The Cars’ Best Song On Each Of Their Studio Albums

The Cars Songs

Feature Photo: The Cars’ Best Song On Each Of Their Studio Albums

As I have written multiple times on this site, when I first heard The Cars on the radio back in 1978, I could have sworn the band was from Britain. The Cars just sounded so British to me. It really was in their vocal sound. As the band became popular quickly, we all learned they were from Boston. Ultimately, it didn’t matter because the Cars were a brand new brand, with a very original sound fueled by some fantastic songs. Their first two albums remain two of my favorite albums of the 1970s. So, picking the best song from each album will be quite challenging. Nonetheless, it’s all in good fun.

The Cars – “Just What I Needed”

The chalk wins this one. Of course, it’s always cool to pick one of the deeper tracks as the best song, but it’s also important to stay honest. One of the factors I try to use when picking the best song for these album lists is how I felt the first time I heard them. “Just What I Needed” knocked me out. It still does. I have to admit, I was blown away by how good every other song was too. Other favorites include “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” and “Moving in Stereo.”

Candy-O – “Dangerous Type”

The Cars did not disappoint their fans with their follow-up album. Candy-O  was a huge hit. The lead single, “Let’s Go,” was fabulous, as Benjamin Orr nailed the vocal on that one. The Cars released three singles from the album “Let’s Go,” “It’s All I Can Do,” and
“Double Life. ” However, I thought the best song on the record was the album’s closing track, “Dangerous Type,” sung by Ric Ocasek.  I love that keyboard line between verses, and the chorus is so killer. 

Panorama – “Don’t Tell Me No”

Panorama has always been The Cars album that has not gotten a lot of love from the band’s fans. After their first two brilliant albums, there was bound to be a slight letdown. Yet the truth is, it’s not a bad album. The single “Touch and Go” had a catchy chorus, but it lacked that Cars new wave energy found on their first two albums. The choice here is Orr’s “Dont Tell Me No.” I love how he sings with that attitude of his at the start of the song “Its My Party, you can come…”

Shake It Up – “Since You’re Gone”

Surprisingly, by the time The Cars were set to release their fourth album, Shake It Up, they had never achieved a top ten single on the Billboard Hot 100. That changed with the release of the Shake It Up album, as the lead single, which was also the title track, finally broke them into the Billboard Hot 100 top ten. Nonetheless, the pick here is the album’s opening cut, “Since You’re Gone,” which also became the album’s second single release.

Heartbeat City – “Drive”

Heartbeat City was a massive success for The Car. After the release of Panorama I don’t think anybody was expecting an album like this. The band released six singles off this album. “You Might Think,” “Magic,” “Drive,” “Hello Again,” “Why Can’t I Have You,” and “Heartbeat City.” In the end, the pick goes to Benjamin Orr’s stunning performance on the captivating song “Drive.”

Door To Door – “Strap Me In”

The band’s final album with Benjamin Orr was released in 1987. After the massive success of Heartbeat City, Door To Door turned out to be a major disappointment across the board. The original band turned out to really only have a ten-year run of releasing studio albums. The pick here is the rocking track “Strap Me In” sung by Ric Ocasek. It was also the album’s second single release.

Move Like This – “Blue Tip”

After Benjamin Orr passed away, there was a strange reformation of the band with Todd Rundgren as the lead singer, Prairie Prince on drums, and Kasim Sulton on bass. Only Elliot Easton and Greg Hawkes participated in what was called The New Cars. No one ever expected the original band, minus Benjamin Orr, to get together again and record a new album. But that’s what they did. In the end, it was a pretty good record too. It would be the final Cars album ever, especially since Ric Ocasek passed away in 2019. It’s so sad that both Ric and Benjamin are gone. There were many good songs on this album, but my favorite was the album opener “Blue Tip.”

The Cars’ Best Song On Each Of Their Studio Albums article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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