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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The Cars

The Cars

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve wanted to do a retro review of this album for a long time. I finally got this chance this time around. One could argue that this album was one of the biggest influences on the whole New Wave sound of anything out there. Surely the Cars became huge, and that trend started with this. I like this album and the second one better than the rest of their catalog. They had a tendency to get a bit watered down after those two releases. There is really not a weak song here, but the second side of the old LP (starting with “You're All I've Got Tonight”) is the stronger half. Part of that comes from the fact that all those songs flow into one another. If you’ve never heard this whole album, give it a try. If you haven’t heard it in a while, it’s definitely worth a revisit. Sure, it’s got a lot of singles you’ll know, but there is more to it than that, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review
Good Times Roll

The crunchy guitar brings a punk rock edge. The slow pace brings something different to the table. The keyboards have a sound a bit like Gary Numan. Yet the vocals land it closer to pop music. This song was the opening recorded shot from this band and really captured much of the recipe for their sound.

My Best Friend's Girl
The arrangement on this is a bit more stripped back. It still feels similar to the opener, but has a bit more of an old-time rock and roll sound.
Just What I Needed
On the one hand, this has a harder edge. The keyboards on the choruses bring something more like the sound they had on the opener. This is one of the strongest cuts of the disc, in my opinion.
I'm in Touch with Your World
This is a slower cut with a lot of cool weirdness built into it. I suppose you could compare it to The Talking Heads in some ways. It’s one of the most creative pieces here. It’s also very cool. There is definitely a good range from the mellower stuff to the hard edged guitar soloing and little bits of keyboard fancy here and there. There is even some saxophone.
Don't Cha Stop
Bouncy and hard rocking, this is a change. It’s a lot of fun, really. There is a punk rock edge, but overall this is more mainstream pop rock.
You're All I've Got Tonight
This killer rocker is one of my favorites of the set. It has it all – crunchy rock, great keyboards and a catchy vocal arrangement. This is exactly the kind of thing that made the Cars so great. This has some of the meatiest guitar soloing of the whole album, too.
Bye Bye Love
This song feels like it belongs next to the one that preceded it, really. It’s more of the kind of sound we heard on the opening song of the disc, though. It’s also one of the highlights of the set for sure.
Moving in Stereo
Coming right out of the previous tune, this is possibly my favorite song ever from The Cars. Even if nothing here was any good (and honestly, it’s all exceptional), this album would be worth having for this piece. It’s a mid-paced jam with some great keyboard textures. It’s a bit on the trippy, space rock side. Yet, it’s so catchy. I just love the tones and moods on this piece. It really builds so well as it moves ever forward. The extended instrumental section is almost progressive rock oriented, but even has a bit of a disco rhythm section late.
All Mixed Up
This number also comes out of the piece before. It’s mellower and a bit strange in some ways. It has a cool vocal performance, though, and the powered up sections have some tasty guitar work. Also I like a lot of the keyboard sounds. This is arguably the weakest cut here. Considering how strong it is, that says a lot about this album as a whole. It’s a dynamic cut with some great changes.
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