The Cars
The Cars



by Hep Kat USER (124 Reviews)
May 31st, 2006 | 122 replies

Release Date: 1978 | Tracklist

The Cars- Number 282 on Rolling Stones’ 500 Greatest Albums of All Time

The Cars are one of those timeless American rock bands. If by timeless you mean similar to a lot of other bands out there. As a product of the “New Wave” movement of the 1970s, the Cars were just another pin in the proverbial cushion that is rock music. Just another band from Boston. Their fun brand of music spanning guitar-oriented rock and synthesizer-oriented pop has dominated the sounds of the airwaves for decades. If by airwaves you mean Circuit City commercials. In all seriousness, though, The Cars are a fun, albeit overrated band. You can basically sum them up with their 1978 debut album, simply titled The Cars.

The Elektra Records of the 70s was hardly known for its production values. This is highly evidenced on this album: instruments are muddy, vocals are inaudible, etc. However, that just contributes to the overall appeal of The Cars. It is, after all, a classic rock album. Aside from the production itself, the album on the whole is relatively solid. Catchy songs, with fun lyrics and simple instrumentation make The Cars an easy listen.

“Good Times Roll” is the perfect intro for an album. Slow, steady, and full of laidback attitude, it’s easy to see why “Good Times” has become an iconic 70s rock song. Everything from the melody to the chorus of Good time roll! make this one of the better songs on the album. A great way to warm you up? I think yes. “My Best Friend’s Girl” continues to roll with the vibe that “Good Times” started (nice word choice, eh?). Unfortunately, this little ditty about a lovesick guy wishing his former lady friend hadn’t left him for his pal is a little boring. It accents a common pitfall of the Cars’ debut album: dull repetition. This album is needs a kick in its ass. I mean, so what if the songs are good, if they put the listener to sleep? “Just What I Needed” is exactly what The Cars needed. Whenever I hear this song, I can’t help but smile. It’s just so perfect. It’s musically simple, yet oh so effective. It’s louder, more rebellious guitar sounds wake you up and make you think “Oh, so this is what all the fuss was about.” ‘Just What I Needed” is The Cars’ greatest triumph, and is the strongest point of their debut album by far.

Unfortunately, “I’m in Touch With Your World” is something of a retread. It brings back the boring mood of this album. The song is just too slow, especially so considering the fact that it follows “Just What I Needed.” I moderately impressive guitar solo and some curious new synth effects can’t save this one from being a snooze-fest. “Don’t Cha Stop” picks things up again. As we reach the midway point of the album, things have become something of a mixture between boring and annoying. “Don’t Cha Stop” is the latter of those two. While it’s certainly more upbeat than the previous song, the annoying vocals and chorus, coupled with the childish sound effects drag it down. “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” starts off strong, with a nice, reverberating guitar riff. The song pans out into a gritty melody with some of the best synthesizing on the album. “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” is a much stronger song, and a welcoming savior to The Cars’ air of repetition.

“Bye Bye Love” is another one of the gems from this album. Powerful music syncs excellently with the great lyrics. “Bye Bye Love” is the second best song on the album, following closely behind “Just What I Needed.” “Moving In Stereo” is a slow, ballad-like song. It’s one of those soft songs that embodies the late 70s/early 80s vibe of pop music. It’s not a very enjoyable song to listen to, but it’s well-structured, and impressively arranged. Now, the final question: Will The Cars end their debut album one a elating, uplifting note? Or will it be another doleful, monotonous drag? Thankfully enough, the former is true. “All Mixed Up,” while apathetic, is a great album ender. The lyrics, a wail of Leave it to me/everything will be all right, along with a kickass saxophone solo. “All Mixed Up” is simply the perfect way The Cars could have ended.

So, what do we have here? The Cars. Just another band from Boston. While their music was never terribly innovative, it can be quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, it can also be quite dull. In the end, though, The Cars’ debut album’s strong points outweigh it’s bad points. It’s nothing special, but it’s not bad either. Worth a listen? Sure. Worth money? Sure (but not too much). The Cars should probably just be experienced because of their legacy: commercials for all the fine department stores in your area. Hell, if that doesn’t scream “must hear” rock ‘n’ roll to you, then you must not know what you’re missing.

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user ratings (454)

Comments:Add a Comment 
May 31st 2006


Despicably catchy. I can't help but like this group.

May 31st 2006


True. There are a few occasions where the vocals just piss me off. Pretty good job by the way.This Message Edited On 05.31.06

May 31st 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review, Hep. I like this record quite a lot. I think most of the songs are ace and at the time nothing on radio was quite like it. This is pop-rock at it's finest, IMO. And one of those albums that helped to get the ball rolling for mainstream America to take on new music. I don't think this is dull at all. In Touch With Your World, meh. But I find the other tracks very enjoyable and consistent.

May 31st 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Well written review. I think I liked it more than you did though, I see it as one of the better pop/rock albums of the late 70s.

May 31st 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

fantastic melodies and the double meanings in some of the lyrics are hilarious. brendan benson of the raconteurs recently said he was heavily innfluenced by the carsThis Message Edited On 05.31.06

May 31st 2006


most of the tracks are really strong, at least the ones i've heard anyways. i'm not so sure about the other tracks, but i do know they did their sound before any other band i know of. the whole pop-new wave-rock sound i heard first from the cars.

May 31st 2006


You're all I've got Tonight!

I love that song, but haven't listened to the rest of the album.

May 31st 2006


I've heard six out of the nine songs off of this album and I refuse to ever listen to them again because they will get stuck in my head forever. Great job on the review but I disagree with this comment
[quote=review]The Cars. Just another band from Boston.[/quote]

June 1st 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

Haha nice review. I found it very fun.

This album, despite being insanely catchy, gets insanely boring if I over-listen to it. Stop blending together, Cars songs. This Message Edited On 06.01.06

June 1st 2006


What morrissey and Iai said. Very catchy but rather limited in terms of replay value.

December 9th 2006


I really like My Best Friends Girl. I never knew but I have known how to play that song since like a week after I started playing guitar. It was one of the songs I knew but didn't know who it was by and don't ever remember hearing it. I only remembered it when I saw Nirvana cover it on their last concert.

December 9th 2006


Nirvana covers were my first exposure to the Cars also. I recently stole this off my dad's i pod.

November 7th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

Honestly I feel that this review doesn't give enough credit to the Cars. They were one of the first bands that to include the pop synth orientation. They also were unique in that they split the vocals almost 50 50 and that certain songs used different singers according to what the song was meant to signify. I realize this is a little late as the last comment before jethro was in 06 but I don't think you give enough credit and it kind of hurts me.

July 20th 2009


Album Rating: 4.5

I totally agree with Ghearufu!

February 1st 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

why does this only have a 3 review? This is one of the best pop-rock albums of all time. Guess I know what I'll be adding to my review list.

November 5th 2010


Album Rating: 5.0

This has been a favorite of mine since I was 13 years old. So many good songs on here, not a single bad track either. Good Times Roll, Don't Cha Stop, Moving in Stereo, plus all the hits. I am disappointed by this review.

November 5th 2010


Album Rating: 5.0

rules hard

January 21st 2012


Album Rating: 5.0

goddamn this record is awesome

April 22nd 2012


Album Rating: 3.0

I bought this album as Rock Band dlc and it sounds fantastic, I'll pick it up for real sometime soon and see if there is any difference but that second paragraph made me look to see if I typed the band in wrong.

April 22nd 2012


album rules

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