Friday, March 7, 2008

CD Review: It's Alive!

1) Just What I Needed
2) Let's Go
3) Candy-O
4) You Might Think
5) My Best Friend's Girl
6) I Saw the Light
7) You're All I've Got Tonight
8) Not Tonight
9) Drive
10) Moving in Stereo
11) Shake It Up
12) Dangerous Type
13) Bye Bye Love
14) Open My Eyes
15) Good Times Roll
16) Not Tonight
17) Warm
18) More
The Cars are back! Sort of. Original bassist Benjamin Orr passed away, and singer Ric Ocasek and drummer David Robinson bailed.
So guitarist Elliot Easton and keyboardist Greg Hawkes from forming the New Cars with three fine musicians, drummer Prairie Prince, bassist Kasim Sulton, and singer Todd Rundgren. It's good to see the band, sort of, back. Now was a good time to return, what with the Cars' influence on popular modern-day bands such as Fountains of Wayne and the Killers.
Rundgren sings in the patented Cars style, backed by the familiar mechanical but rocking instrumentals. You can't call this a half-assed reunion, because the new band delivers solid versions of all the classics. "Just What I Needed", "Let's Go", "You Might Think"...they're all here, and this album is the perfect introduction to a great band.
The new songs aren't bad, either! "Not Tonight" blends right in with the old stuff, with Rundgren belting out the lead and the others providing lovely backing vocals. Things slow down with "Warm", a cheesy faux-80s ballad, complete with synthesizer riffs and the Phil Collins drum machine. The rock returns with the riff-filled "More", an upbeat tune in the classic Cars vein.
Not familiar with the Cars? That's a shame if you aren't, because they made great music both despite and because of their quirks. Check out this new live album and introduce yourself.
****1/3 out of five

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