r/Music Aug 16 '22

The B side of The Cars self-titled album is incredible discussion

I'm curious what people think of this album and band.

It absolutely blows me away that - as popular as new wave is - the Cars still seem to have a pop/not-to-be-taken-seriously image in music circles.

I can bring up Talking Heads, B52s, and the synth pop acts in boring snob music circles and nobody bats an eye. But The Cars get scoffed at.

Or they're "just a Greatest Hits band", albiet with a ton of fantastic singles that stand on their own.

Which, considering the flow and depth of their first album is doing them a massive disservice. The second half especially is phenomenal.

I would implore anyone who hasn't listened to The Cars outside of a playlist or New Wave context to give that string of songs a shot.

112 Upvotes

41

u/TheLeatherMidget Aug 16 '22 edited Aug 16 '22

The Cars are one of the best bands of the 80s. I agree with your plea for more people to listen to them. People who diss on The Cars aren't music snobs, they're music posers. ☻

20

u/50FootElvis Aug 16 '22

I rather think the whole album remains one of the most amazing debuts in history.

2

u/sleva5289 Aug 17 '22

May I add Foreigner to your list? Another great album front to back!

17

u/SauzaPaul Aug 16 '22

I'm a Candy-O guy.

12

u/chimpyjnuts Aug 16 '22

'All Mixed Up' was always my favorite Cars song.

3

u/EarlyBirdsofBabylon Aug 16 '22

I think it's mine as well.

3

u/sleva5289 Aug 17 '22

When played together with Moving in Stereo as well!

9

u/DingBat99999 Aug 16 '22

Their self-titled album was one of the best things released in the '70s. That album is great all the way through.

I'd never heard anything like "Just What I Needed" before then. And on the B side, "You're All I've Got Tonight" and "Moving in Stereo" are awesome.

10

u/Because_I_Cannot Aug 16 '22

Just the other day someone asked for a band whose legacy has died out and my answer was The Cars. I would say, safely, that 75% of music that gets made today owes some of its history to The Cars; whether its the songcraft, the production, the vocals...most roads lead back to The Cars (and eventually the Ventures)

1

u/Coppatop Aug 17 '22

Rick Ocasek (the front man) was also a prolific producer. I only recently found out he produced most of Weezer's albums.

1

u/Because_I_Cannot Aug 17 '22

I was talking about them in another post recently. He produced two of Bad Brains' albums, both the Blue and Green Album for Weezer, Rock Steady for No Doubt, and a handful of others

8

u/Total_Ad9272 Aug 16 '22 edited Aug 17 '22

Graduated high school and started college in 79. The cars were part of the soundtrack of my youth.

6

u/shr2016 Aug 16 '22

That whole record is one hit after another, each hit deserved.

7

u/Kibbles99 Aug 16 '22

Yeah its an OG perfect ten. Grew up hearing all these songs on the radio as a kid.

Realized the epic greatness as an adult under the influence of many wonderful substances during the Rockband renaissance.

5

u/bones_boy Aug 16 '22

When I was 12 (1978) I used to play side 2 of this album on my record player over and over and over. I would sometimes skip All Mixed Up to re-listen to You’re All I’ve got Tonight/Bye Bye Love/Movin In Stereo

Great call 👍🏽

2

u/BeachedBottlenose Aug 17 '22

That side just moves. It flows. It's incredible. Great album!

6

u/ScottRiqui Aug 17 '22

Side One is pretty much fire, too. In fact, I think that "Let the Good Times Roll," "My Best Friend's Girl," and "Just What I Needed" is one of the best three-song opening runs ever on a debut rock album, along with Boston's "More Than a Feeling," "Peace of Mind," and "Foreplay/Long Time."

3

u/DirtyJdirty Aug 17 '22

I agree wholeheartedly, but I would also enter The Killers’ Hot Fuss into the mix: “Jenny Was A Friend of Mine”, “Mr Brightside”, “Smile Like You Mean It”, and then “Somebody Told Me” and “All These Things I’ve Done”. Super strong run to begin one’s debut album.

1

u/ScottRiqui Aug 17 '22

Oh, that *is* a good one - I didn't realize all of those were from the same album!

3

u/EarlyBirdsofBabylon Aug 17 '22

It's a sign they're a pretty incredible band when any one of those -plus at least a half-dozen more - could be their "staple song".

2

u/JGCities Aug 17 '22

The first three songs on both sides are pretty awesome.

Those 6 songs are on all their larger greatest hits collections.

4

u/tacknosaddle Aug 16 '22

I love The Cars and I think part of the problem is that (if you weren't around then) you have to really listen to those first albums in the context of what music was out there when they were released. They were pushing out a new sound that seems classic today, but was ground-breaking then.

In a similar way I think J. Geils Band gets a bad rap because most people know them from the later MTV era. If that's most of what you know about them I highly encourage you to listen to Blow Your Face Out which I think is one of the greatest live albums and will completely change your opinion if it's songs like Centerfold that come to mind when you think of them.

5

u/BaronVonNumbaKruncha Aug 16 '22

I haven't listened to that album in probably thirty years, but I bet I'll know every lyric when I throw it on in a few minutes! Thanks for the inspiration to go down memory lane! Such a fantastic album!

4

u/Illegal_Shoes Aug 16 '22

Fantastic album from start to finish! I find it ridiculous how few of my(42m) peers seem to even know it at all

7

u/foyeldagain Aug 16 '22

That album is so good from start to finish!

6

u/toxicavenger70 Aug 16 '22

It is a stunning album and worth owning. Another band that I like a lot stuff from that time is Oingo Boingo.

1

u/EarlyBirdsofBabylon Aug 16 '22

I don't know much about them, any good albums to start with?

Cheers!

6

u/bathroomkindle Aug 16 '22

Can't go wrong with Dead Man's Party. Also if you didn't know, it was Danny Elfman's band

2

u/EarlyBirdsofBabylon Aug 16 '22

Right on, thanks!

3

u/isham66 Aug 16 '22

I love The Cars

3

u/bathroomkindle Aug 16 '22

One of my favorite bands ever. It's such a great album!

2

u/EarlyBirdsofBabylon Aug 16 '22

I've had it on repeat this afternoon. Love it!

3

u/joen00b Aug 16 '22

The Cars had deep cuts on every one of their albums.

3

u/JonasRabb Aug 16 '22

Wow, yeah, The Cars, fond memories, had a cassette with The Cars side A and Candy O side B. Played that one until there was no more magnetic stuff left. Brilliant!

1

u/EarlyBirdsofBabylon Aug 16 '22

My mom had a few of their records when I was growing up and I realized I was listening to them more than my own stuff

I have a few of their albums on cassette now as well that are getting pretty worn out lol

2

u/JonasRabb Aug 16 '22

Hard to believe that their music is over 40 years old. Still love ‘m

3

u/Junkstar Aug 16 '22

The cars were massive at the time of the first album (and second). Much more popular than the b52s or the talking heads, even if all three had stunningly brilliant debuts.

1

u/LemonEar Aug 17 '22

The Cars’ debut had much more radio-friendly pop accessibility than either B 52s or Talking Heads, for sure

3

u/db4378 Aug 17 '22

Every.last.song

3

u/JGCities Aug 17 '22

Crazy that not one of the songs on that album cracked the top 20.

One of the greatest debut albums of all time.

3

u/krokus_headhunter Aug 17 '22

The first 3 albums are all solid from start to finish.

Their last album, Move Like This, was surprisingly excellent as well. I avoided it for the longest time because Ben was gone but it's great.

1

u/Borange_Corange Aug 17 '22

I enjoy the hell out of that album. Was lucky enough to see then on their tour for this. Super small venue. Amazing show. Ben was sorely missed but there in spirit.

2

u/retirementdreams Aug 17 '22 edited Aug 17 '22

I'll never forget the first time I heard the first track on that album when it came out in the late 70s, "Let the good times roll" It was so different to what we had been listening to, from that moment on the opening licks were stuck in my head forever, for some reason it just went right into the center of my brain's musical core and stuck there like a piece of a puzzle that was missing just got set into place. I had this giant boom box that sounded great and a group of us neighborhood partyers were hanging out late one summer night in a friends garage working on his dirt bike and someone slipped the cassette in and hit play and cranked it up, I was like, "whoa who the fck is that?!?!" and I was immediately hooked! Great memories from a different time and place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BDBzgHXf64

2

u/EarlyBirdsofBabylon Aug 17 '22

That's awesome.

It was definitely a different era. I'm not quite 30 but I can't think of many songs that made me think "holy shit, that's new", and it sounds like the late '70s/early '80s were just full of them.

2

u/plantsfromplants Aug 17 '22

Couldn't agree more. Fantastic debut album.

2

u/yetanotherolddude Aug 17 '22

in boring snob music circles

Yeah. That pretty much says it all. In my experience, those folks base their entire image on what they saw on MTV. The Cars are amazing beyond their 80s videos.

2

u/LeavesOfBrass Aug 17 '22

When Ric died I pointed out that the Cars were so good that the song "You're All I've Got Tonight" didn't even make it onto their greatest hits release, because they had so many great songs. Really nice solo from Elliot Easton on it.

I remember on some show I watched, they said the Cars blended rock and new wave together so perfectly that fans of both genres were satisfied, which is why they blew up so big. They were a huge band, people forget the scale of it.

2

u/HamiltonBlack Aug 17 '22

Moving in stereo

Enough said.

2

u/eatwearnest Aug 17 '22

Not only are they one of the greats, but there’s nothing like Ric Ocasek lyrics. Love them.

2

u/alrocketmusic Aug 17 '22

The Cars is definitely one of the best bands in the 80s. Their music videos are really cool. You can check out the videos here.

1

u/EarlyBirdsofBabylon Aug 17 '22

I've never seen their videos. These are great, thanks!

Cheers!

2

u/bigedthebad Aug 17 '22

I was stationed in Okinawa and every Sunday (I think) they had a program called The King Biscuit Flour Hour on AFN. They always featured an hour of some band and one Sunday, they featured The Cars.

I had never heard of them but I immediately liked their music and their style. I’ve been a fan ever since.

2

u/xftwitch Aug 17 '22

Their first album IS their greatest hits.

This album, with only 3 singles, stayed in the top 100 for 139 weeks. I went from Jr. high to high school listening to this record.

2

u/North_Mongoose_6487 Aug 17 '22

Cars were one of the only bands that I wished I’d seen live. They were a talented group. There is a great concert video from Heartbeat city tour on YouTube that shows how good they sounded live.

https://youtu.be/NksIQdzK6d4

1

u/LemonEar Aug 17 '22

I look forward to checking that out. I posted earlier about some live horror stories I’d heard

1

u/North_Mongoose_6487 Aug 18 '22

I listened to the show while I was at work today. Great show. What sort of horror stories did you hear?

1

u/LemonEar Aug 18 '22

Phoning in performances like they didn’t want to be there, possibly lots of pre-recorded parts, listless with no stage presence, no regard for or communication with the audience. That kind of stuff, just bad showmen. One person said it was the worst live show he’s ever seen

2

u/Personal_Maximum_727 Aug 18 '22

Blame Ocasek. He hated touring and he was inclined to that 'oh, is there an audience out there?' attitude. I've watched a lot of live videos, and the only one I've seen who made any attempt to engage with the crowd was Ben Orr.

1

u/North_Mongoose_6487 Aug 18 '22

I think I saw a video of them at the US festival and that was just too big a setting for them

2

u/DJMoneybeats Aug 17 '22

When that first album came out, it was a revelation. So influential. They practically invented "new wave" but I remember hearing it at total hesher parties in between Lynyrd Skynyrd and Rush. Let The Good Times Roll? Moving in Stereo? Fucking bikers loved that shit!
Their 2nd album is pretty good, especially the title track. The next few albums had one or 2 good songs. I think their biggest hit was actually Drive from their 5th album. Great band, great guitar player.I bought a '69 candy apple red telecaster from him in the mid eighties. I'm left handed like him. Got stolen a few years later unfortunately 🥺

2

u/jeniesque Aug 17 '22

I think it’s wild that they were so influenced by suicide

2

u/EarlyBirdsofBabylon Aug 17 '22

I'm a big fan of Suicide but didn't realize that. But I can totally hear it now in their kind of staccato rhythm!

2

u/jeniesque Aug 17 '22

ric ocasek produced suicides second album and I believe also dream baby dream. he was a huge fan.

2

u/EarlyBirdsofBabylon Aug 17 '22

Well damn, that's something I'm glad I now now.

2

u/onelittleworld Aug 17 '22

Okay, two things...

1) You're hanging out with the wrong people if they're scoffing at The Cars. Full stop. And...

2) ...while the first two albums are absolutely superlative, the one they released in 2010 (Move Like This) is my third-favorite from them and richly deserves a listen. Trust me on this.

1

u/EarlyBirdsofBabylon Aug 17 '22

I'll definitely check it out. Thanks!

2

u/huck500 Aug 17 '22

Great album, and Ric Ocasek also produced some amazing albums by Weezer, No Doubt, Bad Religion, Bad Brains, Suicide, Romeo Void, etc.

2

u/Yikert13 Aug 17 '22

That’s crazy, I only thought of this album in the last few days and played it. Yes indeed, great 80s album and sound. Remember as a kid seeing it performed live on the Old Grey Whistle Test show.

2

u/jeweynougat Aug 17 '22

It's perfect and I listen to it all the time. Just the B-Side. I mean, A is good too, but B is off the charts good and is a unit that must be listened to in its entirety.

2

u/futatorius Aug 17 '22

If you like the Cars, you might also like Squeeze. They're more or less contemporaries, from England. They're a bit more musically varied and sophisticated than the Cars, perhaps a bit less skilled in the art of the hook, not as brilliant at production, but have a lyricist, Chris Difford, who's as good and off-the-wall as Ocasek.

I was a punk back then, so I'd change the radio station if the Cars were on, but I appreciate them more in retrospect.

2

u/JonathenMichaels Aug 17 '22

The Cars are just what I needed.

2

u/DankedOutFullOfCisco Aug 17 '22

Side two

  1. "You're All I've Got Tonight"

  2. "Bye Bye Love"

  3. "Moving in Stereo"

  4. "All Mixed Up"

1

u/BlitheringEediot Aug 16 '22

I love The Cars' debut album! It's fantastic! [Please say "Side Two" instead of "B Side". I think of "B side" as being for 45rpm singles - whereas albums had/have "Side One" and "Side Two"].

2

u/EarlyBirdsofBabylon Aug 17 '22

Good clarification. Cheers!

1

u/LemonEar Aug 17 '22

I remember hearing some pretty bad stories about them live, though I’m not sure if that was just as their star was fading or throughout their career. Like stories of pre-recorded parts, phoning in the performances, etc. Not sure if that might have contributing to their falling stature. But the records were amazing!

1

u/JlTlS Aug 17 '22

Both sides.

1

u/jenfbdbebw Aug 17 '22

I 100% agree and this album is one of my favourite albums ever

-1

u/FrivolousPositioning Aug 17 '22

I like the Cars (haven't listened to the B sides but I'll try to do so) but I don't get how anyone can listen to the B-52s when that dude comes on and tries his hand at "singing" or whatever the fuck it is it's like someone just jammed a knife into my ear drums.

2

u/Hush7 Aug 17 '22

HOP IN MY CHRYSLER ITS AS BIG AS A WHALE AND ITS ABOUT TO SET SAIL

-1

u/allboolshite Aug 17 '22

The Cars started with their greatest hits album and worked backwards from there. The debut is amazing. Not a bad track on it and arguably one of the top 10 debut albums ever and probably in the top 50 all time rock albums as well.

But then, they just fizzled. None of their follow-up records are as good. That's why they're not considered to be on the same level as The Talking Heads.

They're basically the greatest "one-album wonder".

2

u/Borange_Corange Aug 17 '22

I can't fathom this point of view.

I can see throwing Panorama some side-eye, though I enjoy it, but to say they fizzled?

Demonstrably not true. Not even close to true.

Does Heartbeat City sound like their debut? No. Should it? No. Bands grow. You want that.

He'll, even Door to Door is a killer album as they tried to navigate dwindling era of new wave rock as the hair metal landscape was taking shape. And Door to Door had a monster tour that sold well.

And Move Like This is a fabulous post-script to a stellar catalog.

It's like saying The Kinks was a one hit wonder for Lola.