And to think you finally got “Just What I Needed” out of your head: The Cars have reunited to record their first album in 23 years, and we have the grainy studio footage to prove it.
Late this summer, the band released a mysterious black-and-white video amiably depicting the band members recording and roads whirring under bus wheels. In mid-October, the band posted a short snippet of a new song “Blue Tip” on Facebook, and it indicated that the Boston quartet has returned to fine New Wave form. Blippy, mechanical keyboards jostle with singer Ric Ocasek’s predictably clipped lyrics (“You've got that look on your face/You cannot hide your disgrace”). This week, Billboard reported that a full album is underway with a possible supporting tour to follow.
The Cars were one of the most successful American rock bands of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s; inspired equally by art-rock and proto-punk, they were vanguards of merging guitar riff energy with synth-pop detachment. Their six albums together went multi-platinum internationally and launched Ric Ocasek as one of the most famous frontmen of the era. The group’s 1978 self-titled debut, which spawned ubiquitous singles “Just What I Needed,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” and “Good Times Roll,” reached #18 on the Billboard 200 charts and remained on it for 139 weeks. 1984’s Heartbeat City, their most popular and best-selling album, launched "You Might Think", which won Video of the Year at the first MTV Video Music Awards. Their final album, 1987’s Door to Door, was successful internationally for its single “You Are the Girl” but failed to catch fire in the States, and the band broke up the following year.
Originally a quintet, the Cars lost founding singer/bassist Benjamin to pancreatic cancer in 2000. The lineup currently consists of lead singer/guitarist Ocasek, guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes, and drummer David Robinson.