Move Like This

The Cars

Hear Music, 2011

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck


What it all boils down to is that the money is just too damn good. The need for an audience, the resurrection of the creative juices, old wounds finally healing – sure, these play a part in the game. But no matter how many different reasons you may hear, rest assured that in the end the dollar signs matter more than anything.

The bigger question is what the hell is wrong with that at all? If there is a demand for a product, why shouldn’t someone put it out there? Better you than someone else to come along and steal your brand, right? And besides, the fans are getting what they want! John Lennon famously stated that there was no need for a Beatles reunion because the records were all there forever to be listened to. It may be true, but that won’t stop the fan from clamoring for more moments that remind them of their youth, their first love, their first breakup.

In the end, they are lucky if a record will come close to recapturing the glory days. It’s a nearly impossible task for reasons too obvious to state. Time changes all, no matter how perfect a reunion seems from the outside. Even The Beatles couldn’t defy the odds with their Anthology reunion tracks, pleasant as they may have been. Expectations will always outweigh the results.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Perhaps the only artists that can potentially overcome these obstacles are the ones who have no such expectations. If one were to say The Eagles or The Police were releasing a new album, such an announcement would immediately set the musical blogosphere on fire. When your resume contains the phrase “diamond or 20x platinum selling record,” there’s going to be buzz.

This is not meant to imply that The Cars were some garage band akin to the Velvet Underground. From the get-go, the group was capable of selling out arenas, and has multiple platinum selling records to their name. Even their acrimonious breakup seemed to be one that would stand the test of time, instead of the will they-won’t drama from The Eagles or The Stones.

But that is what makes Move Like This such a successful enterprise. Those expectations that would have been a crippling burden placed on anyone else’s shoulders were a minor inconvenience in the case of Ocasek and Co. The sad fact that Benjamin Orr passed away over a decade ago should have been a roadblock, but by keeping the proceedings insular and focused Move Like This pays tribute to the man’s talents while also moving forward without him.

The greatest compliment that I can laud upon Move Like This is more representative of The Cars themselves: the sound is timeless. Honestly, had this been the album to arrive in 1978, there wouldn’t have been a massive change in the band’s fortune. “Sad Song” could fit quite comfortably on a Greatest Hits. Ocasek’s vocals haven’t changed a damn iota; his distinctive phrasing lays to waste any imitators in the music scene today (come on, who else could make the work glockenspiel just….well, work?).

Sure, there are some modern conventions that have crept into the sound of the band, but really it is just as easy to turn that question around and wonder just how many groups today cribbed their sound from The Cars in the first place. You can hear REM, Fountains Of Wayne, U2, hell even shades of Radiohead. Who inspired whom seems to be the question of the day…

The Cars didn’t shoot for a double album, or 70 minutes of bloated running time backed up by songs completely devoid of inspiration that make getting to the final seconds torture. And to reiterate an earlier point, there is no doubt in my mind that there were a couple dollar signs in the eyes of the band that facilitated Move Like This. But again, when the final product is this good, who cares?

Rating: A-

User Rating: A


Good Review ... what I like most about this album is ... it sounds like The Cars!

© 2011 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Hear Music, and is used for informational purposes only.