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The best album by The Cars?

It wasn’t even close.

When Goldmine polled its readers on The best album by The Cars, there were so many votes for the band's debut album that we stopped counting after awhile. Votes for their other albums would never catch up.

But other albums did get a respectable number of votes.


The Cars debut

1. The Cars

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers had their share of great albums, that's for sure, but none of them had the impact of their 1978 debut.

The album had it all, from beginning to end. Every song had a catchy edge, mixing the excitement of the new wave genre with old-school pop sensibility. The outstanding song from the bunch is "My Best Friend's Girl" — a timeless number that The Everly Brothers could have written if they had induced the extra rockabilly energy of electric guitars.

Voters overwhelmingly picked The Cars' self-titled debut, 5 to 1. 

By the way, the album cover model Nataliya Medvedeva later became a poet, writer and vocalist. She tragically died in Russia in 2003 at age 44 from a supposed heart attack.


Candy o

2. Candy-O

A year after their debut album, The Cars released Candy-O. Was this a case of the title track being more popular than the album itself? Not so. The song became a fan favorite but the hits on the album were "Let's Go" (charting at No. 14) and "It's All I Can Do" (charting at No. 41). And Candy-O peaked higher on the album charts than its predecessor, at No. 3. Ironically, it's not as masterful from start to finish but critics loved it nearly as much. It appears the fans remain on the same wavelength.  

Album cover model Candy Moore was painted by pin-up artist Alberto Vargas.


heart city

3. Heartbeat City

The band's most commercial album? You bet. Produced by Mutt Lange instead of the band's long-time producer Roy Thomas Baker, Heartbeat City broke the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 with the singles "Drive" and "You Might Think." And the buoyant single "Magic" just came up short at No. 12. Music videos had plenty of airtime (if you watched MTV) and it was hard not to hear "Drive" on the radio in the summer of 1984.

Obviously, it's an album that is still popular amongst Cars' fans.


Shake it up

4. Shake It Up

One of the coolest album covers in the party spirit, The Cars' fourth studio album Shake It Up hit the Billboard Pop Album chart running, reaching No. 9 in 1981, with the single of the same name charting at No. 2 in Mainstream Rock. Finally, the band hit the Top 10 and deservedly so. It's easily one of the best rock albums of 1981 and to celebrate its 40th anniversary last year, Rhino Entertainment reissued the album on neon green vinyl.



5. Panorama

The Cars broke into the 1980s with a relatively experimental album. Panorama strayed off course from the power pop of previous albums (and albums to come) and therefore not as commercially successful. Critic Robert Christgau, who loved the band's hard pop sound, gave it an unenthusiastic B— grade. But the album does have a strong cult following of its own to this day. The album's single "Touch and Go" is a favorite among fans.


Leftover votes

1987's Door To Door, which AllMusic gave 2 out of 5 stars and The Encyclopedia of Popular Music gave only 1, got a few votes. Surprisingly (or maybe not) there were no votes for 2011's Move Like This, which Goldmine gave 3 out of 5 stars upon its release, stating that the second half of the record had too much of a "laid-back feel" and lacked the advertised energy of the album's title. Maybe the listeners caught the same vibe. And — ha ha — a lone voter expressed his displeasure for The Cars music by voting in a fictitious album called Flat Tire. There's always one joker in the deck, isn't there?