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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The Cars

The Cars

1978

Buy At Rough Trade
The Cars
Album Summary

The Cars is the debut studio album by American rock band the Cars, released on June 6, 1978, by Elektra Records. Produced by Roy Thomas Baker, the album spawned the singles "Just What I Needed", "My Best Friend's Girl", and "Good Times Roll". It peaked at number 18 on the US Billboard 200 and has been certified six-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Wikipedia

Rating

3.65

Votes

12671
Genres
Rock
New Wave

Reviews

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Thu Feb 10 2022
3

in the world of cars this album would be a ford focus. straight down the middle. not particularly fast, but not slow. not particularly good looking, but not hideous. not particularly economic, but not a gas guzzler. not particularly interesting, but not boring. not particularly cool, but not a ssanyong. just middle.

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Tue May 18 2021
5

I mean, each track is a 5 star track, so what more can really be said about this album? Musically, The Cars nails The mix on Moving in Stereo is fun and meta as they play with the left and right channels. There's a high toned keyboard melody in All Mixed Up that punches out of the left speaker in such a delightful way.

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Fri Feb 05 2021
4

Ok, so.... this is New Wave. BUT. It's also full of iconic tracks for a reason. The Cars might be the best of the new wave movement. Good Times Roll, My Best Friend's Girl, You're All I've Got Tonight, Just What I Needed... monsters of the era. It's synthy but not bloopy. And the guitar tones on You're All I've Got Tonight and Bye Bye Love are killer no matter the genre. It's got an edge and an energy that is just missing from the vast majority of new wave albums. I expected to hate it but didn't. Solid album.

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Fri Jun 18 2021
5

One of my favorite albums of all time, perhaps my favorite pop album of all time. Just an absolute titan from beginning to end 5/5

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Tue Oct 12 2021
5

I'm going to out on a limb and say that more albums have been ruined by off the rack synths than by any other single factor. And yet The Cars, on their debut album, managed to make off the rack synths sound not just funny, like Devo, but actually--gasp--cool! How the hell did they do it? Most importantly, they used synths for either single note contrapuntal lines or color, never chords. Secondly, guitarist Elliot Easton was almost always way up front in the mix. These are very guitar oriented tunes--the synths are generally secondary. The arrangements are like the interlocking gears of a watch, cunningly constructed. There are no extraneous lines or pieces. Everything fits together perfectly. It turns out that Roy Thomas Baker was the perfect producer for The Cars. There is a clarity in the production that encourages the listener to pick out the separate lines in the arrangements. The only way that Baker deviates from this plan is with the vocal choruses, which are big, full, and vibrant. It's a magical combination. Notice I haven't said a thing about the tunes themselves yet. That's because if the elements I mentioned hadn't been present, this album would have sucked big time. As it is, the music gods were smiling down on The Cars because every last tune is a knockout with strong melodies and big fat, rhythmic hooks, performed to perfection by the band, so that the album comes off as loose, hip, modern and most of all fun. And to top it all off, the lyrics are simple enough to understand on a first listen and yet sardonic and multi-layered. There are plenty of albums that are more complex, more ambitious, and more innovative than The Cars' debut, but it would be hard to find one more perfect.

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Wed Apr 10 2024
4

Starts really slow in my opinion but closer to the end the better. Last two tracks (Moving in Stereo and All Mixed Up) are cherry on top of this record. Solid four stars.

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Thu Mar 18 2021
5

This album is so good. No skips. Every song is so fun and iconic, this album is one of my favorites of all time

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Sun Jan 31 2021
5

Incredible. One of the best debut albums of all time.

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Mon Jan 18 2021
5

Another awesome selection from the generator. We do just what I needed in the band I’m in. Love the cars. Such feel good music

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Sat Apr 03 2021
5

Groundbreaking and fun. Perfect little album.

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

I didn't realize how many classic rock songs came from this one album.

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Thu Jul 08 2021
5

Great album from beginning to end. Some of the best power pop ever recorded. Sadly, The Cars never released another LP of this caliber.

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Wed Sep 29 2021
5

Great album start to finish. The Cars have a certain sound and a certain formula that can be heard across most of their songs, but it just WORKS. The beginning of Good Times Roll is such a great opening and the song is simply cool all the way through. In fact, the first three tracks (GTR, My Best Friend's Girl", and "Just What I Needed") are such classics I'd call this a 5 just on those tracks alone, but the rest keeps me interested and wanting to hear this album again and again (and of course "You're All I've Got Tonight" and "Bye Bye Love" are also classics). I'll also point out that this is a great pairing with Blondie's Parallel Lines which we randomly got a few days back. Perfect one-two punch of new wave.

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Wed Oct 06 2021
5

Hit after hit! If you had asked me to name a Cars album, I couldn't have done so, but it turns out I know half of these. Great stuff.

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Tue Jan 25 2022
5

Best debut album ever. The invention of top 40 radio rock. Let the good times roll. So its only 1978(!) and new wave rock already never sounded better than on this Cars album full of catchy songs, all played in their typical highly effective style - somehow they managed to get it right, right from the start. The first three songs are winners and is hard to imagine why one would not instantly like this album very much. And its massive influence is obvious. Think New Pornographers, Weezer, Urge Overkill, the Strokes etc etc

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Wed Jul 20 2022
5

Fantastic rock album. Each song in the first half can be a hit in its own right, with the second half more experimental. The synth and harmonies paired up with their straight rock n roll sound makes this such a classic and it many way timeless as almost a first pop punk album, closer to early 2000s rock than contemporary albums.

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Fri May 07 2021
3

enjoyed this - wee bit dated, but good tunes and tight band.

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Fri Jul 02 2021
3

The Cars fait partie de ces groupes formés de l'article "The" et d'un nom commun au pluriel (exemple: The Doors et son imperturbable organiste Manzarek). Pour autant, ce n'est pas aux Doors que le style des Cars nous fait penser mais bien à celui de Queen. L'album s'ouvre en effet sur une introduction intitulée "We Are The Winners" suivie du titre "Don't Block Me Now". Quelques pistes plus tard apparaît soudain le titre "Nonconformist Rhapsody". Pas assez flagrant pour vous peut-être ? Alors comment expliquez-vous que le dernier morceau s'appelle "We Will Move You" et que l'on voit dans son clip le batteur taper deux fois ses mains sur ses cuisses avant de les taper une fois entre elles ? Rendez-vous à l'évidence..

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Sun Jan 03 2021
5

Classic. Great songs and sounds.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

Already listened! A personal favorite

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Thu May 06 2021
5

I love the cars, but it's one of those bands I never know it's them until someone points it out. It helps that I love the first song on the album. OOOOOO I know the 2nd one too. Yeah no doubt, I like this album a lot.

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Thu May 13 2021
5

Love this album. The first 3 tracks are absolute gold and it doesn't really drop off too far from there. I've loved Just What I Needed for years and can't believe it's taken this long to give the rest of the record a run. Amazing.

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Thu Aug 04 2022
5

Heartbeat City was one of my absolute favorite albums when I was a teen. I was less familiar with this one, but many of its songs are well known classics to me. I really enjoyed this trip to their origin point! It does feel like they helped create the sound of the 80s by going beyond guitar-bass-drum rock. "Moving in Stereo" really feels like we're there already.

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Wed Aug 31 2022
5

Perfect timing, since I was fantasizing about a smokin' Phoebe Cates coming out of the pool and removing her top. So I guess you could say this was...just what I needed.

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Wed Oct 05 2022
5

-S Tier- Good Times Roll My Best Friend’s Girl Just What I Needed I’m in Touch with Your World Don’t Cha Stop You’re All I’ve Got Tonight Bye Bye Love Moving in Stereo -A Tier- All Mixed Up AVG SCORE: 4.89 / 5.0 - - - Not only is there not a single skippable song on this album, this is one the closest albums to musical perfection as far as I’m concerned. Absolutely transcendent.

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Mon May 29 2023
5

Pretty much a perfect pop-rock album. I frequently make the mistake of thinking it a key album of the 80s but, of course, it pre-dates the 80s - which speaks even more highly of its achievement, I think, in setting a strong tone for many other releases that followed it. It's not an album I turn to very often, but every time I do I'm reminded that it's just so damn good!

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Sat Apr 06 2024
5

It always blows my mind to go back and see how many great songs came off the first album of classic bands. The Cars is no exception. This album makes me love the Cars al over again. I can’t imagine anyone not liking it.

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Wed Dec 15 2021
4

I dig this so much...in spots. No one swallows his histrionics the way Ric Ocasek does. To me, this music is all the updated swing and swagger of 50s rock for the contemporary new wave crowd. This must be one of the earliest examples of power pop, and it's all just so pure. Yep. "Moving in Stereo" would be the perfect song to strip to.

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Sat Sep 23 2023
4

Devo for people who wear pea coats. Excellent synths on this record, though.

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Mon Oct 23 2023
4

for me, The Cars are probably the definition of a Greatest Hits band, classic singles but the sound is so characteristic that the album tracks become a bit samey. Probably unfair on this album as it's their debut and 2/3 of the tracks are played to death on the radio but there you go. Great album, buy the Greatest Hits!

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Tue Mar 19 2024
4

I love the Cars. This is a tremendous (debut) album, chock full of hits. Punchy pop, immediately puts me in a good mood. Rock on.

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Wed Apr 10 2024
4

Love the hits on this album!

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Thu Dec 23 2021
3

This is good fun, but not necessarily essential. It is fun new wave catchy singalong pop. Good driving (no pun intended) rhythms with occasional proper long guitar solos! The vocal hooks are bubblegum! A very high 3, maybe a 4 with more familiarity.

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Thu Nov 16 2023
2

Basic. Boring. This is really not a great album. It doesn't belong on this list. Nothing of any real interest going on here. Sounds and feels hollow.

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Tue Nov 21 2023
2

There's only one good Cars song (Drive) and it's not on this album. L +

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Thu Nov 16 2023
1

Sounds like the very definition of american FM rock. Kinda sounds bland to me.

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Thu Feb 18 2021
5

Never knew about these guys. Pretty good!

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Thu Jan 28 2021
5

The cars sound like the cars

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Tue Jan 19 2021
5

Didn’t realize I knew so much about Cars

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Mon Jun 14 2021
5

4.7 - Everything I love about Boston. The fucking attitude. The speed. The intelligence, craft and skill. Everything you want packed into 37 minutes, kid!

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Tue Mar 30 2021
5

Clásico. Lo mejor en el power pop de los Beatles pre drogas y los Nerves.

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Sun Jun 27 2021
5

This album and band’s influence is over so many things I’ve liked for most of my life

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Tue Jun 01 2021
5

5/5 Love the album. Fav songs are (Just what I needed, Good Times Roll, Best Friends Girl). Iconic album.

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Fri Aug 13 2021
5

5/5. This is the kind of album you expect to find on a list like this. Every song is great.

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Wed Sep 08 2021
5

One of the classics, so many good tracks.

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Sun Sep 19 2021
5

I thought the three songs "I'm In Touch with Your World", "Don't Cha Stop", and "All Mixed Up" were pretty bad but the rest of the album was so good they more than made up for it. 4.5 stars.

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Mon Sep 20 2021
5

September 17, 2021 Love them.

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Fri Sep 24 2021
5

Oh yea Let The Good Times Roll. I hear DEVO and hair rock in this, blended together for mutual benefit. The first 3 tracks on this album are some of the best openers ever. This album kicks ass. Its like a best of but its the first release.

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Fri Sep 24 2021
5

Overall this was a really good album, no huge stand out songs, but this is what I want when listening to a full album 4.7

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Wed Sep 29 2021
5

Like other new wave bands, I'm not sure any of the members of The Cars are going to win awards for their outstanding playing ability. But they are plenty capable. And their song-writing ability is very high. I am not ashamed to profess my love for the catchy Good Times Roll and My Best Friend's Girl. And I think they do well to show their multidimensionality with the edgier sounding Just What I Needed or Moving in Stereo. I know the former is one of their most popular, but it has a lot of depth and is less poppy than others. It's almost one of those albums that is good from front all the way to back. Tracks 4 and 9 are ho-hum and Track 5 is fun but not as good as the others. Still, I'll let that slide. Their later albums never matched the same high, but this album is one of the best new wave / pop rock albums of all time.

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Tue Nov 09 2021
5

All but three songs on this album have been FM radio staples as long as I've been paying attention and this is a debut, it's difficult to imagine an album have that kind of pop cultural impact today, I think it would be impossible.

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Tue Nov 09 2021
5

This album was amazing. Really creative use of electronic and effects. Original song writing. The well known hits from the album are perfect pop, and the unknown tracks are excellent gems in originality.

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Wed Nov 10 2021
5

Superbe album got hooked from the start

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Mon Nov 15 2021
5

10/10: Might as well be a greatest hits album.

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Tue Nov 16 2021
5

Outstanding one of the best ever!

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Tue Nov 23 2021
5

I love the Cars. This album has several of my favorite Cars songs on it. Amazing album

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Mon Nov 29 2021
5

Only knew moving in stereo beforehand, loved the sound of the rest of the album, almost queen-like.

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Wed Dec 22 2021
5

One of my favorites. It's so much fun and it's The Cars man!

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Sat Jan 15 2022
5

What a debut. One of the best debut albums of all time. The Cars arrived with this album, fully formed. The first three songs is a career for most bands. 5 🌟

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Sat Jan 29 2022
5

Amazing album all the way through. Made me smile when I heard it because it’s just so much fun.

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Thu Feb 03 2022
5

A defining moment in New Wave, setting an example for the genre for years to come. Just like Parallel Lines, it's an incredibly well-polished pop masterpiece with a strong reliance on synths, dance rhythms, and punk-inspired vocals and instrumentals. 9 tracks, 6 of which are top-tier hits that could each stand on their own. The production is among the best of the era, everyone is well-mixed, nothing is overwhelming or taking too much of the spotlight. The guitar, synths, vocalist, drums, bassist... they all sound fantastic. You have your guitar solos. Your innovative synth effects that showcase how crazy you could take the genre. And not to mention you could dance, sing along, shake your head, whatever, to any of the tracks. There are 3 unusual tracks here. "I'm in touch with your world" is one of those avant garde pieces, reminds me of "Mother" on Synchronicity, but more akin to their postpunk contemporaries. It grows, but understandably some people couldn't stand it. "Don't Cha Stop" is a bit on the boring track, probably my least favorite, but if you like their signature sound, you couldn't hate it. Finally, the closing "All Mixed Up" is a really good track on its own, it's hard for me to call it a weak track, but it stands against the pop monsters of the other tracks. Hardly any weaknesses. All tracks are really good. Deserves a perfect score, doesn't it?

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Sat Feb 12 2022
5

Dynamic, engaging pop rock. Well ahead of its time. One of my new favourite bands.

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Tue Feb 22 2022
5

I had no idea that I was a Cars fan. I know their releases, and liked them well enough, but this whole album was stellar!

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Thu Mar 03 2022
5

I remember this album well. I was 15.

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Sun Mar 06 2022
5

Wore out my vinyl copy of this when I was young. What an album!

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Mon Mar 07 2022
5

This is a damn impressive album. Five all-time greats on one album. The fact that this was their demo makes it 10 times more impressive.

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Thu Mar 10 2022
5

-"Good Times Roll," "My best Friend's Girl," "Just What I Needed," 'Don't Cha Stop," and "You're All I've Got Tonight" are all classic radio hits of various sizes. All very catchy and fun -"I'm in Touch with Your World" has an unexpected change to some spookyness, very cool -All greeat, totally class rock tracks

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Thu Mar 24 2022
5

Amazing. This is an all-timer.

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Thu Mar 24 2022
5

Love this album, My mom says I hated it as a kid but I don't remember that.

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Fri Apr 22 2022
5

I consider this a perfect album. Completely solid from start to finish without a wasted note. They struck the ideal balance between good old fashioned rock and roll and new wave synth flourish. Some of the catchiest tunes ever recorded.

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Fri Apr 22 2022
5

For a while this was one of the few vinyl albums my housemate and I owned, and it would get a lot of spins. Plays like a greatest hits album, and brightens the mood instantly. Love the sound of this album.

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Tue Apr 26 2022
5

Lots of unexpected nostalgia from an album where I couldn't have even named the band. Loved it.

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Tue May 03 2022
5

Can't go wrong with new wave.

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Thu May 05 2022
5

I really like this album so far. Easy to listen to, very catchy on the first listen. I've heard one of their bigger hits (Just What I Needed) before, but The Cars were not a band that I was explored previously. I will definitely be looking into some of their other albums. Moving in Stereo is a jam!

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Mon May 09 2022
5

When I first encountered this list, I immediately started guessing what albums would be on it. This was one of my first 10 guesses.

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Tue May 24 2022
5

Love this album immediately, bit of new wave with mixed with classic rock. It’s a perfect blend of the two; catchy songs; lovely upbeat feel. This album is right up my alley, have to give it a 10/10. Going to listen to this album for a very long time.

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Sat Jun 25 2022
5

10/10 - really good new-wave I can't decide what my favorite song is, probably the one that's everybody's favorite: Just What I Needed anyway, just an all-around really great album honestly don't have any complaints, can't wait to hear their other stuff, hope it holds up to this

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Tue Jul 05 2022
5

Very impressive debut full of hits.

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Wed Jul 13 2022
5

Nice classic rock album, first 3 songs are hits. The rest are pretty good too! Nice summer album

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Mon Jul 18 2022
5

Way more singles off of this than I had remembered, good nostalgia listening.

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Sat Jul 30 2022
5

Has there ever been a stronger collection of songs on a debut album....a truly remarkable effort. 5 🌟

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Thu Aug 04 2022
5

I’ve loved this album since I discovered it as a pre-teen. It has been unusual in that with the move to digital and streaming music I consistently continue to mostly listen to the album in its entirety. I really miss hearing the songs in context when they are played individually. This album is a keyboard/synth masterpiece. As every song ends I anticipate the next one and to not hear it is a real disappointment. Just seeing the cover fills me with happiness. I’m shocked to read that “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” was never released as a single! And shocked that only the first three songs on the album were. There are at least three more that I would have sworn were also singles. I’ve never tired of listening to this album and likely never will. The Cars has been on my personal soundtrack for most of my life. I don’t expect that to ever change.

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