A return to form after the departure that was 1980â€™s muddled Panorama, the Carsâ€™ Shake It Upbursts forth with a rich assembly of synthesizers, drum machines, electronic blips, and catchy melodies that make it an early '80s pop staple. Known the world over, the famous title track proves the bandâ€™s arrangement skills were in perfect shape and set the stage for a record overflowing with memorable hooks and complementary rock riffs.
Shake It Up also plays witness to primary songwriter/vocalist Ric Ocasekâ€™s increased cynicism and biting wit. While the Cars never took a rosy-eyed view of romance, the songs here impart a newfound sense of sympathy, regret, limbo, and reservation. The beauty of the Carsâ€”and all ten tunes hereâ€”is that the music suggests something else entirely. Such subliminal emotions and dynamic contrasts act as a magnet, and the band plays as if itâ€™s in on the secret.
Apart from the party vibe of the title cut, the Cars aim for deeper targets and smarter undertones.Shake It Up is defined by an urban edginess and modern feel that comes alive on tunes such as â€œCruiserâ€ and circular â€œIâ€™m Not the One,â€ a pop gem laded with stacked vocals and keyboard lines that double as a horn section. The bandâ€™s arrangements have never been betterâ€”or more involved. Absent the cheesiness that would mar the groupâ€™s late-period work, the songs ride on the strength of keyboard-heavy lines and layered harmonies. You will not be disappointed.
Half-speed mastered from the original analog tapes, Mobile Fidelityâ€™s numbered edition 24K Gold CD focuses on the myriad pitch changes that control the musical directions. Recorded at the bandâ€™s Synchro Sound studios by famed Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker, the album takes advantage of electronic textures and varying timbres in immersing the listener in accessible albeit abstract washes of sound. MoFiâ€™s engineers made sure to capture every note and nuance; this marks the first time that Shake It Up has been remastered in any way, let alone from the original tapes.