60296-1 Heartbeat City
Produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange and The Cars
Released on March 1984
US CHART POSITION #3 . . . PLATINUM RECORD (5/17/84), 4x PLATINUM (12/17/01) . . . UK CHART POSITION #25
Find it at GEMM
60296-1 cover
[outer gatefold photo]

M utt the hell?! I didn’t think it was possible for a band as popular as The Cars to sell out, but (hello again) it happens on Heartbeat City. Yes, the record includes “Magic,” “Drive” and “You Might Think,” three songs that rank right along with the band’s better ideas. But the rest of the record is a pretty dull ride, filler that indicates The Cars’ engine trouble began with Beatitude. However, I seem to be in the minority on this one (in the minority of middle-aged white guys who post record reviews on the Internet, anyway). An AMG reviewer found in “Looking For Love” a should-have-been hit of “breezy pop,” for example. Me, I’d have to be standing in a desert for an awfully long time before I thought that. (The same reviewer goes on to call “Why Can’t I Have You” a “moderately paced love song,” which is the least you can say about a song and still say something.) The shift to synthesizer band is nearly complete under Lange’s direction; there’s hardly enough in these arrangements to keep one guitarist busy let alone two. While the music takes a backseat this time, The Cars did seize on the music video format to release a handful of interesting videos. Among these was the video for “Drive,” which almost single-handedly fed the demand for a Benjamin Orr solo album (The Lace, released in 1986). I also recall reading somewhere that Ric Ocasek met his supermodel wife on the set of one of their videos (they must have been shooting at night). Heartbeat City isn’t a bad record; I don’t think The Cars were capable of making one (though I haven’t gone Door To Door yet). Still, if I were approaching the band for the first time, I’d want to be fortified by their earlier albums before stumbling on something this commercial.

60296-1 inner gatefold 60296-1 lyric sleeve
60296-1 inner gatefold 60296-1 lyric sleeve


  1. HELLO AGAIN    3:47
  2. LOOKING FOR LOVE    3:52
  3. MAGIC    3:57
  4. DRIVE    3:55
  5. STRANGER    4:26
  6. YOU MIGHT THINK    3:04
  7. IT'S NOT THE NIGHT    (Ric Ocasek/Greg Hawkes)    3:49
  8. WHY CAN'T I HAVE YOU    4:04
  9. I REFUSE    3:16
  10. HEARTBEAT CITY    4:31

    All songs written by Ric Ocasek unless noted


ELLIOT EASTON -- guitar, vocals
GREG HAWKES -- keyboards, vocals, Fairlight CMI programming
RIC OCASEK -- vocals, guitar
BEN ORR -- vocals, bass
DAVID ROBINSON -- drums, cover design, Fairlight CMI programming
Nigel Green -- recording engineer
Mike Shipley -- mixing engineer
Andy Topeka -- production assistance, Fairlight CMI programming
David Heglmeier -- production assistance
Steve Rance -- production assistance
Peter Phillips -- cover painting
HSU/Cathy Henszey -- art direction
Doris Kloster/George Holz -- photograpy

return to THE CARS discography

US March 1984 Elektra LP/CS 60296 gatefold cover, lyric sleeve
US July 1984 Elektra CD 60296  
UK/GER 1984 Elektra LP/CD 960 296 gatefold cover, lyric sleeve
CAN 1984 Elektra LP/CS 96 02961/4 gatefold cover, lyric sleeve
YUG   Suzy LP ELK602961  


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