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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Cars, The - 1984 Heartbeat City
Cars, The - 1984 Heartbeat City

ARTIST: Cars, The
ALBUM: Heartbeat City
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: 60296-1 (LP), 7559-60296-2 (CD)
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 2009, Audio Fidelity, AFZ 033 (numbered edition, remastered)


LINEUP: Ric Ocasek - rhythm guitar, synthesiser, lead vocals (1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10) * Benjamin Orr - bass, lead vocals (4, 5, 7) * Elliot Easton - lead guitar, backing vocals * Greg Hawkes - keyboards, fairlight programming, backing vocals * David Robinson - drums, percussion, fairlight programming

Additional Musician: Andy Topeka - additional fairlight programming

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hello Again * 02 Looking For Love * 03 Magic * 04 Drive * 05 Stranger Eyes * 06 You Might Think * 07 It's Not The Night * 08 Why Can't I Have You * 09 I Refuse * 10 Heartbeat City


If there was ever an album that was representative of the mid 80's MTV era, then The Cars 'Heartbeat City' was probably it. They were one of the first big bands to truly exploit the video format, and it proved to be a masterstroke, as their often wacky and engaging clips become familiar viewing throughout America. Helping matters was the Mutt Lange production job, and a battery of songs which made the Billboard charts. All in all, one of the stand-out albums of 1984.

The Songs
'Hello Again', with that now famous stacked vocal popularised by Def Leppard, opens its account in a vacuum-rush of air. This quirky track exemplifies what The Cars do best, with crushed ivories provided by keyboardist Greg Hawkes. Less circumspect is the Starship like 'Looking For Love', another band that Mutt Lange was involved in. The Cars then deliver two absolute classics in 'Magic' (oh oh it's Magic..') and the killer ballad 'Drive', which really is one of the soundtracks to everyone's life during 1984.. surely? 'Stranger Eyes' is a very cool undercover lover type of song. Ben Orr's vocal makes it this way, so too the edgy arrangement. 'You Might Think' is the other notable song here, a top ten track on the singles chart, but for me, compared to the rest, I preferred some of the other material here. 'It's Not The Night' by comparison sounds very dated with its spiralling keyboard effect. 'Why Can't I Have You' operates at half-tempo mode, and as such, loses momentum with the energy laden affairs heard earlier. 'I Refuse' moves up a gear or two, but is nothing when compared to the title track 'Heartbeat City', which is quite a synth oriented number all thanks to Mr Hawkes pushing the boundaries. As an interesting twist, the song was originally called 'Jacki' on some of the first pressings for the album. Be good to track a copy of one of those, for posterity's sake.

In Summary
The album took the Billboard singles charts by storm, 5 singles made it there (#3, 7, 12, 20 and 33), while the album got as high as #3. Not a bad years work by these Boston greats. Unfortunately, their 1984 success would only go so far, as 1987's Door To Door' was a commercial failure, the band then chucking it in not long after.

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#1 | jeffrey343 on December 29 2013 15:22:07
This was a rather huge album back in the day, spanning my last semester of high school and first year of college. You could not escape it - good thing I liked it.
#2 | swazi on December 29 2013 19:32:32
Absolute classic as far as I am concerned! Brilliant!
#3 | super80boy on December 29 2013 20:46:25
Not since their 1978 eponymous debut did they reach such strong creative heights until this record was launched. With MTV marketing in full swing, the CARS took full advantage and produced some memorable videos that helped push their singles right up the charts. The non single cuts, like the sharp melodic synth rockers 'Stranger Eyes' and 'It's Not The Night' were just as great in their own right. What a tight polished infectious package. The vinyl gatefold poster view version is quite an eye catching package as well!
#4 | gdazegod on December 29 2013 21:41:27
Here's a few videos related to the album:
YouTube Video:

YouTube Video:

YouTube Video:

YouTube Video:
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