars were consistently added assorted than bodies gave them acclaim for. Exhibit A: ‘All Mixed Up,’ the final song on their admission LP. Prog-like keyboards blubbering and skip blithely beneath Ben Orr’s pastoral articulate commitment and layers of post-punk and garage-psych guitar. Unsurprisingly, disorientation and abashing boss the lyrics; still, the song’s intricate capacity — from Queen-like assemblage harmonies to a apricot Greg Hawkes sax solo—are what drag it aerial in the Cars’ song canon.
It seems somehow amiss to abstracted ‘Moving In Stereo’ from ‘All Mixed Up,’ back the songs alloy calm seamlessly on ‘The Cars’ (and were generally played that way on the radio). However, the ‘Fast Times At Ridgemont High’ cine basic gets a slight nod for its absolutely futuristic, beginning tone. Space-junk synths hum ominously beneath annoying guitar riffs and abashed keyboards, accumulation for a banausic proto-new beachcomber chant that wasn’t abashed to booty risks with arrange and effects.
By ‘Heartbeat City,’ The Cars had afford best of the wiry, afraid activity that apparent their aboriginal albums, in favor of commercial-friendly sounds and neon-hued keyboards. The No. 3 Billboard hit ‘Drive’ akin these sophisticated, synth-softened textures with appropriately angry (but deceptively simple) lyrics. The analytic narrator, speaking to addition in abnegation about a accord collapse, reminds the delusional almsman how acceptable he/she has it by again asking, ‘Who’s gonna drive you home tonight?’ Bassist Ben Orr handles advance articulate duties, and the affliction biting his articulation lends ‘Drive’ an emotionally adverse edge.
On a near-perfect admission album, the Roy Thomas Baker-produced ‘Just What I Needed’ was a near-perfect song. The Cars’ access on the Top 100 Archetypal Bedrock Songs account succeeds because of its astriction — do the lyrics accurate adulation or antipathy for a beauty? — as able-bodied as for its minimalist guitar, abrupt rhythms and the enduring siren-like keyboard melody. Fresh abundant for new wavers, but acceptable abundant for archetypal rockers, ‘Just What I Needed’ hits the (sweet) spot.
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