My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: The Cars is the debut album by the Boston band of the same name. Recorded and released in 1978, it would go on to be a huge success selling over six million copies.
What I think: The Cars are a band that are in my blood, my mom has always been a huge fan of theirs and so they have always been on my radar as well as a group I really liked. I broke out on my own with a greatest hits collection I picked up used in about 1995 or 1996 after Ric Ocasek produced the first Weezer album and the offshoot band Then Rentals put out a lo-fi keyboard driven classic. My interest in keyboard and Moog heavy rock piqued then and I dove in deep.
I picked up this album on vinyl for dirt cheap from a thrift store shortly after (nobody wanted vinyl then, it was certainly a benefit have a record player at that time). Throughout those twenty years they have stayed in regular rotation for me.
This album is a bit of an anomaly for me though. It’s perfect, but it’s almost too perfect it that most of the songs have been played regularly on the radio over the years. It makes it feel like a greatest hits album. So, when I want my The Cars fix, I usually go for something else (usually Candy-O, which is one of my top ten albums of all time… it finds a way to be even more perfect than this by being a bit more eccentric and strange). That’s really a shame, because this album deserves more love than that. It’s hard to pick a favorite song… “Good Times Roll”, “My Best Friend’s Girl”, “Just What I Needed”, “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” or “Bye Bye Love”? Good luck with that choice, they are all amazing pieces of quirky lyrics, new wave keyboard with slightly buried guitar driven rock and cool ass drumming (sorry Mr. Orr, your bass just doesn’t stick out to me in the recordings).
If forced to make a choice of a favorite, I think I have to go with “My Best Friend’s Girl”. It’s like the blue print of the perfect song. Hand claps… check. Jumpy keyboard… check. Super cool guitar riff… check. Put together in a way that isn’t syrupy and sickening… check. It’s a new wave version of a Buddy Holly song.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? Certainly, where so many new wave bands where one hit wonders, these guy started with a masterpiece and kept it going for ten years.
Rating (Out of 5): 5/5
Is this my first time hearing this album? No (101/428)
Amount that are new to me: 76%