Sunday, March 24, 2013

Music Sunday: The "The Cars" Edition

While trying to decide what music I wanted to share today, it came to my attention that yesterday was Cars' frontman Ric Ocascek's birthday. While I'm not enough of a fan of The Cars to know their music well, I've always liked their hits, some of which were made more memorable because of the offbeat videos that were made for them.

For example, there's "You Might Think", which came out in 1984 and was included on the "Heartbeat City" album. The song is catchy, and the video is...well, odd. Surrealistic. And, as far as I'm concerned, hilarious:

The video, but the way, won the Video of the Year award at the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards.

I know that some people are adamantly against videos, especially videos like this that put specific and striking visual images to specific songs. They claim that this ruins the ability of the listener (and viewer, more especially) to interpret the song in their own mind by having these specific, vivid images given to them. While this can happen, I don't find this to be true for myself except in a very few circumstances. I do, however, like it better when there is more than one video made for a song (yes, I know, expensive...but worth it, I think), so that more than one visual interpretation is presented and no one version sticks in the listener/viewer's mind. The most vivid example I can think of for this are the three videos U2 made for the song "One" (two of which I've shared here before, and so I probably won't do that today). All three are strikingly different, all are good, and all serve the song - in wildly different ways.

Just to prove that The Cars' songs were not "made" by the videos, here is a performance of "Just What I Needed" from "The Midnight Special" TV series in 1978. This was the band's first hit, from their first, self-titled, album:

My favorite Cars' song is "Drive", which was also on the 1984 album "Heartbeat City". The video for this song is about as far as the video for "You Might Think" as it could possibly be, but it is just as striking in its own way and, I think, enhances rather than detracts from the song:

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