The Cars – Move Like This (2011)

Posted: May 5, 2011 in Music

It’s been a while, I bet, since you’ve even thought about the band The Cars. But don’t feel bad. After all, it’s been nearly 30 years since they’ve released anything relevant (1984’s chart-topping Heartbeat City), and frontman Ric Ocasek hasn’t been in the band since 1988.

Like most bands, some of the remaining members tried to continue to cash in on the early success of the band with a new singer through the late 90’s into the early 2000s – Todd Rundgren – but without Ocasek’s stylish, quirky voice, there was little chance of success under the Cars name. Ironically, Ocasek recorded several solo efforts over the last 20-odd years, and while critics enjoyed the majority of them, he was never able to achieve the success that he had with The Cars.

Throughout the Ocasek-less years, rumors constantly swirled of a reunion of all original members, but much of that talk quelled in September of 2000 when bassist Ben Orr succumbed to a battle with pancreatic cancer.

It wasn’t until 2010 when the talks of a reunion sparked up again. This time, however, there was more than just talk. Pictures surfaced over the internet of Ocasek in studio with remaining members Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes, and David Robinson. Interviews with the band gave hints that they were writing new material.

After 27 years, the band released the video for “Blue Tip” (video below) on February 17th of this year. The album, titled Move Like This, will be available on May 10th. The album is streaming at rollingstone.com currently, and the Nutwork jumped at the chance to see if The Cars still had anything left in the tank.

It is hard to get such iconic tunes as “Here She Comes”, “Magic”, “You Might Think” and “Drive” out of one’s head when closing the eyes and remembering the back catalogue from these new wave proto-punks, but I tried to shake it up a bit when listening to the reincarnation of The Cars. What happened next was as unbelievable as it was unexpected.

Move Like This immediately reminds you of what it was that drove you to like The Cars in the first place. It was if the last 30 years never happened, frankly, as Ocasek and mates picked up right where they left off after Heartbeat City. (Note: this author is not counting 1987’s Door To Door release – as it was obvious before that album was even released that the band was going to split).

The steady bass, rythmic drums, and perky keyboards still blend seamlessly with Ocasek’s pop-and-lock vocals and smooth lyrics. There’s absolutely no doubt that you are listening to a Cars album, and while it fits perfectly into their catalogue of albums, it somehow combines a large sense of nostalgia with a punch in the face of freshness.

Maybe it’s the uniqueness the band has always had, or maybe it’s due to the fact that there really isn’t much going in the “pop-rock” music world these days, but this album delivers ten tracks of triumph. From the aforementioned rock of the opening track, to such standout tracks as “Too Late”, “Sad Song” and the album closer “Hits Me,” the band are firing on all cylinders. Throw in the occasional ballad, and what you end up with is one of the best albums of 2011.

It would be really easy to wonder “what if” The Cars had never disbanded? How many great albums could they have put out over those 30 years of silence? The Nutwork, however suggests you just leave those questions behind and head out to pick up this one and enjoy it to the fullest. I know we sure did.

9/10

Tracklist:
01. Blue Tip
02. Too Late
03. Keep On Knocking
04. Soon
05. Sad Song
06. Free
07. Drag On Forever
08. Take Another Look
09. Its Only
10. Hits Me

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004NTMNB8/ref=s9_ri_bw_ir11?pf_rd_m=A2MX5HGMX4HNN7&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=061EXGZB40EJQ0P17VRW&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1282879702&pf_rd_i=3023481

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