5E-514 Panorama
Produced by Roy Thomas Baker
Released on September 1980
Find it at GEMM
5E-514 cover
[high resolution photo]

Y ou can’t in good conscience call an album that sold more than a million copies in the US within months of its release underrated or unappreciated, so let’s say Panorama is misunderstood. The appeal of their first two records were singles that had rock machismo; they were guitar-driven songs about girls. Panorama changes direction, delving into moodier themes that bring the synthesizers up in the mix. For every track that met expectations of what a Cars song should sound like -- “Gimme Some Slack,” “Down Boys,” “Don’t Tell Me No” -- was a track that seemed off track. While the album may have endeared The Cars to new wave fans (I was one of them), it alienated rock fans who had already moved as left of the dial as they were going to. The hiccupy “Touch And Go” gives you some indication that The Cars were tampering with the formula here, trying to push the boundaries of what they could get away with. The crowded choruses of a “Let’s Go” or “My Best Friend’s Girl” are invoked sparingly, and in fact Panorama keeps the fist-pumping down to a minimum. Instead, the songs are often downbeat, a little absurd, and mechanimusical. However (and this is where the misunderstanding exists), Panorama is not a case of the band running out of gas. It’s a grab for artistic credibility perhaps, but also a sign of good global citizenship in that The Cars use their pole position to lead the left side of the musical field rather than ride safely in the middle. A good portion of this record is at least as edgy as Wall of Voodoo, The B-52’s, Gary Numan or mid-career Iggy Pop. And every Cars fan owes it to themselves to hear “You Wear Those Eyes,” the prettiest song they’ve ever recorded.

5E-514 back cover 5E-514 lyric sleeve
5E-514 back cover 5E-514 lyric sleeve


  1. PANORAMA    5:42
  2. TOUCH AND GO    4:55
  3. GIMME SOME SLACK    3:32
  4. DON'T TELL ME NO    4:00
  5. GETTING THROUGH    2:35
  6. MISFIT KID    4:30
  7. DOWN BOYS    3:09
  8. YOU WEAR THOSE EYES    4:55
  9. RUNNING TO YOU    3:22
  10. UP AND DOWN    3:31

    All songs written by Ric Ocasek


ELLIOT EASTON -- lead guitar, backing vocals
GREG HAWKES -- keyboards, saxophones, backing vocals
RIC OCASEK -- vocals, rhythm guitar
BENJAMIN ORR -- vocals, bass guitar
DAVID ROBINSON -- drums, backing vocals, cover design
Ian Taylor -- engineer
Thom Moore -- production assistant
Paul McAlpine -- photography

return to THE CARS discography

US September 1980 Elektra LP/CS/8T 5E/5CS/5T8-514 lyric sleeve
UK 1980 Elektra LP K52240 lyric sleeve
BRA 1980 Elektra LP 32061  
CAN 1980 Elektra LP X5E-514 lyric sleeve
GER 1980 Elektra LP ELK52240  
US 1986/7? Elektra CD 514  
EUR   WEA CD 60340  


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