Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Drive On

One of the songs on the new album by The Cars – their first in almost 25 years, and one that I'm sure few thought would ever see the light of day – is called "Sad Song." It begins with the immediately recognizable guitar chords from “My Best Friend’s Girl,” followed by the equally recognizable hand-claps from “Let’s Go.” The first time I heard the song, I laughed out loud, and began to wonder whether Ric Ocasek had managed to pull off one of the best practical jokes in the history of rock and roll.

There are other songs on the album that result in similar reactions – at various points, you might find yourself thinking, “oh, there’s the 2011 version of “Drive,” or "there’s the updated version of “Shake It Up”…and throughout, the sound – which was always a critical, perhaps the critical, component of The Cars’ music - is unmistakeably "Cars-like."

So…is “Move Like This” worth listening to, or is it nothing more than a great joke by Ric Ocasek?

Probably both. No doubt about it, this is the kind of album - should they deign to even review it - that Pitchfork will make fun of, just as a way to provide their bonafides. But for anyone old enough to remember that Greil Marcus liked their first album and agreed with the ad campaign that called it "top down music for a hard top world," this is certainly worth the $7.99 that one would pay to download it on Amazon.com. It's not the best Cars album, but it's certainly far from the worst.

That may not be good enough for everyone, but as another band once sang, you can't always get what you want.

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