By Jack Sharkey, April 11, 2018
The Cars are one of those bands we tend to forget about. From the late-70s to the mid-80s no American band was bigger, but unfortunately no American band became more connected to the shallow pop culture they were contemporary to. That’s actually sad in a way because the songs, musicianship and production of the first four Cars albums are as good as we can expect from our pop bands. In an early interview, quirky front-man Ric Ocasek commented on the production of their first two releases that the band listened to the mixes on their car stereos because that’s how the kids would listen to the albums, and that egalitarian approach helped endear them to their fans for the next decade. The innovation the band brought to music (and video) at the time is often over-looked (or even sneered at) but an awful lot of music that came after their heyday owes at least a cap tip to them, plus for my money, Elliot Easton certainly belongs in the conversation with Eddie Van Halen for pre-emininent guitarist of the period.
Slated to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016, that induction was oddly postponed until 2018 (it will happen April 14). Timed to coincide with the planned 2014 induction, Moving In Stereo is an exquisitely produced sampler collection of some of the tunes that made the band great. The set could be twice as long and I wouldn’t complain, but for those of you who are not quite sure about breaking out the Foster Grants and fouling the air with Aqua-Net for the full commitment on your trip back to the 80s this is a great set of music.
But…it’s the remastering that really kicks hard. I played my original CD pressing of the Cars’ eponymous 1978 debut album with the tracks from that set that were included in this greatest hits collection and the differences were stunning. I purchased the album at 96kHz/24-bit because it was remastered (I don’t generally spend the money on high-resolution for music that was either originally recorded analog or recorded digitally at 48kHz/16-bit because I haven’t been pleased with what I’ve gotten), but this is the rare example of older music that really popped in the high-res format.
Truly, I’ve stumbled upon a little bit of high-res treasure with this set. And you know what? The Cars really were a great band (once you get over the whole 80s thing). I’m enjoying my unironic trip back in time to when punk, New Wave and rock were all part of the pop music-scape.
Stumbled upon your own High-Res Treasure? Drop us a line and we’ll share it with our readers in the next installment!