Talkin' 'Bout My G-Generation - Chapter 2

Welcome to the second instalment of my blog series, in which I discuss musicians and bands who seem to have slipped through the cracks and been forgotten by my generation.

The Cars are an American rock band who have released seven albums. Their fusion of '70s rock and '80s synthpop, combined with straightforward, often biting lyrics, gave them a distinct sound and establised them as one of the most important new wave groups. Here's the band:
  • Ric Ocasek (songwriter, lead vocals, rhythm guitar)
  • Benjamin Orr (lead vocals, bass guitar)
  • Elliot Easton (lead guitar, backing vocals)
  • Greg Hawkes (keyboards, percussion, saxophone, backing vocals)
  • David Robinson (drums, percussion, backing vocals)
Their first two albums, The Cars and Candy-O, were successful. Both stuck to the same new wave formula, and by the end of the '70s, The Cars were established as one of North America's most prominent rock bands. However, the group began heading in an experimental direction on 1980's Panorama. The album was a commercial and critical failure and produced only one low-charting single. Its follow-up, Shake It Up, did much better commercially, although critics weren't pleased with the group's poppy sound.

Following those two lacklustre albums, the individual Cars took time off to work on solo projects. They didn't stay away long, however. In 1984, the band was back and at the top of their game. Heartbeat City was The Cars' most successful album, and, coupled with their performance at Live Aid, it propelled them to superstardom.

They only released one more album. 1987's Door to Door was, quite frankly, awful. The Cars broke up in 1988.

Ric Ocasek emphatically denied any possibility of a reunion, and Benjamin Orr's death in 2000 seemed to cement that. But in 2010, the surviving members got back together and recorded a new album, Move Like This, which was released in 2011.

Before you listen to these samples, please note that each song sounds rather different--if you don't like one, please don't give up on the others.

From their second album, 1979's Candy-O, here's "Let's Go". What a fantastic piece of cover art!

Panorama is a sketchy album, but "Touch and Go" is one of their best songs. Notice that the rhythm track is playing in 5/4, while the rest of the band is playing in 4/4.

1981's Shake It Up spawned the group's first top ten single--the title track peaked at #4 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Heartbeat City is a phenomenal album--possibly my favourite of the '80s. It contains their biggest hit, "Drive".

Users of TheTopTens are probably familiar with another Heartbeat City track, "You Might Think", thanks to Weezer's cover, which was rather appropriately featured in the Pixar movie Cars 2.

As for an album, it's hard to argue with The Cars' 1978 debut. Every track feels like a single. Here's The Cars.



I love " Just What I Needed". - Pony

Did you already know it, or discover it through my post? Either way, I'm happy you appreciate The Cars' genius. - PetSounds

Pretty good, just recently added them on my Spotify playlist when stumbling across this. - visitor

They sound good - bobbythebrony

Nice. - ProPanda