Great Rock Albums of 1981: The Cars- Shake It Up


Often I have heard people declare that The Cars were ahead of their time and I say that it is decidedly so. The 1981 album “Shake It Up” proves it in a good sense. True, the album is a little more pop oriented than its predecessors but I can’t help thinking that they influenced a generation of synth pop bands that would come about in the middle of the decade. I’m not saying they sold out here, no way. It’s just those pop bands tried to imitate The Cars and not very well either.

If the tracks “Since Your Gone” and  “This Could be Love” were played at trendy 80s clubs in London, they would have gone down very well there and probably anywhere else in the world. These two songs could be fore runners to all of that and the best thing here is that they are far superior to any of that stuff. Greg Hawkes is a total keyboard wizard here. There are still much of the things they did well on those other album that are present on this one. “Victim of Love” is one of those songs and I have always liked the title track as well. “Cruiser” is a very good song as well. I guess that what I am trying to say here is that The Cars ushered in a new style of music without even realising it and did it by doing what they had always done very well.

Track Listing:

1. Since You’re Gone

2. Shake It Up

3. I’m Not the One

4. Victim of Love

5. Cruiser

6. A Dream Away

7. This Could be Love

8. Think It Over

9. Maybe Baby

The Cars

The Cars

Ric Ocasek- rhythm guitar, lead vocals

Elliot Easton- lead guitar, backing vocals

Greg Hawkes- keyboards, backing vocals

Benjamin Orr- bass, lead vocals

David Robinson- drums, percussion

The obvious conclusion I can draw here is that The Cars pioneered music into a new direction in the late 1970s and early 80s. They were doing lots of great new things before the pop bands took over only The Cars did it much better. Proof in the pudding is the “Shake It Up” album.

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12 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1981: The Cars- Shake It Up”

  1. The Cars brought Power Pop to the attention of the mainstream audience. Those sugary power chords were Irresistible back then and even today have a fresh sound sound that captures your attention.


  2. Power Pop + Roxy Music = The Cars (or something like that). This is an extremely even-handed assessment of Shake It Up. I was a Cars fan right from the beginning, and even got to see them on the Panorama tour in 1980 (they were one of the least exciting live bands I’ve ever seen, but I’m still glad I went). Shake It Up is a little more hit-and-miss than the majority of their albums but it has a strong reputation because of the huge radio hits. I think Panorama is stronger from top to bottom, and I’m even partial to the much-maligned Door To Door. The bottom line is that The Cars have a nearly perfect discography that still sounds as fresh today as it did 30+ years ago.


    • Very true, you can certainly say that The Cars are consistent with their album quality although the debut album will always be my favourite. I didn’t realise they were so unexciting live. I thought that about Dire Straits.


  3. I think all these early Cars LPs sound like greatest hits collections – great stuff!


  4. I may have mentioned this before, I only own one Cars CD — a 2 CD set called Just What I Needed. MOST of these songs are on there — I love them.


  5. Kinda funny back in the 80s all the heavy metallers liked the Cars stuff myself included.
    I guess it’s just the quirkiness of there sound/style and yeah for sure they were ahead of there time but man Ocasek had a penchant for writing neat little pop ditties all wrapped up in under/just over 3 minutes!


    • Ocasek had a lot of talent and he hasn’t been given the recognition he fully deserves. But yes, it is funny how so many metalheads like me were in to The Cars back in the 80s.


  6. unique posts. I’ll be back


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