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Synths drive the Cars

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Synths drive the Cars

Postby Kenneth Burns » Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:12 am

Cars keyboardist Greg Hawkes is a freakin' genius. Without Hawkes, there are no Cars. Discuss.
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Re: Synths drive the Cars

Postby Kenneth Burns » Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:14 am

I listened to "My Best Friend's Girl" about 80 times in a row before coming to this conclusion.
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Re: Synths drive the Cars

Postby Kenneth Burns » Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:15 am

He's not a virtuoso, but he's great at textures. And he's great at coming up with little variations that make Pavlov's pop fans salivate.
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Re: Synths drive the Cars

Postby bdog » Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:26 am

I'm with Joe Theismann - a guy like Norman Einstein is a genius.

But I do like the Cars. Bye, bye love.
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Re: Synths drive the Cars

Postby Igor » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:17 pm

The Cars Debut album - 10 out of 10

Candy-O - 9.5 out of 10

I bought Panorama right when it came out. I was not amused. An album purchase given my salary at the time was an important decision. Clearly past performance did not indicate future results.

Everything later than that -YMMV. Clearly, the public liked this stuff even more than the first two albums. I didn't care for the singles that they released from their later albums, so I didn't end up picking them up until much much later, usually for a quarter at a rummage sale. One of them had a note written on the inner sleeve - "This album sounds bad on any audio system" or something like that.
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Re: Synths drive the Cars

Postby Kenneth Burns » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:43 pm

It's interesting what Hawkes says in that profile I linked to about the recording of Heartbeat City with Mutt Lange:

I've always gone for the idea of using just one sound per part ... so this kind of orchestral sound, this layering process, is new for me. I can't really say which I like better.


Gotta say, the layers of keyboards in "Magic" are glorious, especially in the chorus. They make that song. Washes of keyboards. Oceans of keyboards.
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Re: Synths drive the Cars

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:51 pm

Yeah, those first two Cars LPs are fantastic, nearly-perfect records.
And yes, the synths are some of the best ever, but Easton is a seriously underrated guitarist, imo. He does amazing, unexpected things all the time which can easily go unnoticed if you're not paying attention.

I still enjoy most of the singles from Heartbeat City, but I'm not kidding myself that they're anything more than great radio songs. I assume the reason they get hated on is that they're not ground-breaking awesome, they're just well-made pop songs. "Magic" is a quintessential summer song, in my book. Can't honestly say when the last time I listened to the whole album was. I do wonder if there are any deep cuts I should be more cognizant of.
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Re: Synths drive the Cars

Postby Kenneth Burns » Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:17 pm

Like Jerry Harrison and Steve Nieve, Greg Hawkes was a New Wave keyboardist in what was basically a guitar band. Particularly in the early days, they played simple keyboard parts, perhaps in reaction to the keyboard excesses that prevailed in the 1970s, especially in prog.
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