Reliving 7 Songs From The Cars
The Cars at Live Aid, 1985 - Live Aid / Youtube
Though rock music from Boston was hardly any news, a band emerged in the 70’s to showcase their own brand of rock to the masses. The Cars brought with them the new wave sound that hired a blend of synth pop into the mix. Even longtime music critic Robert Palmer took notice of the band’s bizarre yet popular style, saying “they have taken some important but disparate contemporary trends—punk minimalism, the labyrinthine synthesizer and guitar textures of art rock, the ’50s rockabilly revival and the melodious terseness of power pop—and mixed them into a personal and appealing blend.” With that said, here are the best songs from the new wave icons.
“Let’s Go” – Candy-O (1979)
Ah, the joys of youth. “Let’s Go” is a feel-good arrangement that perfectly carries teenage hormonal rage in its progressions, laying the foundation for that bittersweet unrequited romance. The song’s main character fawns over someone who manipulates interest with her wily charms, intensifying the pangs of regret evoked by the track.
“My Best Friend’s Girl” – The Cars (1978)
Ric Ocasek masterfully pulls an emotive lyric with the country-inspired rock track in “My Best Friend’s Girl”, but not after you’ve gone believing the sweet memories he sings on the track. Trivial matters of the heart for some, but the song hits the nail on the head with its entirety.
“Good Times Roll” – The Cars (1978)
Cementing The Cars’ sound in the industry was made possible with tracks like “Good Times Roll”. That synthwave sound, harmonies, and labyrinthine guitars all contribute to the modern sound of the track. And oh, Ocasek never forgets to add a dab of sarcasm in the lyrics.
“All Mixed Up” – The Cars (1978)
Diversity was one ace up the sleeve of the band, with “All Mixed Up” living up to the title’s reputation with its mixture of progressive, psychedelic, and garage rock influences in the track. This resulted in a guilty pleasure of a confusing melting pot, with highlights like falsetto-driven harmonies and a smooth sax solo in the fray.
“Drive” – Heartbeat City (1984)
The Cars were beginning to realize the formula for success in the industry, and went for a more radio-friendly sound, even if it meant setting aside their weird charm from the earlier years. Contrast is apparent between the arrangement and lyrics, with the indulgently complicated synthesizers highlight simple lyrics of delusion and heartbreak.
“Moving In Stereo” – The Cars (1978)
One of the space age influences in the 70s probably stemmed out from tracks like “Moving In Stereo”, which gives off such vibes with its extra synth mojo and minor chords in the mix. The effect was a successful one, pioneering the new wave sound with a brave and unique composition.
“Just What I Needed” – The Cars (1978)
“Just What I Needed” became a staple for the old and the new, with its arrangement hitting a sweet spot of sorts, chiming a perfect balance between new wave and classic rock. Keeping guitar parts simple yet effective, the track carried that synth hue with a ringing melody that melded perfectly with its high and low points.