Thursday, April 01, 2010

A Classic Model

One of my all-time fave articles from (the now lamentably defunct) Jingle Magazine was entitled Five Gears In Reverse, which featured then-breakout artists that defied the disco fever/schlock pop swill that swirled around the cesspool scene; artists like Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, and bands like The Police, The Clash and of course, The Cars.

Streamlined and on-the-aerodynamic, The Cars cruise controlled their way to popularity with bare-bones Rock N' Roll with equal amounts of crisp Pop flourish and enough bite, balancing out a refreshingly new sound. Ric Ocasek's dark baritone set a foreboding countenance, as dark as his sunglasses, while guitarist Elliot Easton's tasty guitar fills (as in the snappy "Just What I Needed" and "My Best Friend's Girl) were rootsy yet tingly to the ear, while (the late) Ben Orr's solid bass and occasional lead vocal chores, coupled with drummer Dave Robinson, kept the unit intact.. and let's not forget the squiggly sounds from keyboardist Greg Hawkes, who added the proverbial icing to the cake.

Like a sleek, black sedan, The Cars were no mere assembly line band. Theirs was a breath of fresh air, blowing us all away, with the top down. It must mean something when a seminal 80's teen movie utilizes the album track "Moving In Stereo" as the background music for a (wet) dream sequence between a topless Phoebe Cates and a hard-up Judge Reinhold; now that's iconic.

Sometimes you have to travel in reverse, in order to move forward.


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