The Cars – The Complete Elektra Albums Box (2016) [HDTracks FLAC 24bit/192kHz]

The Cars – The Complete Elektra Albums Box (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz  | Time – 03:57:30 minutes | 8,92 GB | Genre: Pop
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Booklet, Front Cover | © Rhino/Elektra

The Cars are an American new wave band that first formed in 1976 in Boston, Massachusetts. This box set includes a whopping 60 tracks of early Cars material featuring digital remastering supervised by frontman Ric Ocasek. Albums in this box set include The Elektra Years includes The Cars (1978), Candy-O (1979), Panorama (1980), Shake It Up (1981), Heartbeat City, (1984) and Door to Door (1987).

The Cars – The Cars (1978/2016) [Remastered]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 35:10 minutes | 1,33 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

The Cars’ 1978 self-titled debut, issued on the Elektra label, is a genuine rock masterpiece. The band jokingly referred to the album as their “true greatest-hits album,” but it’s no exaggeration – all nine tracks are new wave/rock classics, still in rotation on rock radio. Whereas most bands of the late ’70s embraced either punk/new wave or hard rock, The Cars were one of the first bands to do the unthinkable – merge the two styles together. Add to it bandleader/songwriter Ric Ocasek’s supreme pop sensibilities, and you had an album that appealed to new wavers, rockers, and Top 40 fans. One of the most popular new wave songs ever, “Just What I Needed,” is an obvious highlight, as are such familiar hits as “Good Times Roll,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” and “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight.” But like most consummate rock albums, the lesser-known compositions are just as exhilarating: “Don’t Cha Stop,” “Bye Bye Love,” “All Mixed Up,” and “Moving in Stereo,” the latter featured as an instrumental during a steamy scene in the popular movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High. With flawless performances, songwriting, and production (courtesy of Queen alumni Roy Thomas Baker), The Cars’ debut remains one of rock’s all-time classics.

01 – Good Times Roll
02 – My Best Friend’s Girl
03 – Just What I Needed
04 – I’m In Touch With Your World
05 – Don’t Cha Stop
06 – You’re All I’ve Got Tonight
07 – Bye Bye Love
08 – Moving In Stereo
09 – All Mixed Up

The Cars – Candy-O (1979/2016) [Remastered]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 36:31 minutes | 1,33 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

Since the Cars had created a perfect album with their 1978 self-titled debut, it would be nearly impossible to top it. Instead of laboring long and hard over a follow-up like many ’70s bands did after a huge commercial success, the band cranked out their sophomore effort, Candy-O, almost exactly one year later from the first LP. And while the album was not as stellar as its predecessor was, it did contain several classics, resulting in another smash album that solidified the band’s standing as one of the most promising new bands of the late ’70s. The first single, the Top 20 anthem “Let’s Go,” proves to be the best track, but plenty of other standouts can be found as well. The title track remains one of the band’s best rockers, while the gentle “It’s All I Can Do” also deserved to be a hit. The band pays tribute to T. Rex on “Dangerous Type” (the main guitar riff resembles “Bang a Gong”), rocks out on “Got a Lot on My Head” and “Night Spots,” shows their softer side on “Since I Held You,” and embraces modern pop on “Double Life” and “Lust for Kicks.” Their second strong release in a row, Candy-O proved that the Cars were not one-hit wonders, like so many other bands from the same era.

01 – Let’s Go
02 – Since I Held You
03 – It’s All I Can Do
04 – Double Life
05 – Shoo Be Doo
06 – Candy-O
07 – Night Spots
08 – You Can’t Hold On Too Long
09 – Lust For Kicks
10 – Got A Lot On My Head
11 – Dangerous Type

The Cars – Panorama (1980/2016) [Remastered]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 40:32 minutes | 1,5 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

For their third album, 1980’s Panorama, the Cars decided to challenge their fans with an album unlike its predecessors. Whereas The Cars and Candy-O were both comprised of instantly catchy and distinctly tuneful songs, Panorama was much darker and not as obvious – an attempt at breaking away from the expected winning formula. Still, the album was embraced by their fans and hit number five on the charts, although it was the only Cars release not to spawn a true hit single (the closest thing to a hit was “Touch and Go,” which peaked at number 37). Standouts included the swirling title track that opens the album, as well as the aforementioned “Touch and Go,” which merges off-time keyboard flourishes with some great textural guitar work by Elliot Easton. “Gimme Some Slack” proved to be a fierce rocker, as did the underrated album closer, “Up and Down,” while their softer side was represented by “You Wear Those Eyes.” Many would consider such tracks as “Down Boys,” “Misfit Kid,” and “Getting Through” throwaways, but others are strong, just not as well known as some of the other material (“Don’t Tell Me No,” “Running to You”). It may not be as instantly rewarding as other Cars albums, but Panorama improves with each listen.

01 – Panorama
02 – Touch and Go
03 – Gimme Some Slack
04 – Don’t Tell Me No
05 – Getting Through
06 – Misfit Kid
07 – Down Boys
08 – You Wear Those Eyes
09 – Running To You
10 – Up And Down

The Cars – Shake It Up (1981/2016) [Remastered]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 40:43 minutes | 1,48 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

By augmenting their sound with more synthesizers, electronics, and drum machines, the Cars’ fourth release, Shake It Up, helped bridge their hard rock-based early work (1978’s The Cars) with the futuristic-pop direction of 1984’s Heartbeat City. The band’s sound may have been evolving with each succeeding album, but Ric Ocasek was still writing compelling new wave compositions despite all the change, many of which would ultimately become rock & roll standards. The up-tempo title track remains a party favorite to this day (reaching number four on the singles charts), while the melancholic “Since You’re Gone” remains one of Ocasek’s best-ever tales of heartbreak. Intriguing videos were made for both songs, officially introducing the band to the MTV age. Like its predecessor, 1980’s Panorama, filler is present (“This Could Be Love,” “Maybe Baby”), but many lesser-known album tracks prove to be highlights: the almost entirely synth-oriented tracks “Think It Over” and “A Dream Away,” the rocking “Cruiser,” plus the more pop-oriented “I’m Not the One” and “Victim of Love.” Although Shake It Up was another resounding commercial success, their next album would be the one that made the Cars one of rock’s quintessential acts of the ’80s.

01 – Since You’re Gone
02 – Shake It Up
03 – I’m Not The One
04 – Victim Of Love
05 – Cruiser
06 – A Dream Away
07 – This Could Be Love
08 – Think It Over
09 – Maybe Baby

The Cars – Heartbeat City (1984/2016) [Remastered]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 38:38 minutes | 1,54 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

MTV had become a major marketing tool by 1984, and the Cars were one of the first bands to use the new video medium to their advantage. The band’s fifth album, Heartbeat City (Elektra), spawned several imaginative and memorable videos, which translated into massive chart and commercial success, making it one of the biggest releases of the year. Produced by hitmaker John “Mutt” Lange (AC/DC, Def Leppard), the album included two Top Ten singles – the ballad “Drive” and the charismatic “You Might Think” – plus an additional two that landed in the Top 20: the summer anthem “Magic” and the eccentric “Hello Again.” But it didn’t just stop there, plenty of other tracks could have been hits as well, such as the sparse rocker “It’s Not the Night” and the breezy pop of “Looking for Love.” Other highlights included the ethereal title track, the melodic rocker “Stranger Eyes,” and the moderately paced love song “Why Can’t I Have You.” Although the Cars experienced their greatest success yet with Heartbeat City, it would unfortunately not last for long – after just one more studio album (1987’s spotty Door to Door), the band split up.

01 – Hello Again
02 – Looking For Love
03 – Magic
04 – Drive
05 – Stranger Eyes
06 – You Might Think
07 – It’s Not The Night
08 – Why Can’t I Have You
09 – I Refuse
10 – Heartbeat City

The Cars – Door To Door (1987/2016) [Remastered]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 45:55 minutes | 1,71 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

Even Ric Ocasek’s own production couldn’t save Door to Door from being a rather lackluster album, failing to capture the type of magic that the Cars instilled on past releases. Their last Top 40 single, “You Are the Girl,” peaked at number 17 in September of 1987, while efforts like “Strap Me In” and the album’s most melodious tune, “Coming Up You,” failed to crack the number 50 mark. Missing from the album is the usual Cars chemistry, made up of Ocasek’s crisp vocals and Elliot Easton’s animated, hook-infused guitar work. Instead, tracks like “Go Away” and “Double Trouble” yield to murky instrumentation and subpar rock formulas. Even with some companionable keyboard playing from Greg Hawkes, which rises above any of the album’s guitar contributions, the music on Door to Door neglects the savvy pop jump that normally comes from the Cars’ music. With humdrum rhythms and cloudy melodies replacing any hint of pop depth, the album itself peaked at number 26 in the U.S. and a dismal number 72 in the U.K. The reason for Ocasek’s lack of vigor and loss of desire became apparent in February of the next year when the breakup of the Cars was publicly announced.

01 – Leave Or Stay
02 – You Are The Girl
03 – Double Trouble
04 – Fine Line
05 – Everything You Say
06 – Ta Ta Wayo Wayo
07 – Strap Me In
08 – Coming Up On You
09 – Wound Up On You
10 – Go Away
11 – Door To Door



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