Heartbeat City

TRACKING: Young Unknowns - "Drive" (Car's Cover)

SOUNDS LIKE: If the The Cars were fronted by Mazzy Star; Quiet, pensive isolation
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: The Cars didn't write bad songs and this is one of their best, regardless of who performs it

In the mid 80's The Cars, fronted by singer Rick Ocasek, had pretty much all of the hits, but one of their biggest and most enduring was the song "Drive," off 1984's Heartbeat City. Bassist Benjamin Orr took over vocal duties, delivering a haunting, borderline noir performance that amazingly still resonates with listeners today. So much so that Brooklyn's Young Unknowns recently went ahead and covered the track for a special covers digital 7".

Trading the original’s lush atmosphere for a chilly, detached melancholy, singer Meridith Meyer and crew transform the thirty-year-old hit into a tense but beautiful lament worthy of the original that inspired it. What sells both songs ultimately is the underlying sense of dread, the feeling that something has gone horribly wrong. Young Unknowns push that dread to the forefront by stripping the song to its barest state to provide a sharp contrast to the original. Whereas The Cars version of "Drive" makes space for the tiniest bit of hope, buoying the song with an ever present army of synths, Young Unknowns’ spartan take leaves no room for anything but a chilly, persistent despair.

Daily Listen: The Cars - Heartbeat City

The Cars released their fifth studio album in 1984 as MTV well on its way to becoming the media juggernaut that it is today..or was. With videos like "You Might Think", "Magic" and "Drive", the band was at the high point of their career and had become icons for the MTV Generation. This, the title track for the album, was never officially released, instead finding its way onto a video compilation that the band put out that prominently featured lots and lots of boobs. Alien boobs. Suffice to say 12 year old me was pleased when he pushed play on the seemingly innocuous videotape. That is until 12 year old me's folks, who were not so much with the pleased, walked in the room.

So thanks Rick Okasek, Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes, Benjamin Orr and David Robinsin! You showed me my first live alien boob...and got me grounded. SO WORTH IT!


The Cars - Heartbeat City

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