26552-4 Fireball Zone
Produced by Nile Rodgers and Ric Ocasek
Released on June 25, 1991
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
26552-4 cover  

A better record than Beatitude. But it doesn’t contain a hit like “Emotion In Motion.” Honestly, it’s a small miracle that I bought another Ric Ocasek album after Beatitude. (Okay, so I bought a cassette cutout of this for like two dollars, which speaks more to my cheapness than any loyalty to The Cars.) About a week ago, I was musing on how no one in The Cars had managed to capitalize on their career the way that The Police had. Ocasek slipped into the shadows of celebrity, Benjamin Orr stalled after one album and no one gave Elliot Easton a chance. Ocasek returned to recording with Fireball Zone, a sort of Let’s Dance Again co-produced by Nile Rodgers that sounds like the more commercial efforts from David Bowie and Iggy Pop. To my mind, Ocasek had the same sort of cachet, but no one else seemed to pay Ocasek much mind and Fireball Zone failed to chart. It’s much better than that. Not Top 40 better, but this should have settled into the comfortable 60s or 70s on the charts and produced a pair of minor singles in “Rockaway” and “The Way You Look Tonight.” Amazingly, no Ric Ocasek album has charted in the US since, suggesting that new wave really is dead. I mean, Ocasek was the reigning king of synth rock for a while; he should be able to cash in on that for the rest of his life. And it’s not like he just dialed in Fireball Zone. True, the melodies aren’t anything earth-shattering, but it was always the sound of The Cars’ music that won me over rather than the originality of the underlying melodies, and Fireball Zone has the same taut, edgy sound. It’s not a Cars clone, but Ocasek wasn’t looking to completely reinvent himself either. This is the album you’d expect him to make, Beatitude wasn’t. And contrary to most criticism, I don’t think this falls apart at the end.

26552-4 picture sleeve
26552-4 picture sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. ROCKAWAY
  2. TOUCH DOWN EASY    (Ric Ocasek/Rick Nowles)
  3. COME BACK
  4. THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT
  5. ALL WE NEED IS LOVE
  6. OVER AND OVER
  7. FLOWERS OF EVIL
  8. THEY TRIED
  9. KEEP THAT DREAM
  10. BALANCE
  11. MISTER MEANER
  12. FIREBALL ZONE

    All songs written by Ric Ocasek unless noted

CREDITS

RIC OCASEK -- guitars, keyboards, vocals, other computer photos
LARRY ABERMAN -- drums
AL BERRY -- bass
RICHARD HILTON -- keyboards
LARRY MITCHELL -- lead guitar
Tawatha Agee -- background vocals
Mat Collehon -- horns
Dennis Collins -- background vocals
Mickey Currie -- drums (10,11)
Steve Elson -- horns
Stan Harrison -- horns
Dan Huff -- guitars (10,11)
Curtis King Jr. -- background vocals
Nile Rodgers -- guitars
Fonzi Thonrton -- background vocals
Jon Goldberger -- engineer, mixing
David Heglemeier -- basic track engineering
Rick Nowles -- basic track production (10,11)
Paulina -- cover art
Marco Glaviano -- cover photo
Jeff Gold -- art direction
Janet Levinson -- design

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
WW June 25, 1991 Reprise LP/CD/CS 26552 lyric sleeve
JPN 1991 Warner/Pioneer CD WPCP-4377 lyric sleeve

 

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