The Cars

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1977-87)

Elliot Easton (aka Elliott Steinberg) -- lead guitar, backing vocals
- Greg Hawkes - keyboards, percussion, sax, backing vocals

- Ric Ocasek (aka Richard Otcasek) -- vocals, rhythm guitar
- Benjamin Orr (aka Benjamin Orzechowski) (RIP 2000) --  vocals,

- David Robinson -- drums, percussion, syndrums, backing vocals


  line up 2 (2006) as The New Cars

Elliot Easton (aka Elliott Steinberg) -- lead guitar, backing vocals
- Greg Hawkes - keyboards, percussion, sax, backing vocals

- Prairie Prince -- vocals

- Todd Rundgren -- vocals, guitar, keyboards

- Kasim Sulton -- keyboards

  line up 3 (2011)

Elliot Easton (aka Elliott Steinberg) -- lead guitar, backing vocals
- Greg Hawkes - keyboards, percussion, sax, backing vocals

- Ric Ocasek (aka Richard Otcasek) -- vocals, rhythm guitar
- David Robinson -- drums, percussion, syndrums, backing vocals


  supporting mucisians (2011)

- Jacknife Lee -- bass




- Creedence Clearwater Revisited (Elliott Easton)

- DMZ (David Robinson)

- Elliott Easton (solo efforts)

- Greg Hawkes (solo efforts)

- Milkwood (Ric Ocasek, Bejamin Orr, and Greg Hawkes)

- Ric Ocasek (solo efforts)

- Benjamin Orr (solo efforts)

- Pop! (David Robinson)

- Jonathan Richman's The Modern Lovers (David Robinson)

- The Spurs (David Robinson)

- The Tubes (Prairie Prince)

- Utopia (Kasim Sulton)






Genre: new wave

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  The Cars 78

Company: Audlfon

Catalog: ACR 52

Country/State: Boston, Massachusetts

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 229

Price: $50.00


I can remember being enthralled by The Cars - they looked so goofy and sounded so raw compared to most late-'70s top-40 bands.  


Before going any further, in the interest of full disclosure, musically the audio quality on "The Cars 78"  was pretty horrible, sounding like someone recorded this material with a home cassette deck.  The album suffes from a distant, echoy sound with occasional sound drops.  Released by the small Audifon label, this was a live album recorded at dates in New York's Bottom Line and Boston's Paradise Theatre.  Chronologically the album was seemingly recorded and released at roughly the same time the band's self-titled debut came out on Elektra.   In fact, the concert set and 1978's "The Cars" share eight tracks.  In spite of the crappy sound (the New York performances on side one were rough; the Boston material on side two was even worse), Rick Ocasek and the band sounded quite tight throughout the performances.  If you liked their studio versions of their catalog, then the live versions should strike a chord with you.  For Cars fanatics, the collection may be interesting for the two tracks that didn't appear on the Elektra debut -  'Since I Held You' (which subsequently appeared on their "Candy O" LP) and 'The Nights Fast'.  Is it a "must own" set?  Not by a long shot, but Cars fans will find it entertaining.


"The Cars 78" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) The Good Times Roll   (Ric Ocasek)   rating: **** stars

Subsequently released as one of three singles off the debut LP, 'The Good Times Roll' sounds remarkably true to the studio version.

2.) My Best Friends Girl   (Ric Ocasek)   rating: **** stars

'My Best Friends Girl' was another one that sounded pretty much like the studio version - maybe performed a tad faster than the studio version; the backing vocals were a bit ragged and Greg Hawkes synthesizers were more prominent, but otherwise very similar.  The crowd certainly liked it.  

3.) Since I Held You  (Ric Ocasek)   rating: *** stars

One of the two 'new' songs, the jittery 'Since I Held You' was far less commercial than the earlier songs, but may have been more interesting.   Elliott Easton got to showcase some cool scratchy guitar.  r

4.) Just What I Needed   (Ric Ocasek)   rating: **** stars

Other than Hawkes' synthesizier being a bit more prominent and Easton getting to cut lose for a bit longer, the live version of their debut single 'Just What I Needed' was another track that came off sounding remarkably like the studio version.  Gosh, this was a great song.    

5.) You're All I've Got Tonight    (Ric Ocasek)   rating: **** stars

One of my favorite songs on the debut LP, 'You're All I've Got Tonight' came off as tougher in a live setting.  Yeah, the vocals were rougher and Elliott finally got to cut lose, but that actually gave the song a likeable rockin' edge.  Kudos to David Robinson for the wicked drumming.    


(side 2)
1.) Bye Bye Love   (Ric Ocasek)   rating: *** stars

Judging by the change in sound quality (it was even worse on side two), and the 'it's great to be home' comment, I'm guessing side two reflected material recorded in Boston.  'Bye Bye Love' had a slightly rockier feel than the studio version with Hawkes' synthesizers way up in the mix.  

2.) The Nights Fast   (Ric Ocasek)   rating: ** stars

Another non-LP track, the jittery 'The Nights Fast; caught the band at their least commercial and most new wave-ish orientation.  Can't say this one did a great deal for me  

3.) I'm In Touch with Your World   (Ric Ocasek)   rating: *** stars

'I'm In Touch with Your World' captured the band at their most spastic ...  Lots of folks love this one; me not so much, though Easton turned in a nice solo.

-4.) Moving In Stereo   (Ric Ocasek - Greg Hawkes)   rating: **** stars

'Moving In Stereo' was notable as one of a handful of tunes co-written by Ocasek and Hawkes and was one of my favorite songs on the debut.   The live version sounded a bit more ominous than the studio take with Hawkes synthesizers again way up in the mix.   

5.) All Mixed Up   (Ric Ocasek)   rating: ** stars

The live version of 'All Mixed Up' would have been even better than the studio version except for the horrible sound quality - it literally sounded like the tape recorder had gone amuck.






Genre: new wave

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Door To Door

Company: Elektra

Catalog: 60747-1

Country/State: Boston, Massachusetts

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 

Price: $15.00


1987's "Door To Door" found The Cars turning to self-production for inspiration - frontman Ric Ocasek with an assist from keyboardist Greg Hawkes taking over recording duties.  The overall feel was of a band trying to recapture earlier glories; a return to their original new wave roots; albeit with an ear for holding on to their legion of radio fans.  Gone were a lot of the studio production tracks and effects found on the last couple of albums. That return to their roots was apparent by the inclusion of several tunes the band had written and demoed back in 1977.  Among the tracks ressurrected were the opening rocker 'Leave or Stay' and 'Ta Ta Wayo Wayo.'  And while there were glimmers of home across these eleven tracks, the collection lacked the energy and excitement of their first three albums.  It's hard for me to clearly detail the feeling, but like Marco Glaviano's bland cover design, it just didn't feel like Ocasek and company were having much fun, or putting much effort into the album.  These guys were certainly too professional to turn in a crap album, but tracks like 'Double Trouble', Orr's rockabilly-tinged 'Everything You Say', and '' were just kind of blah.  Sure, there were a couple of classic Cars tunes in the form of the single (and finally top-40 hit) 'YOu Are the Girl' and the should've been a hit '.'  Sadly those were the exceptions to the rule.


And within a year of the album's release Ocasek announced the band's breakup, bringing The Cars' saga to an end for the next 23 years.


"Door To Door" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Leave or Stay   (Ric Ocasek ) - 2:55   rating: *** stars

One of the songs pulled from their archives, 'Leave or Stay' had been written and a demo recorded back in 1977.  The updated track rocked, had an angelic chorus  and Greg Hawkes synthesizer washes were interesting.  Otherwise I can't say I was particularly taken by the song.

2.) You Are the Girl  (Ric Ocasek - Benjamin Orr) - 3:52   rating: **** stars

For folks who thought The Cars had lost their way, 'You Are the Girl' underscored Ocasek and Orr were still capable of pumping out highly commercial, top-40 tunes.  Powered by a bouncy melody, shared vocals, and one of Elliott Easton's tightest solos, this one had everything needed for radio success which seems to explain why the track was tapped as the album's third single.  It also appeared on the soundtrack to the film "Date With An Angel"  (which was apparently one of the worst movies every made).  You can see the goofy promotional video released in support of the album at: The Cars - You Are the Girl (Official Music Video) - YouTube

- 1987's 'You Are the Girl' b/w 'Ta Ta Wayo Wayo' (Elektra catalog number 7-69446) # 17 Billboard charts

3.) Double Trouble  (Benjamin Orr) - 4:14 

4.) Fine Line  (Ric Ocasek) - 5:22 

5.) Everything You Say  (Benjamin Orr) -  4:52 

6.) Ta Ta Wayo Wayo  (RIc Ocasek) -  2:52


(side 2)

1.) Strap Me In   (Ric Ocasek) - 4:22  # 85 Billboard charts

2.) Coming Up You   (Benjamin Orr) -  4:18  # 74 Billboard charts

3.) Wound Up on You   (RIc Ocasek) -  5:02

4.) Go Away   (RIc Ocasek - Greg Hawkes - Benjamin Orr) - 4:38 

5.) Door to Doo  (RIc Ocasek) - 4:16 


Door to Door is the sixth studio album by American rock band the Cars, released on August 25, 1987, by Elektra Records. The album was produced by frontman Ric Ocasek, with additional production by keyboardist Greg Hawkes. Three singles were released from the album, though only "You Are the Girl" reached the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 17. Door to Door became the Cars' lowest-charting studio album, peaking at number 26 on the Billboard 200, and within a year of its release the band would break up.




Double Trouble: This song really rocks, has a catchy tune, and strong vocals. This song is the litmus test of Door To Door. If you don't like this song, well you probably won't care for much of the album. 9/10

Fine Line: I'm torn on this song. It is unique among their recordings; brooding, introspective and lonely. The problem is, it goes on about 2 minutes too long. 6/10

Everything You Say: Mix in the Cars with a bit a rockabilly and you get this. For me it works, a terrific song. 9/10

Ta Ta Wayo Wayo. Also written during their early days. This could easily fit on Candy-O. 8/10

Strap Me In: One of the high points of the album. Everything clicks here. 9/10

Coming Up You: This song could easily be the theme song of a Japanese Anime show. Still, this works beautifully and is another highlight of the album. 9/10

Wound Up On You: A masterpiece. The chord progressions are chilling and brooding, the "clockwork" rhythm section works perfectly. One of my favorite Cars songs. 10/10.

Go Away: Strong song, well sung. 8/10

Door To Door: A little too loud, a little too much: 5/10

One note here: Since "Tonight She Comes" was released in-between Heartbeat City and Door To Door, I have "attached" it as the 12th track of this album. My score reflects that fact.

In summary, it is easy on a number of technical and logistical reasons to hate this album. I fell into that trap for 30 years. So glad I finally gave this album a chance. Was this review helpful to you?



Share review facebooktwittertumblrlink A truly terrible album with radio numbers that fail to inspire. There isn't a single good song on the album, and while it is incredibly bold of Brian Gillespie to declare this his favorite Cars' album, the truth is that if you add up his individual song ratings it comes out to an even 4 stars (and it's not nearly that good, with nothing amazing about the production, overall flow, or feel of the record to bump it up even a half star, as he's done here; counting the brilliant Tonight She Comes on this record rather than Heartbeat City is also as dishonest as it gets).

The songs are bland and meaningless and the presence of more Ben Orr songs is a bad thing, not a good thing. I'd rather listen to Panorama, and I don't much care for that one either. I sincerely hope I never have to hear such dreck as Fine Line again, or the bad rockabilly of Everything You Say and Ta Ta Wayo Wayo (the Blasters as a New Wave band was never what I was looking for).

Horrific then and even worse now.

Should have bought this in 2006 not 2016. Great music, a combo of adult contemporary and rock with a Cars style yet more serious than their other mid 1980s pop music releases. No excuse for this not getting a lot of airplay back in 1987. Radio decided to not give this airplay, there is nothing wrong with this music and it was a good progression for The Cars to make this kind of music by 1987. A overlooked album that got little exposure. 22 people found this helpful Helpful Report abuse Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars Not enough radio play for this album Reviewed in the United States on December 22, 2017 Verified Purchase Double Trouble, Strap Me in are rockers. Go Away Wound up on You Everything you Say are great sing alongs. Benjamin Orr shines on this. 14 people found this helpful Helpful Report abuse R. Lyn Rousian 5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST CARD ALBUM EVER!! Reviewed in the United States on March 22, 2020 Verified Purchase This record is amazing! I've never heard them sound more exciting than this! It's the greatest record they have ever made! It's loud, fun & just insane! 4 people found this helpful Helpful Report abuse Tim Brough 3.0 out of 5 stars Last Year's Model Reviewed in the United States on January 28, 2014 Verified Purchase The 1987 swan song of the original Cars lineup delivered this album after their high watermark of "Heartbeat City" and after members had been establishing solo careers. That "Door To Door" sounds uninspired and not crackling with the imaginative songs that previous Cars albums did can be blamed on the separations or just the fatigue of being highly successful, but the material just doesn't measure up to previous standards. It makes "Door to Door" the Edsel of The Car's original six albums.

It's not for a lack of trying. The lead single "You Are The Girl" has all the trademarks of a cool Cars song; there are jangly synths from Greg Hawkes and the typical disjointed and enigmatic lyric from Ric Ocasek. The opening song, "Leave Or Stay" also promises better things, but the album starts falling apart afterwards. There aren't many memorable melodies or snap to the pop, making it even more noteworthy that two of the songs on "Door To Door" predate the 1978 debut ("Leave or Stay" and "Ta Ta Wayo Wayo"). Inspiration just wasn't coming. "Strap Me In" is the best of the rest, but "Door To Door" did not age well, the way other Cars albums have. 5 people found this helpful Helpful Report abuse Jeremy L. Smith 4.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Weak About This Album Reviewed in the United States on June 25, 2013 Verified Purchase This cd is on par with about any of The Cars' albums, despite what some reviews will have you think. It does explore a harder rock, somewhat more 'guitar-oriented' sound than their other albums, but not to any negative end. I think that The Cars wanted to do something a little different; after doing Heartbeat City, which was the ultimate synth-oriented album, they wanted a change of direction. And it works, pretty much--still sounding like The Cars but harder-edged. I think the whole album is good, with the exception of 'Fine Line' which is slow and boring and sounds like a B-side you'd never want to hear again. I'd say if you own a good Cars greatest hits collection (there's several), Heartbeat City, this album, and their 2011 comeback cd (Move Like This) you have a pretty good representation of their best work as a whole. 11 people found this helpful Helpful Report abuse Peter Sorenson 5.0 out of 5 stars I have been in love with this album ever since I was in the seventh grade Reviewed in the United States on June 8, 2011 Verified Purchase What I like most about this album is the music's modernistic, pop-synth sound style. This is particularly evident on the songs "Ta Ta Wayo Wayo" and "Strap Me In." I don't know how many girls and women I've dedicated the song "You Are The Girl" to. Also, the instrumental break that occurs right after the lines "It kept her so alert" and before the final occurence of the line "Well, I could leave or stay" during the song "Leave Or Stay" hits me right. I purchased this album for these highlights and much more! I'm glad I did!

While I’ve never been the biggest fan of 80s pop music, I’ve come to appreciate and respect the bands and artists that do it “right”. Within an era so obsessed with plucking simplistic three-note melodies on now-outdated synth pads, The Cars didn’t do much to differentiate themselves from the scene. Their final 80s release, Door to Door doesn’t seem to mind that it falls into this oversaturated description, making it a somewhat bland and disappointing listen overall. However, every once in a while there’s some glimpses of maturity and slight experimentation like in the slow burner ‘Fine Line’, a Sting-esque ballad of romantic reservations. It’s a song that embodies this sultry love-stricken tone much to its advantage, yet all momentum is lost once the hillbilly-bouncing waltz ‘Everything You Say’ plays immediately afterwards. Another rare flash of brilliance is found within the opener, which almost sounds like a strange glam-rock Beatles track. While it is somewhat fulfilling, it seems a bit too borrowed and familiar to be considered an entirely original breakthrough. Honestly, this album sometimes gets so oversaturated in new wave cheesiness that it feels like I’m listening to the soundtrack of an outdated 80s rom-com. Highlights aside, this album is simply an exercise in arena-rock power chords and vapid lyrics about love. I think a younger version of me would’ve appreciated the Bon Jovi sounding guitars blaring through the sparkling clean drum tracks, but such aesthetics are lost on me as of late. The album’s consistency doesn’t help this fact, and by the time the title track roars through to end the suffering, it’s too little and much too late to save this record from droning mediocrity. If there’s anything salvageable about this album, I guess it’s a cute little screenshot of the era it was released within; nothing more than a substanceless, outdated polaroid photo left on the attic floor.

For those just tuning in, The Cars were a Boston based New Wave band formed in 1977 out of the same lineup that was a band called Cap'N' Swing. They had a hit first record with a little more than half the album being radio singles with some level of "hit" to them and took off, fell down, and got up again from the ashes of a guitar heavy new wave band to be a harder hitting variant of '80s pop band...

By now, the band had been around 10 years, it's 1987, Hair Metal is on it's way in, and quirky new wave - The Cars included, are on a fast track to becoming "orthodontist office" music, but despite this common misconception about their final album with the original lineup - Door to Door - they actually hit harder here than they have ever, and also get lighter than they ever have. Door to Door's greatest strength is the wide dynamics between the tracks.

Let's take a look at The Cars - member by member, as they are in 1987...

Ric Ocasek - The beanpole lead vocalist, seems Ric shed his corporate-like suit and tie aesthetic of the last album for a look more suited to the NYC scene, and by this point, The Cars were sort of spreading out and doing their own thing. By this point, Ric Ocasek had now been a talent scout, producer, and so fourth for almost 7 years - and this is Ric's debut producing The Cars. On this Record, Ric sounds more like how he does these days, best singing chops ever thus far, and guitar-wise, Ric is turning ultra-versitile from playing acoustic (Everything You Say, Wound up on You), using his classic clicky 8th note Jazzmaster thing on "You are the Girl," or the fat SG + Marshall chunk of "Double Trouble" or "Strap Me In." Ric was also often seen playing a black CBS Fender Stratocaster around this time as well. Amplification was fully Marshall by this point.

Benjamin Orr - Our blonde Hearthrob bassist and singer, just got done making a solo album with his girlfriend Diane Grey Page the previous year (The Lace). At this point it seems Benjamin found his favorite gear goings on with the black Fender Precision Bass he started using on the previous album for most things. A mystery is did Benjamin Orr play guitar on this album? On the inner sleeve of vinyl copies of Door to Door, Benjamin Orr is seen holding a CBS era Fender Stratocaster in the vocal booth, though it could have just been one of those things he liked to do in the studio to be comfortable, I dunno. Benjamin, fresh off The Lace, has his voice in top form here with some of his best vocal performances yet.

Elliot Easton - Elliot Easton is still on a bit of a Telecaster binge, but for the tour, about 99.9% of the time he's seen playing a Burgundy Gibson Les Paul Jr. with a single P-90 for almost everything, with the occasional Tom Anderson for other songs. Elliot of course has gone full Marshall on this recording for a lot of the stuff, though I think he was using a Fender amp with a vibrato for the very warbly western tones on "Everything You Say"

Greg Hawkes - Greg Hawkes has by this point moved to using Digital synthesizers from the analog stuff he used on the earlier albums. Actually, the keyboard sound is another thing that brings The Cars into their late 80's sound, lots of atmospheric pop synth pads and layers here and there. Sure the MiniKorg 700S and others are still around here and there, but most of it is a lot of tubular bells and Yamaha DX7 type sounds. Also, Greg confused the ever loving heck out of me when I first listened to this album - "Fine Line" features a guitar solo that's actually Greg Hawkes playing a E.Guitar setting on one of his digital synths... something that took me 20 years to figure out, setting an example that one can be EXTREMELY expressive using a synthesizer. I swear, if Today's EDM groups wanted to get some soul - they should pop open a few Cars records and take some notes from Greg Hawkes, especially on this album.

David Robinson - Still doing his art direction thing, but once again, lots of programmed drums, though I read somewhere he, not really fought, but had to push a bit to put more acoustic drums on this album - which may have had a hand in why they split up after this album.

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Overall, this era of The Cars album-wise did not really represent the group as well as their lives shows from this era did. By god, all of these songs sounded harder, meaner, and tighter live, but in the studio they seem to feel a bit more like that final release of a major movie franchise that has lost it's steam because the production was shot over to a new production team who never watched the first lot.

That said, overall, I love Door to Door's sound - it is quite dated (for the most part) because it FEELS like 1987 when you listen to it, takes me back to Saturday Mornings watching cartoons, Atari 2600 fun is back under $50 bux, everything becoming slick and peaceful in society. It was a good album, and it was a good time for them to take a break even as much as I love their work. But there's just something, I dunno, missing in this album that was present in other work. Something not quite right I can't quite put my finger on.

While I do mention dynamics, it does seem less focus on tone by the band was put into this album than the previous, seems 2 elements stick in each song, digital synths (ie Yamaha DX7) and Marshall driven guitars, even on songs where it would not fit, but it's made up for by the dynamic - it's sort of like The Cars decided to try an approach of using the same few sounds on aa many different styles that suit them as possible here. Lyrics — 8 Door to Door is unique in that two of it's songs were already 10 years old by the time this album was made - "Ta Ta Wayo Wayo," and the opener "Leave or Stay" are both from 1977, and were on "The Cars Anthology" released in 1996 in their original form like they would have sounded had they wound up on the FIRST record and not the last.

"Leave or Stay" - Ric Ocasek - Kicks off with dreamy sounding digital synths, giving a vibe like we're watching Ric roam around some chick (Paulina?)'s apartment looking through magazines and raiding the fridge for milk. That said, it really showcases how they took the sound from the single from their "Greatest Hits" album and evolved it just a little bit. The arrangement is quite orchestral compared to the 1977 original off the Anthology, almost like they mixed the Heartbeat City and Panorama approaches here.

"You Are the Girl" - Ric Ocasek - The closest thing I could associate this song with is a cross between Shake It Up's "I'm Not the One" with "Since I Held you" off of Candy-O. It's got the signature late eighties DX7 tubular bell synths kicking it off, with Ric Ocasek doing the Cars signature "clickety 8ths" ala Jazzmaster in the background, with Elliot playing us a very soulful solo midway through from Easton. The song seems to be about the mixed signals the opposite sex gives us, that's my take on it - but to quote a Cars song I've not mentioned yet from their early catalog - take what you want, because that's how Ric Ocasek wants it. This was one of three videos made for this album as well - this one being sort of a Sci Fi B movie type thing full of alien girls on a space ship, and of course Elliot has a Telecaster straight out of Emmett L. Brown's lab in the video, LOL.

"Double Trouble" - Benjamin Orr - Benjamin brings us one of the HARDEST songs The Cars ever did up to this point. The guitars - a dual Gibson/Marshall assault of classic order, grind away. Elliot does a nice feedback drenched solo, while Benjamin describes this troublesome lady.

"Fine Line" - Ric Ocasek - Now here's an interesting jump from new wave, to pop, to borderline hard rock, now we are in an almost JAZZY atmosphere, complete with Elliot Easton doing some sonically witty George Benson-like approaches, Ric Ocasek singing probably the best he ever has on any album up to this point. I always thought they could have done a pretty kick ass video with Ric Ocasek as a detective - it has that sort of vibe, like looking for clues through the big city. The song itself is very loose, has a very scholarly digital organ driven sound, and of course, Greg Hawkes plays probably one of the best Synth solos I've ever heard using a guitar parth - enough so for nearly 20 years of my playing guitar, I though that was Elliot Easton playing with some weird distortion pedal, till I saw a live clip of The Cars doing this live in 1987 - and there was spotlight on Greg during the solo, using the pitch bend wheel. I swear, this was probably the sort of thing that would have scared the pants off some guitarists in '87 because Greg was on the level of guitar soloing soulfulness here - ON A KEYBOARD! EDM synth guys, drop your samples and take note!

"Everything You Say" - Benjamin Orr - Admittedly I've read Prindle's record reviews and thinking back to his review of this makes me laugh..."BENJAMAIN! WTF are you doing in my cornfield?" This is a late '80s country song done with that Carsy twist, and it's very interesting because Elliot Easton now had an opportunity to let some of that Bakersfield country influence fly with a New Wave twist with heavily tremoloed Telecaster in tow. Ric plays an acoustic on this song, and I'm almost wondering if Benny 11-Letters secretly dubbed in his own guitar track... the chord he IS holding on the inner sleeve is one from this song. Meahwhile, Greg Hawkes is the guy at the gas station, but instead of talking about UFO's, he's the one sending them out, LOL. For the most part, it's a love ballad, but orchestration wise, an interesting one.

"Ta Ta Wayo Wayo" - Ric Ocasek - This is the other 1977 revamp, pretty much does a great job of sounding like a big city beach circa 1987. Ric did once mention his favorite season is Summer. Ta Ta Wayo Wayo rocks pretty hard but it becomes kind of obvious this was kind of early in their career because the lyrics are so much more surface based compared to their later works including others on this album. Elliot kind of stretches out solo-wise on this one.

"Strap Me In" - Ric Ocasek - ah yes, the classic cars Automotive double entendre song. I'm pretty sure you can figure this one out, unlike a lot of the others like Drive, Cruiser, or the lines of Double Life. This is another one that rocks hard with big, thick guitars, but it's more sweeping and dramatic to Double Trouble's hard-edged sledgehammer. Strangely, I've listened to live versions of this and they were not as hard edged as their albums.

"Coming up You" - Benjamin Orr - This is one of the songs that had me give this one a 7. It sounds more like a reject from The Lace than an actual Cars record song. It sort of drips along with this computer geek synth line, seemingly inane clicky guitar in the background here and there, and the word choices are not the best, but I find it still fun once in awhile when I'm in the mood.

"Wound Up On You" - Ric Ocasek - Elliot Easton dons an acoustic guitar on this one, and it sounds like something that could have been on Ric's solo record the previous year. This is possibly one of the softest of The Cars catalog, but I like it, it's got a good place as "kick back and chill" music.

"Go Away" - Benjamin Orr - This song is almost ahead of it's time, it's got some of that modern world/EDM vibe to it sonically because it's almost all keyboard driven with a buzzy/arpeggiated guitar line from Easton. It's got a bit of a dramatic feel, and Benjamin gives another great vocal performance here (like I said, he sounds like he's top of his game here - where he pretty much stuck till the end). The song whisps along on a heavenly breeze of heavily reverbed tubular bells, and signature cars clickety 8th notes into...

"Door to Door" - Ric Ocasek - A sudden 180 from soft, heavenly, dramatic, keeping the dramatic bit but flipping it to borderline metal or even grunge here before Grunge even was a thing, including a Elliot Easton guitar solo that would make Kurt Cobain smile. The socially conscious lyrics about all the issues of the human world in 1987 (still quite valid today), Ric Ocasek's strangely deadpan but obviously troubled delivery, and a feeling like The Cars are giving it one last hurrah before the end "we're gonna run the motor till it pops" sort of vibe ends the album in a nifty way that was sort of foretelling of the end.

Ben and Ric are both on the top of their singing game on this album, no surprise, Benjamin made The Lace the year before, and Ric already had 3-4 solo records under his belt at this point in his career.

The backing vocals are even more different than ever because gone is Roy Thomas Baker's wall of vocals, or the singular thing of Mutt's production on HBC, but here, they sort of mixed the approaches and it works giving a slight organic feel to something that feels very tight and strong. Overall, I give it an 8, though some lyrics are not as strong as others, and for a hardcore Cars fan like me there's a bit of a bittersweetness in the air because it feels a bit like "this is the last time out (for awhile at least)" to it.

Overall Impression — 7 Compared to the other records, "Door to Door" is last in line, and not a bad last I'll say. Compared to stuff like the first three especially, it sounds dated, same compared to "Shake It Up" or "Heartbeat City," but this could be that it's time to return has not actually come in full force yet.

Compared to other artists at the time, I would have put The Cars in a lineup with Simple Minds, Hall & Oates around this time, and maybe at the hardest Cutting Crew. This was sort of the road ALL New wave acts were going down at that time before they would either join other scenes from the '90s onward. On tour in 1988, The Cars would split up, it was not a fight, or dramatic or anything, they just decided it was time for The Cars to rest for awhile at the very least - and so everyone went off to do their own things...

- Ric Ocasek would go on to continue his solo career, put out artwork, poetry, and prose, marry model Paulina Porzikova, and continue to talent scout for record labels and produce acts, the best known being Weezer's first "Blue Album" in 1995.

- Benjamin Orr continued to play the adult-contemporary scene as a solo act, later forming the band Orr in 1997, and later joining an all-star group in the late '90s/early 2000's called Big People before sadly passing away from Pancreatic Cancer in October 2000 (RIP) whilst still performing right up to the end.

- Elliot Easton eventually joined Creedence Clearwater Revisited in the '90s, as well as forming his own group, Elliot Easton's Tiki God's (which at that point was just Elliot) whom recorded a guitar instrumental called "Monte Carlo Nights" from the Quentin Tarantino movie "Jackie Brown" in 1997. He would go on to form "The New Cars" in 2006 with Todd Rundgren and members of The Tubes, and later rejoin for The Cars most recent album (as of Febuary 2017) Move Like This in 2011.

- Greg Hawkes continued to perform and play, but most notably took up Ukelele and recorded a whole CD of Beatles songs done on Ukelele. He also would moonlight on various act's CD's, and then rejoined Cars-mate Elliot Easton to form The New Cars in '06, and return once again to fill Benjamin's shoes on bass for "Move Like This."

- David Robinson spent some time as an art collector and running a restaurant before coming back to music for "Move Like This" in 2011.

What I love about this album? Well, the fact that The Cars show a total dynamic range and cast of abilities they never have shown before ranging from a almost Smooth Jazz-like style to bordering on something that would hav been big five or six years later. I really think if The Cars had soldiered on they could have possibly taken the style used on the Title track here and carried the band on into the '90s with that and remained relevant - a sure fire sign that Ric and co were looking to the future as much as the past and no better example than the title track.

What I don't like is the kind of dark, seemingly troubled - as thin as it may be - atmosphere. But that could just be the inner fan in me knowing this would be the last Cars record with original work during it's actual time of vintage with Benjamin Orr on bass and vocals.

All in all, I consider "Door to Door" to be a "Time Piece" of the late '80s that never got the recognition it deserved, even with a total rating of seven, it stands up pretty well though some elements may seem dated. That said, they performed some of the BEST live shows they ever did at this point in their careers with regards to this band - check out some of the D2D era bootlegs and things like "Unlocked" or what's been uploaded to YouTube, it's like they unlocked - pun not intended - the whole gamut of Cars music-tech all at once creating a very thick sonic atmosphere that could transport the whole venue wherever te music should take it. Moving in Stereo in this era was a real treat.

Stolen or Lost? Not likely, still have it on Digital, Record, and somewhere at mom's house is my old cassette copy I had since high school (which survived someone's passenger side view mirror smacking the walkman I was listening to it on off my hip, breaking the Door - but hey, it STILL worked afterward - walkman and all). I'd recommend this one more for the hardcore Cars fan than the casual listener though, because I feel it takes some knowledge of the band on a deeper level to appreciate what this album is about.





Genre: new wave

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Move Like This

Company: Hear Music

Catalog: 88972 32907

Country/State: Boston, Massachusetts

Grade (cover/record): NM/NM

Comments: gatefold sleeve; still in shrink (opened), includes download card

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $200.00


In the wake of a brief twenty-four year break, the four surviving Cars (sans bassist Ben Orr who had passed on in 2000), regrouped to release 2011's "Move Life This."  The reunion came as a surprise given Ric Ocasek had previously declared there would never be a Cars reunion and had refused to participate in prior reunion attempts including the dubious The New Cars project.  In fact, the basic material was never intended for a Cars album.  In a Vanity Fair interview Ocasek talked about the album: "It was easy to get the guys back. I wrote these songs without thinking about the Cars, but then all of a sudden I just thought maybe I should just get the guys. They already understand the way I do things. Let’s make another record and let the past be the past. Of course, we’re never going to replace Ben, because he’s irreplaceable. And now I have to sing everything. 


Splitting production duties between the band and Irish producer Jacknife Lee, I have to admit that it's a comeback album that I really enjoyed.  Musically it was instantly recognizable as a Cars project and though singer/bassist Orr was missed (his voice has been way more commercial than Ocasek's), you had to admire the band for going on without a replacement.  Most of the bass parts were programmed on Hawkes' synthesizers with producer Lee occasionally adding bass to a track.  The album also included a nice tribute to Orr - "Ben, your spirit was with us on this one."   Even though the album was met with mixed reviews, I love it.  Maybe it's just me getting old and sentimental, but there was something comforting in hearing Ocasek's dry and neurotic voice.  The band certainly looked a little older, but they sounded great - like they hadn't missed a beat over the past two plus decades.  And while the material may not have reflected major creative growth, it was comforting to play spot-the-influence on tracks like 'Sad Song' (did I detect a touch of 'My Best Friend's Girl?) and the ballad 'Soon' that recalled Orr's beautiful 'Drive.'  As for criticisms the songs weren't catchy; well my ears don't have that problem.  Spotlighting Hawkes' Devo-styled Casio riff, the opener 'Blue Tip' was toe tapping catchy and would not have sounded out of place on their debut album.  Elsewhere 'Too Late', the pounding 'Keep On Knocking' and the beautiful ballad 'Soon' were all wonderful additions to the Cars' catalog.  After the years of ill will, it was nice to hear Ocasek and company putting aside their gripes.  It was also interesting to hear they had a sense of humor - the LP title was apparently inspired by criticisms of their stage show.       


Do I have any complaints?  Well, Orr was clearly missed.  I wish guitarist Elliott Easton had been given more spotlight time and I found Christo Tsiaras' cover to be horrific.


Supported by a brief, eleven date American tour and various television appearances, the album went top 10 on the Billboard rock charts.  


"Move Like This" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Blue Tip  (Ric Ocasek) -  3:13   rating: **** stars

One of five tracks produced by Jacknife Lee, the opener 'Blue Tip' magnificently captured their patented antsy sound.  Too my ears Ocasek didn't sound like he'd aged a day, but the song's secret sauce came in the form of Greg Hawkes' Devo-styled Casio plonking.  It makes me smile every time I hear it.  Though it wasn't tapped as a single, the band released a promotional video for the track: The Cars - Blue Tip - YouTube  YouTube also has a clip of the band's May, 2011 performance of the song on The Jimmy Fallon Show: The Cars Jimmy Fallon Blue Tip - YouTube

2.) Too Late  (Ric Ocasek) - 4:01    rating: **** stars

'Too Late' reflected a slice of classic Cars - Ocasek's quirky lyrics and the band's sweet harmonies made it a song that should have been tapped as a single.

3.) Keep On Knocking  (Ric Ocasek) - 3:52    rating: **** stars

The Cars have seldom rocked as hard as on the aptly titled 'Keep On Knocking.'  Nice showcase for the overlooked Elliot Easton.  The song served as the opening track for their American tour in support of the album.

4.) Soon  (Ric Ocasek) -  4:23    rating: **** stars

'Soon' was one of their prettiest ballads and sounded like a track that had been written for the late Benjamin Orr.  Very much in the 'Drive' school ...  Ocasek even sounded like he was trying to sound a bit like Orr.


(side 2)

5.) Sad Song  (Ric Ocasek) - 3:38    rating: **** stars    

The bouncy 'Sad Song' (yes Ocasek seemingly had a sense of humor), was the perfect vehicle for Ocasek's unique voice.  Musically it was a classic Cars tune, reminding me a touch of 'My Best Friend's Girl'  with just a bit updating.   Easy to see why the song was tagged as the album's only single, eventually hitting # 33 on the US charts.




- 2011's 'Sad Song' b/w 'Blue Tip' (Hear Music catalog number 217-HRM 329-13-7)  








6.) Free  (Ric Ocasek) - 3:17   rating: *** stars

'Maybe not the album's strongest number, but Free' was a nice example of Ocasek's engaging world-play and how tight these guys sounded, even after the lengthy break.  YouTube has their performance of the track on The Jimmy Fallon Show: The Cars: "Free" (Jimmy Fallon) - YouTube

7.) Drag On Forever  (Ric Ocasek) -  3:37     rating: **** stars    

Ah, 'Drag On Forever' was worth hearing as the album's toughest rocker and for the fact Easton was given a shot at the spotlight ...  The little riff he plays kicks the song along like there's no tomorrow.

8.) Take Another Look  (Ric Ocasek) -  4:46     rating: **** stars    

You couldn't help but feel the ballad 'Take Another Look' was one of the song Ocasek wrote with the late Orr in mind.  Orr certainly would have sung it had he still been with us.  Admittedly Ocasek and company didn't an admirable job on vocals.

9.) It's Only  (Ric Ocasek) -  3:01    rating: *** stars

Nice melody, but an also-ran performance for me.

10.) Hits Me  (Ric Ocasek) -  3:51       rating: **** stars    

The combination of Ocasek's dry, brittle vocals, his rhythm guitar and Easton's lead guitar made this one of the album's standout performances.  Dark, ominous and hypnotizing.  That said, the secret ingredient on this one was Hawkes' ominous keyboards.