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The Elektra Years 1978-1987

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Album Review

The Cars' studio albums have been boxed before — most of them showed up on 2009's Original Album Series, while in 2014 there was a cheap and basic set called Studio Album Collection, 1978-1987 — but the 2016 set The Elektra Years 1978-1987 is handsomely produced and newly remastered, two features absent on the previous sets. Ric Ocasek handled the digital remaster, while David Robinson is the art director on the set, overseeing the replicas of the original albums and coming up with the spiffy retro artwork. Sadly, "Tonight She Comes" — a hit single featured on 1985's Greatest Hits and never part of an actual album — wasn't added as a bonus track to either Heartbeat City or Door to Door, but that's the only flaw on this otherwise nicely assembled, affordable set.

Customer Reviews

It’s just “Panorama” (not “The Panorama”)

The album is called “Panorama” (not “The Panorama”).

A bounty of wheat, but some chaff too

As much as I love the Cars, and as much as my personal history is entwined with the band's music, I find it impossible to assign five stars to a six-album box set in which two albums are all-time classics, two others are strong and enjoyable, the fifth is hit and miss, and the sixth is unfortunately disposable. I am not going to treat the rather mediocre "Door to Door" as a five-star work simply because it's combined with the sublime albums "The Cars" and "Candy-O" in this compilation. "Heartbeat City" also sounds very dated, in my opinion, and overproduced to the point of embarrassment at times. The title track is a great song, and the three hit singles are so catchy that they overcome the cliched 80s production issues, but the rest of the album is cloying and at times un-Cars-like. "Panorama," which was the Cars' attempt to indulge their edgy, more experimental side, is solid and at times mesmerizing, but still inferior in song quality to the first two gems. "Shake It Up" strikes me as "Heartbeat City" done right: unabashedly commercial, but still proudly displaying "hooky but weird" essence of the band. Final note: Calling this set "The Elektra Years" is rather silly, since until the Cars' comeback album 25 years later, the Elektra years had been the *only* years.

This Is A “Must Own"

If you appreciate what this band has done for the future of music, if you appreciate some of the best rock in decades then do yourself a favor and buy this and then buy a copy for a good friend.


Formed: 1976 in Boston, MA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '00s, '10s

Blondie may have had a string of number one hits and Talking Heads may have won the hearts of the critics, but the Cars were the most successful American new wave band to emerge in the late '70s. With their sleek, mechanical pop/rock, the band racked up a string of platinum albums and Top 40 singles that made them one of the most popular American rock & roll bands of the late '70s and early '80s. While they were more commercially oriented than their New York peers, the Cars were nevertheless inspired...
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The Elektra Years 1978-1987, The Cars
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