Monday, November 13, 2017
New Cars Smell, Take Two
From 2006, please enjoy "Not Tonight" by The New Cars, a song with a slew of hooks, a great guitar solo, funny lyrics and a good beat you can dance to.
Apparently, that wasn't enough in 2006. While the single got some airplay, and the band did get on late night TV, and a tour had begun, though canceled due to Elliot Easton's broken collarbone, The New Cars are mostly remembered with a contemptuous snort. I think Ric Ocasek called for a fatwa on Todd Rundgren, for taking over lead vocals, though apparently Ocasek had no issues with anyone else embarking on this ride. The one record released by The New Cars, which also featured Rundgren sidemen Kasim Sulton and Prairie Prince taking over for the late Ben Orr and retired David Robinson, featured three newly written tunes, and a live set of old Cars favorites. Rundgren did his best Ocasek and the band itself was more than adequate. The record sold a paltry by 2006 standards, 16,000 units.
So why the hate?
Good band, good replacements, good record, great single. Were The Cars so sacred that even the remaining original members, the lead guitarist and keyboardist, both integral to The Cars sound, should be forbidden to create a new project?
Why am I bringing this up almost a dozen years after the fact?
Because I really enjoyed that Elliot Easton solo record and was listening to the first Cars record, which made me think of "Not Tonight," which I hadn't heard since 2006. And it really is a fantastic record. The other two Rundgren/Easton/Hawkes tracks were pretty good, too. I wouldn't have minded one more record out of this band.
I am always fascinated when good music gets criticized for everything but the music itself.