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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Rock > New Wave > Pop > The Cars – Unlocked (DVD/CD Set)

The Cars – Unlocked (DVD/CD Set)


Picture: C     Sound: C+/B-     Extras: C     Documentary: B-



I was never the biggest fan of Ric Ocasek’s The Cars, a new wave band with some attitude that went from unique to subdued and goofy (sometimes annoying) Pop in the 1980s.  Just What I Needed and My Best Friend’s Girl are classic so the time, but Shake It Up was the kind of New Wave DEVO was bashing and they became too silly with Magic and You Might Think.  The Cars – Unlocked is a new DVD/CD Set from Docurama that compiles many of their early rough performance days with some newer songs (say starting in the mid-1980s) where to compare shows they became too polished for their own good.


They were a better band earlier and there was just more life, energy and risks overall.  Occasionally, they pulled off an interesting song like Drive, but that itself deviated from their old days and to this day feels like the only time they showed any growth (logical or not) from the first hits.  There is also good interview footage and behind the scenes (and stage) clips throughout.  You also get some great moments where they goof around and groups today seem almost afraid to do so because fans take everything too seriously and the wrong way.  Makes you miss that time, especially since the music was better then too.  Overall, this is not a great compilation piece, but it is worth a look.


The 1.33 X 1 image wildly varies throughout since several VHS, Beta and even reel to reel black and white (240 lines!) NTSC was used in various places throughout.  It is mixed with occasional professionally-shot footage, but the majority is lower-quality amateur footage.  The sound is here is unenhanced PCM 2.0 16bit/48kHz Stereo on the DVD and slightly fuller PCM 2.0 16bit/44.1kHz Stereo on the CD that sounds good enough, but has background hiss. Though not incredible, the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix has some advantages over both, but the audio is so old and recorded under many disadvantageous circumstances that it is amazing it sounds even this good.


Extras include the CD version of 14 of the songs, Docurama trailers, promo trailer for this release, five bonus concert music tracks and a booklet in a slidecase that is a real hardcover book for once that happens to contain both discs in the inside covers.  Fans of the band might enjoy this, but non-fans will only find this to be an interesting curio at best and move on.  Still, it was worth putting out in this first rate packaging and release, which we can only hope inspires other acts form the era to do the same.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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