11 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Cars were among the most successful new-wave rock bands of the late ‘70s and ‘80s. Leader Ric Ocasek had always maintained the band would never reunite and after the death of bassist-vocalist Benjamin Orr, it sounded like a safe bet. But in the fall of 2009, Ocasek realized the best musicians to work on his latest set of songs would be his former bandmates. With Jacknife Lee (U2, REM, Weezer) co-producing, the Cars jump into the 21st century with an album that sounds like they’d never stopped. The first couple of previews from the album, “Sad Song” and “Blue Tip” reminded listeners of the old band, while tracks like “Keep On Knocking” and “Free” have the same drive and aggression of the band’s first few albums. “Soon” is a haunting ballad that would have been a natural for Orr. Rather than find a replacement for him, keyboardist Greg Hawkes handled the bass parts. The Cars were always ahead of their time: Elliot Easton’s guitar chords and Hawkes’ dreamy synths sound completely contemporary. This is one reunion that doesn’t sound like a reunion, but the next logical step.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Cars were among the most successful new-wave rock bands of the late ‘70s and ‘80s. Leader Ric Ocasek had always maintained the band would never reunite and after the death of bassist-vocalist Benjamin Orr, it sounded like a safe bet. But in the fall of 2009, Ocasek realized the best musicians to work on his latest set of songs would be his former bandmates. With Jacknife Lee (U2, REM, Weezer) co-producing, the Cars jump into the 21st century with an album that sounds like they’d never stopped. The first couple of previews from the album, “Sad Song” and “Blue Tip” reminded listeners of the old band, while tracks like “Keep On Knocking” and “Free” have the same drive and aggression of the band’s first few albums. “Soon” is a haunting ballad that would have been a natural for Orr. Rather than find a replacement for him, keyboardist Greg Hawkes handled the bass parts. The Cars were always ahead of their time: Elliot Easton’s guitar chords and Hawkes’ dreamy synths sound completely contemporary. This is one reunion that doesn’t sound like a reunion, but the next logical step.

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