Archive for July 11, 2012
In 1984 I was 11 years old. I was melting #2 pencils in 5th grade homeroom heaters at Shady Grove Elementary School and the Space Shuttle Discovery had its maiden voyage (an event that I was sure was further proof that I would make it to space by the time I was 15). Ghostbusters and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom came out. But my favorites that year were Romancing the Stone and The Karate Kid. And The Cars were near the top of their fame in 84 too.
Rick Ocasek was the lead singer of The Cars and I can clearly remember he was one of the strangest looking guys I’d ever seen on MTV at the time. Remember, this was in a time before Lady Gaga and Marilyn Manson, so Ocasek’s strange ticks and emotionless delivery in music videos was one of the strangest things to watch at the time. Never was Ocasek’s weirdness on display more than in the video for “You Might Think.” The video itself was wacky but it worked perfectly for The Cars.
Probably The Cars most famous video was “Magic.” The song was great and I can still clearly remember how fun the video was. Watching the collection of Hollywood cliches gawk and point as Ocasek “walked on water” in a backyard pool was classic 80s kitsch.
Both of these songs were from the Cars most successful commercial album, Heartbeat City. But it’s another song from that album that is #3 on my list.
Drive was different for a couple of reasons. First, it was a slower, more somber tune than what The Cars had become known before. Second, lead vocals on this song were performed by the bands bassist, Benjamin Orr. So if you thought the vocals sounded different from the Cars other hits, you were right. Orr died in 2000 of pancreatic cancer, and the song was played at his funeral.
This song is so pure. It’s simple, clean and beautiful. I love the synth melodies and simple steady drumbeat (the beat really carries the song). The video is dark, and sad and 100% 80s. It’s a look at a woman slowly slipping away from reality from the viewpoint of her boyfriend. The use of mannequins is awesome in it’s 80ness and this video marked the second appearance in a Cars video by Ocasek’s then girlfriend, Supermodel Paulina Porezkova. I love a lot of The Cars stuff, but this is by far their best, and for me it lands at #3 in my top 10 list.
What about you? Where would you rank this one? Is it your favorite Cars song? Let me know what you think!