Rhythm & Views 

The New Cars

I know we're only halfway through it and all, but I'm pretty sure that this will rightly top the list of Most Unnecessary Albums of 2006.

Here's the deal: Two members of The Cars--Elliot Easton and Greg Hawkes--team up with two members of Utopia and the drummer from The Tubes, and play Cars hits live. Then release it. And expect you to pay for it. Why?

It's not so difficult to understand why Easton and Hawkes would participate. Though they played on the original versions of these songs, and toured for about 10 years performing them, they didn't write them. In other words, they're not receiving the royalty checks that primary songwriter, singer and guitarist Ric Ocasek is, so WTF, right?

By the way, the musical genius Todd Rundgren is one of those two Utopia members participating here, and he assumes the Ocasek role, not only of singer, but bandleader, too.

And why shouldn't he? I mean, he's Todd Fucking Rundgren! But that just makes it all the sadder: Why the hell is Todd Rundgren doing his best Ocasek on the best of The Cars, when he should be, like, producing some of the greatest rock records ever made (Google him--it's staggering), performing his own catalog of greatness and adding to it, or developing futuristic music software programs--all of which he's done? Man, talk about regression.

Put it this way: Every time I try to listen to this, I find myself reaching for a Cars album. Not a New Cars album--a Cars album.

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