July 25, 2007

Heartbeat City

From the Wikipedia entry:

Heartbeat City is the fifth studio album by American new wave band The Cars, released in 1984.

The album was a return to form for the band, coming after their darker albums Panorama and Shake It Up
(Shake It Up was considered a dark album??). A number of songs from the album gained significant radio and TV exposure, notably "Drive," which played during the 1985 Live Aid concert, and "You Might Think," which had a memorable music video in heavy rotation on MTV in 1984 and 1985. Heartbeat City spawned a total of five Top 40 singles, two of which (the aforementioned "Drive" and "You Might Think") were Top 10 as well.

The album was produced by acclaimed producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange. His commitment to the Cars album meant that he wasn't able to work on the forthcoming Def Leppard album, Hysteria.

Unless I'm mistaken, the first music video released for Heartbeat City was the one for the opening track, "Hello Again." Andy Warhol's appearance was heavily hyped by MTV, if my memory serves me correctly, and his presence elevated the band, as well as the video, to an entirely different level. Suddenly, The Cars were kind of an artsy band. I realize now Gina Gershon is in it at the very beginning:

The computer-generated effects in "You Might Think" were considered to be revolutionary and groundbreaking at the time. "You Might Think" won the first MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year:

"Drive" is a great song and so indicative of the "'80s sound." The video was directed by Timothy Hutton, and it is of course where lead singer Ric Ocasek met future wife Paulina Porizkova. I can remember that MTV made a big deal out of all The Cars videos from Heartbeat City, especially "Drive," having a "World Premiere" for it, and then playing it all the time. It was in heavy rotation, which meant it was played at the top of every hour. What a shame it is that Benjamin Orr isn't around any longer. He was so good on this, almost McCartney-esque:

The song and video for "Magic" take me right back to high school, whether I want to go or not. Ahhhhh....the summer of 1984.....This is another one MTV played all the time:

And finally, this is what led me to doing a post about Heartbeat City, or The Cars, in the first place - the title track. I love this song, and many moments in it give me chills. For me, it has always had an epic feel about it. This was Hearbeat City's equivalent of "A Day in the Life"; it was the last track on what was probably The Cars' greatest album. I think it's clearly The Car's shining moment and artistic/creative high water mark as a recording group.

Guitarist Elliot Easton is so perfect on it. He was definitely a guitar hero for me growing up. This is a great example of refined, subtle rock/pop guitar, yet if it was removed from the song, the entire sound of it would be different. Easton was one of many guitarists (Rush's Alex Lifeson and Andy Summers from The Police spring to mind) whose trademark was this very crisp and clean, shimmering, echoey, chorused sound. I don't remember this video:

Who is Jacki?

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