the CARS

The Cars The Cars (Elektra) 1978

1.  Good Times Roll (3:45)
2.  My Best Friend's Girl (3:44)
3.  Just What I Needed (3:43)
4.  I'm In Touch With Your World (3:31)
5.  Don't Cha Stop (3:03)
6.  You're All I've Got Tonight (4:14)
7.  Bye Bye Love (4:13)
8.  Moving In Stereo (4:41)
9.  All Mixed Up (4:17)

Before I get any nasty emails from people informing me that "The Cars aren't heavy metal" or "The Cars don't belong on a site called NoLifeTilMetal", let me preface by saying, I know that The Cars aren't heavy metal. They wouldn't even qualify as hard rock. However, they are a classic rock band that I grew up with and still enjoy on occasion. Basically, I like 'em, and that's all that matters for inclusion here. All told, however, The Cars debut was an album that many rockers enjoyed back in the late 70's, even those into heavier bands like Black Sabbath and Van Halen.

"The Cars" was released in 1978 and simply exploded. While they are now generally regarded as a classic rock band, back in 1978 they were usually referred to as a new wave band. Their sound was an infectious mixture of synth-oriented pop and guitar-oriented rock. The combination was mostly unheard of in the late 70's. However, despite the mix of styles, the album was a huge success with several tracks charting and the album selling over a million copies before '78 came to a close. The album continued to chart into 1979 and even ranked #4 on Billboard's Top Pop Albums of 1979, which is odd since the album was released in 1978. In the end, six of the albums nine tracks ended up becoming classic rock radio staples. ("Just What I Needed", "My Best Friend's Girl", "Good Times Roll," "You're All I've Got Tonight," "Bye Bye Love" and "Moving in Stereo") If The Cars debut was released as a greatest hits collection, no one would have been the wiser. Singer and guitarist Ric Ocasek was musical mastermind behind the band. He composed all but one of the songs on their debut. “Moving in Stereo” was co-written by Ocasek and Greg Hawkes. All-in-all, The Cars is generally held as a timeless classic and I wouldn't disagree.

Candy-O The Cars - Candy-O (Elektra) 1979

1.  Let's Go (3:32)
2.  Since I Held You (3:16)
3.  It's All I Can Do (3:46)
4.  Double Life (4:11)
5.  Shoo Be Doo (1:41)
6.  Candy-O (2:37)
7.  Night Spots (3:14)
8.  You Can't Hold on Too Long (2:47)
9.  Lust for Kicks (3:52)
10. Got a Lot on My Head (2:59)
11. Dangerous Type (4:30)

There was no sophomore slump for The Cars. The band's follow-up to their mega-successful debut is mostly on par. The album was produced by Roy Thomas Baker, renowned for his work with Queen. However, there are few, if any, similarities to the work he did with the Queen other than some of the studio experimentation. The album produced two hit singles in album opener "Let's Go" and the melodic "All I Can Do". Both songs can still be heard on classic rock radio stations decades later. However, any fan of classic rock knows that the real standout cuts here are "Shoo Be Doo" and "Candy-O." The two songs work together with the short, experimental "Shoo Be Doo" transitioning into the guitar driven "Candy-O". The title track is about as close to hard rock as The Cars would get. All these songs were packed onto side one of the vinyl, an album I am sure I wore the grooves off of back in '79.

Side two is a little more foreign to me, though not really lacking in substance. I suppose I just played side one a whole lot more than side two back in the vinyl age. Side two features a few standout tracks including "Night Spots", a bouncy new-wave rocker with a short guitar solo. Album closer "Dangerous Type" should have been the a hit for the band as well. The song is a mostly guitar-driven, power-pop song with a hooky chorus and a short, powerful guitar solo. It is the standout cut on side two of the album and an excellent closer.

"Candy-O" features a very sexy album cover as well, though it loses a little on the smaller CD format. The album cover was painted by artist Alberto Vargas, known for his paintings of pin-up girls that appeared in magazines like Esquire and Playboy in the 1940s and 50s.

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