Producers: Jacknife Lee; The Cars
Whenever you hear a musical legend say his equally legendary band will never, ever, get back together again, it’s about a 50-50 chance that they someday will. Thankfully, the Cars are in line with those that have, releasing their seventh studio album, Move Like This, their first since 1987. Equally wonderful is that all the surviving Cars, including Ric Ocasek (sadly, minus bassist/vocalist Benjamin Orr, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2000), are back in the driver’s seat, delivering a new round of hits. Move Like This is a 10 song, 3 bonus track collection of some pretty solid music.
You could hear the Cars being the Cars within the first fourteen seconds of the album’s opener, “Blue Tip,” lyrically a social commentary concerning the Third Wave generation. The cautionary “Too Late” warns of the impending heavy buzz-saw guitar danger of “Keep On Knocking,” a robust little party rocker. “Soon” is about as gorgeous as ballad as it is earnest and honest. Simply sung, it ranks as the album’s most tender moment. “Sad Song,” (which jumps to the forefront like their classic, “Let’s Go,”) moves along musically as anything BUT sad – definitely the album’s hit single. After the equally upbeat “Free,” the brakes are hit driving into “Drag On Forever,” which thankfully, doesn’t drag on forever, not being the best tune on the album. If movie director John Hughes was still alive and decided to make a retro-1980s, Brat Pack styled film, the soundtrack would definitely include the introspective, heart beating, “Take Another Look.” The pensive “It’s Only” set’s up the album’s closer, “Hits Me,” which in the end, finds our long, lanky Goth-before-Goth hero trying to make it out of exile (1987?) and into present times (which, of course, he finds shallow and inconsequential).
Unfailingly melodic and ready to rock, the Cars’ Move Like This is a concrete, entertaining addition to their catalog of hits. Hearing again that classic Cars’ sound is like running into an old friend from college that you haven’t see in years, and are genuinely happy to see. It’s great to hear the Cars performing new music classically.
Nick Mason of Pink Floyd once remarked that you don’t want a world full of dinosaurs lumbering about, but it is nice to have a few of them still around. Add the Cars to that list.