Saturday, October 8, 2011

Top 5 Songs by the Cars

The Cars, fronted by Rick Ocasek, are one of the best bands of all time.  They had a ton of really good songs--some of the most memorable of the 70s and 80s, but so many people forget about them or don't realize just how many good songs they had!  Here's my top 5, but there are a bunch more (maybe the commenters can add others).  

5: My Best Friend's Girl - How can you not dig these lyrics?  "You've got your nuclear boots, and your drip dry glove; oh when you bite your lip, it's some reaction to love, o-ove, o-ove..."  Sorta great that it's a song about him sweating his ex, who's currently with his best friend, a la Jessie's Girl...

4: You are the Girl - Another song about an ex, and another song with really cool lyrics: "Why don't you dream anymore?  What's in the way?  How come you point to the door and ask me to stay?"  It also has a great popcorn/bubblegum pop rhythm, which makes it fun.

3: Magic - I remember seeing this video as Rick Ocasek walked on water in a pool--it was the coolest effect I'd ever seen (I was 8)!  The lyrics of so many Cars songs are just great, but this song's are my favorite: "I see you under the midnight, all shackles and bows.  High shoes with the cleats a-clickin' a temperamental glow--but then you let me go..."  I love the imagery and the unusual word choices--there's something that's just cool about it, and about Ocasek's slightly delayed singing style.

2: You Might Think - Remember the video where Rick Ocasek's head was attached to a fly?  That was for this song.  This is probably the most distinctive song for the band, and Ocasek is amazing in it--especially in the a cappella break.  There's something real about his voice--aloof yet totally in the moment.  Plus, the musical hook to the song is so great and one of the most memorable of the 80s.

1: Drive - One of the greatest Cars songs and it's not sung by Ocasek.  Drive was a melancholy ballad from the perspective of a guy watching his former girlfriend (or his unrequited lover, I'm not sure which) messing up her life, and he's showing her again and again that he's the one who'll be there for her.  Everything about this song is haunting and sort of mysterious, and the lyrics--when you hear them--stick with you and force you to consider them.

So, did you know that the very unattractive Rick Ocasek met his future wife, supermodel Paulina Porizkova, on the set of the Drive video?   Crazy, right?  (Not that they met on the video set, but that they got married!  Talk about hitting above your average--good for you, Rick.)  This was a tough list because there are so many good songs to choose from, so what did I leave out that you think belongs in?

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  1. "Let's Go," with lead vocals by the late Benjamin Orr. Tip top.

    -Jim in LA

  2. I have trouble picking a favorite- I had The Cars playing during the birth of my son!

  3. I do really enjoy the cars, and thank you for Disqus @Kooztop5

  4. Moving in Stereo. It's my favorite.