Fire and Water Records: The Cars

You might think they're crazy, but the Daly Brothers are back to pay tribute to Ric Ocasek. Join Ryan and Neil as they share and discuss their favorite songs by The Cars.

Track list

  1. All Mixed Up
  2. You Might Think
  3. Bye Bye Love
  4. Moving in Stereo
  5. Let's Go
  6. My Best Friend's Girl
  7. You're All I've Got Tonight
  8. Drive
  9. Magic
  10. I'm Not the One
  11. Tonight She Comes
  12. Shake It Up
  13. Just What I Needed
  14. Since You're Gone

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6 responses to “Fire and Water Records: The Cars

  1. Nice tribute to the Cars.
    I guess I’m showing my age by saying that I first became aware of the Cars when they first became incredibly popular (o.k. I was about 10/11 yrs old at the time) and “Let’s Go” was getting massive radio airplay – so I found it amusing that Neil first heard the Chipmunks version. To me, that’s the most quintessential Cars song ever.
    Anyway, I used to have their first album, Candy-O and Shake It Up on cassette and played them until they wore out. However, by the end of high school, I sort of stopped listening to them, and only really started listening to their music again when it became easy to find any one of their songs on YouTube – and I remembered how damn good they were.
    That’s a good selection of their songs, but I’m a bit surprised that “It’s All I Can Do,” which is think is by far the best Cars song ever, didn’t make the cut…

    And by the way, Paulina Porizkova is not Ukrainian, but rather Czech – just as, interestingly enough, Ocasek was half-Czech, while Benjamin Orr, real surname Orzechowski (not sure if he was related to Tom), was of Polish/Russian heritage.

  2. Hearing all those clips reminded me, damn, this band wrote some catchy tunes!

    My favorite: “Since You’re Gone.: Lyrically it has a little more meat on its bones than some of their other pop hits, but is still super catchy. Good show guys!

  3. I think you could start a FW Records drinking game. Take a shot every time the Smashing Pumpkins are referenced, and you’re sure to be, well…smashed, by episode’s end. 😉

    Seriously, this was a fun show. The Cars are a band I always liked, but for some reason never really followed. I too met them through Chipmunk Punk! Although I think I knew “Lets Go” was a real song, thanks to my older sister. A few years later, and MTV introduced me to the band properly. They had some of the best videos. I loved “Magic” (we referenced Rick Ocasek’s walking-on-water when Zod did the same trick in Superman 2 Movie Minute), and “Drive” in particular, although I didn’t “get” the video at first. My sister had to explain the girl (Ocaseck’s future wife) was addicted to drugs or alcohol. Hey, I was only like 9 or something.

    In my teen years, a local classic rock station played a lot of Cars, so I was well acquainted with their hits and singles, and some of those deep tracks Neil spoke of. I was always glad to hear them.

    Phoebe Cates…Ryan, you’re bringing up all the early crushes this week. You’re on a roll.

    Great show guys. You reminded me how much I like The Cars. Mission accomplished!


    PS, thanks for the final needle drop. Flashbacks!!!

  4. If you ask me to list my favorite musical genres, New Wave will always come up, and The Cars are exactly the sort of band you picture when conjuring related imagery. I tend to categorize artists based on whether I’m an albums fan or a greatest hits one. I’ve never felt compelled to dive into the Cars catalog, and in fact never even paid for a singles collection (what is the statute of limitations on Limewire,) but I’m certainly very fond of the radio hits.

    1. I also assumed due to video representation that Ric Ocasek was the sole singer, and know very few of the Benjamin Orr songs.All Mixed Up isn’t one of them.

    2. Like everyone else, I studied the vanguard video for You Might Think, and it was almost certainly my introduction to the group. Definitely a sing-along, although nostalgia plays into that heavily.

    3. Don’t think I’ve heard this one before.

    4. I was never that into Fast Times at Ridgement High (more of a Porky’s II: The Next Day guy) so I didn’t even know Moving in Stereo was a Cars song until probably the 21st Century. I’m also more of a Jennifer Jason Leigh than a Phoebe Cates guy (Paradise notwithstanding,) so that sequence wasn’t as, er, formative for me as, say, Mathilda May in the first reel of Lifeforce. Anyway, very cool number.

    5. “Let’s Go” isn’t just my favorite Cars song, but the only contender as a lifetime soundtrack cut, as its sound and key sentiment resonate with me. I too love the nightlife, baby, although it’s ruined for me by all the fetishistizing of a teenager. I’m sorry, but I’d have trouble spending an uninterrupted hour with a seventeen-year-old, much less a night, and not for Phoebe Cates reasons. She’d be cuing up Logan Paul or a K-Pop video and I’d be leaping out the nearest window, whether or not it was open. But that raunchy synth is wicked, as are lines about frozen fire and risque mouths.

    6. Due to their similarities in subject and tone, “My Best Friend’s Girl” always reminds me of Rick Springfield, and that’s a big part of why I don’t deep dive. Ric Ocasek’s vocals are extremely limited, and topics are mostly just left-of-douchey. They’re the slightly hip, slightly dorky, “nice guys” of new wave. They won’t force you to give them a hummer in the hot tub like Tommy Lee, but they also don’t see the harm in using a panty raid as cover to install surveillance cameras in the Pi Delta Pi dorm. Ric Ocasek is the guy who’d leave his wife of 17 years for an 18 year old Czech model he met on a video shoot, and that kinda comes across in the music.

    Anyway, I agree with you both about the rockabilly. A huge part of what made Elvis and the Beatles was not their invention, but their collecting sounds from other cultures and importing them to ignorant white audiences. In the ’70s, marrying post-punk to more familiar genres like doo-wop probably gave acts like David Bowie and Blondie inroads into mainstream audiences, but decades divorced from that context, it’s easy to miss what would have been obvious influences in their time. The ’70s were immersed in ’50s nostalgia as the ’80s would be the ’60s, which led to the quasi-roots rock of the Seattle sound going into the ’90s. I don’t think the ’70s influences were as overt in ’90s music, but they certainly weren’t absent.

    7-8. “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” & “Drive” are a (bitter)sweet spot in this collection. They’re both darker than average singles, and have held up better over the years than their stickier stuff. I believe I heard “Drive” for the first time from a bowling alley jukebox where I was disappointed because I thought I was selecting the theme song from Hardcastle and McCormick, but I still thought it was pretty good. I especially like that it’s the one tune that’s aware of its misogyny– the singer knows that he’s bringing nothing to the relationship but his own toxicity, and is mourning that realization while still trying to pitch radioactive woo.

    9. I think I did the exact same thing as “Drive” with “Magic, ” thinking it was the Mick Smiley Ghostbusters tune. I also tripped out over the walking on water, though I did notice the shallow waves across the clear platform eventually. Fun tune.

    10-11. Wasn’t familiar with either of these, but dug “I’m Not the One.” I also had an Alvin & The Chipmunks covers album, but the one I remember is “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” where Alvin keeps replacing “cowboys” with “chipmunks” (and Dave keeps yelling at him for it.) That closing needle dropped through my eardrum into the back of my right eyeball. How old is seventeen in chipmunk years, anyway?

    12. Again, “Shake It Up” is sonically a blast, but limited by Ocasek’s range.

    13-14. As mentioned, I have other favorites like “Let’s Go” and “Drive,” but “Just What I Needed” is probably #3. The guitars are especially nice on this one. The closer was new to me, and I wasn’t into the chorus, I’m afraid. Again, I think my Cars problem is that they’re just too poppy for me, and this one highlights that. “More cowbell!”

  5. Fun episode guys! I found this one several months after you released it, hence the late post date. I too spent some time revisiting Cars songs in my iTunes after Ocasek’s passing.

    I was always aware of the Cars in the early to mid-80s but was only mildly interested in them at that time. My sister bought the greatest hits cassette from the late 80s, and I spent more time listening to it than she did. I got hooked on the track and video for “Tonight She Comes”, the new song in the package.

    I bought several of their albums on CD a few years ago (still prefer CD to MP3/ download format) and Heartbeat City is my favorite….it is known for the hits, but many of the lesser-known tracks (Hello Again, It’s Not the Night, I Refuse) are some of my favorites.

    Keep up the great work on the podcast. I will attempt to keep up!

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