Friday, March 18, 2011

The Cars -- "Since You're Gone"

Since You're Gone - Shake It Up

(Debuted March 27, 1982, Peaked #41, 9 Weeks on the Chart)

The video for this song (also the YouTube video below) received a lot of airplay on MTV, which will surprise many when told "Since You're Gone" didn't reach the Top 40. It came really close, but no cigar.

Beginning as a guitar-based rock band in the late 1970s, The Cars embraced the New Wave sound as the 1980s got underway and started using Greg Hawkes' synthesizer in their songs more often. Hawkes, to his credit, was also developing into a fine practitioner of the instrument, pushing the boundaries that technology afforded him.  "Since You're Gone" shows a glimpse of how the band's sound was evolving: at the beginning, the guitars provide most of the instrumentation, but the keyboard provides the main solo and overwhelms the guitars by the end of the song. All the while, an electronic rhythm that begins as a tap dance routine propels the song forward.

All the while, Ric Ocasek's lyrics show how deep he's sunk into despair over being left. The song doesn't progress in the standard verse/chorus format. Instead, it is basically a series of statements beginning with the words "since you've gone..." At the end, the other members of the group are chiming in, as if chanting, while Ocasek is beginning to ramble about his situation.

A song that is both well-crafted and's still a wonder it couldn't break its way into the Top 40.

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