Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be the 100 Most Dynamic Debut Albums Ever Made, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Click “Next Album” below to explore each album or view the full album index here.
The world in 1978 was a sea of confusion and in search of an identity. The previous summer, the so-called King of Rock and Roll died on the toilet and his unfortunate demise was emblematic of what was occurring in the music world. The illusion of innocence was gone. It became increasingly evident that the business part of “the music business” was more important to the people who ran it. Music heads wanted more than what was being offered on the radio. Punk broadened the landscape, but many of us were not ready to swim that far out into the ocean. We craved something different and lucky for us it arrived late in the spring of 1978.
The Cars’ self-titled debut album was released in June 1978 and was critically well received. To this day it is considered the cream of the New Wave crop. The Cars is a nine song rock classic that expanded our sonic horizons. It was no longer just about the Eagles or Fleetwood Mac. Rock music was going in a different direction and the casual radio listener was ready to follow wherever The Cars were going to take them.
Even though Ric Ocasek was the main songwriter and leader of the band, Benjamin Orr was the group’s heart and soul. His performances on "Just What I Needed,” "Bye Bye Love,” "Moving in Stereo" and "All Mixed Up" personify the band’s sound and these songs are still being played on many classic rock stations today. The beauty of this album is that it came out of nowhere. The opening riff of "Just What I Needed” immediately transports me to a good place. I’m 13, in my room, listening to WNEW-FM and wondering “who the fuck is this?” The Cars’ debut album is everything good about discovering new music.