The Cars Albums Ranked

The Cars were an American rock band formed in Boston in 1976. Emerging from the new wave scene in the late 1970s, the line-up consisted of singer, rhythm guitarist and songwriter Ric Ocasek, bassist and singer Benjamin Orr, lead guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes and drummer David Robinson. The Cars were at the forefront of merging 1970s guitar-oriented rock with the new synthesizer-oriented pop that was then becoming popular and flourishing in the early 1980s. Robert Palmer, music critic for The New York Times and Rolling Stone, described the Cars’ musical style: “they have taken some important but disparate contemporary trends—punk minimalism, the labyrinthine synthesizer and guitar textures of art rock, the ’50s rockabilly revival and the melodious terseness of power pop—and mixed them into a personal and appealing blend.” Here are all of The Cars albums ranked.

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7. Door To Door (1987)

“Great music, a combo of adult contemporary and rock with a Cars style yet more serious than their other mid 1980s pop music releases. No excuse for this not getting a lot of airplay back in 1987. Radio decided to not give this airplay, there is nothing wrong with this music and it was a good progression for The Cars to make this kind of music by 1987. A overlooked album that got little exposure”

6. Move Like This (2011)

“There have been several bands from the late 70s/early 80s that have regrouped and released new material over the last several years. Unfortunately, most have been a disappointment over all, so needless to say, I was a little skeptical about this album. (Especially after seeing Ric Ocasek on a morning show a few years ago saying, “There will NEVER be a Cars reunion.”) But I was immediately, pleasantly surprised. It does not sound like a beat has been lost since their last album (even though it is my least favorite of all). I always preferred Benjamin Orr’s vocals over Ric’s, but still Ric has a classic ‘Cars’ voice and I would much rather he do all the lead vocals rather than bring someone else in. As my subject line says, this is one of their best albums. Had this album come out 15 or 20 years ago, it would have, no doubt, produced several top 40 (probably top 10) hits.”

5. Panorama (1980)

“they say that the passage of time lends a new perspective. After not hearing the cars third release in quite some time, you realize how good they were and this cd is. The added songs sound great and fit well with this cd. If you wanna go back for just a while , play this. If you weren’t, around when it originally came out , discover and enjoy. Recommended.”

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4. Shake It Up (1981)

“While this is not the best Cars album and is not quite as good as their debut album content-wise this album is still pretty strong if you consider the period of its release in 1981. Many of the tracks here remind me a bit of Devo, The Human League, Visage and even Ultravox as the Cars try to fit into the New Wave Movement that was in its heyday at the time. As that movement died soon after, some of the tracks here sound a little dated understandably given the death of the genre that they were written for and yet there are many strong tracks that endure such as the great title track, “Since You’re Gone”, “I’m Not the One” and I even liked “Victim of Love” and “Cruiser” too. As one who grew up during and loved the New Wave Movement I think this album is still a very good representation of that genre showing the Cars’ versatility in not being just an out and out punk rock band like their debut album was but that they were willing to experiment with other stylings as well.”

3. Candy-O (1979)

“Candy-O” by The Cars is a tantalizing album. Besides the sexy, sizzling cover – the band wasted no time in putting out a playful and carefree record. This album was released a year after their breakthrough debut album and “Candy-O” didn’t suffer from the dreaded sophomore slump. This album is full of flavor. “Let’s Go” will make you smile (love those handclaps) and “It’s All I Can Do” will break your heart. The Cars really showed their artistry on tracks like the wicked “Dangerous Type”, and the delicious “Lust For Kicks”. The title track is oh so naughty and my favorite track is “Double Life” (excellent guitar solo). Every song is drenched in irresistible synths, (synths galore to be exact!) and Ric Ocasek and Benjamin Orr had the most unique voices from the new wave era. I wasn’t even born when “Candy-O” was released but I’ve always gravitated towards this kind of music. It’s fun and glittery but not in a fluffy, artificial kind of way. I believe that The Cars were an underrated band.”

2. Heartbeat City (1984)

“Some albums are just a joy to listen to. I think this may be one of them A gorgeous slice of pure 1980s fun made exponentially better by Mobile Fidelity. The bottom end, which suffered in previously released versions, is incredible in this carefully mastered edition. The soundstage is open and spacious. The detail is very noticeably improved. Imaging is excellent. All in all, a very satisfying listen. If you are on the fence about springing for this edition due to the price, get off the fence and grab it before it’s gone! You won’t be sorry.”

1. The Cars (1978)

“As a guest at a special party in 1978 two weeks from graduation, we were on top of the world when our host put this music on.. we had never heard anything like it.. before grunge but a loosening of the rock age, as with every thing, slowly slipping away. The Cars first album made history, made graduating in 1978 in the biggest town in Wyoming worth living for.. it’s a classic and when I want to I listen, I do, like it was the first time..and I turn it up.. All Mixed Up is one of the greatest songs ever recorded and the band was over the top cool.”