Monday, September 16, 2019

The Cars, endless summers, and farewell to Ric

THE CARS ARE the Endless Summer. Their music is timeless. It always takes you back when you hear it. Always.

I defy you to listen to the first Cars album and try to guess when it was made. It was the first true New Wave album ever made. The second side (back when there were records and cassette tapes) is the most seamless blend of rock and roll magic ever created. You're All I've Got Tonight, Bye Bye Love, Moving In Stereo, All Mixed Up - slick noise rolled into a big fat bong of a tune, perfect for cranking up the cheap boom box in your room while your parents rolled their eyes.

So when I read Ric Ocasek died in New York Sunday, I gasped. Out loud. A great big, heartfelt, gut-wrenching "OH SHIT." When your inspiration and very reason for getting into music leaves this earth, it's like a punch to the stomach.

Then you hear he was 75. Man .... even endless summers tend to add up.

I loved the Cars because they had cool songs with even cooler lyrics and they really didn't care what anybody thought. I loved Ben Orr's voice, Elliott Easton's blistering guitar, and the way Rick Ocasek just stood there with the awful hair and sunglasses. Ocasek looked like a geek, a geek who knew he was getting the girls because he was a righteous and mysterious geek, a New Wave geek. He gave hope to all the other geeks, like me.

Eddie Money also passed on last week. Can't Hold Back was the soundtrack of my college years, back when my roommate would leave for the weekend and I'd get to blast his CDs in the Mount Pleasant ghetto.

It makes you take stock and it makes you realize we aren't getting younger, but our fuzzed out memories get sweeter when set to Candy O, or Heartbeat City, or Sha sha sha sha shakin'.

Endless Summers get shorter and sadder when our musical heroes go.

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