‘Sometimes they sound downright silly’: The Cars’ Ric Ocasek separates lyrics from music in new book

Share this:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6G-qb1RRCo&w=500&h=305]

Ric Ocasek, singer and songwriter with the Cars, has a new book that combines his songs and other writings, titled aptly enough Lyrics and Prose. It’s taught him that you have to be careful around words with no music.

“I think when you read words, though, sometimes when you take the words out of context and out of the song, they can sound pretty funny — and not funny, ‘haha'” said Ocasek, appearing on the Leonard Lopate Show via WNYC. “It’s hard to read. They asked me if I wanted to do a reading of the book, and I thought: ‘Well, you can’t really read lyrics, straight out, because sometimes they sound downright silly.’ You need to have the music with it.”

Still, there is something to be gained in presenting his words on a page, without the distractions of other sounds.

Several of his classic Cars songs are revealed as having been far more ironic even than was first thought — like, say, “Let the Good Times Roll” from the band’s eponymous 1978 debut.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hwE0slNd3Y&w=385&h=280]

“I think the music sometimes counteracts the words,” Ocasek tells WNYC’s Lopate. “The music is pretty happy music, and the words aren’t really that happy. I kind of like that — the juxtaposition of the music being one way, and then people aren’t really sure what they are listening to. Like in ‘Just What I Needed,’ where I sing “I needed someone to bleed,” and everybody’s got their hands in the air. (Chuckles.) I like that.”

Outside of his role with the Cars, who issued a terrific comeback recording just last year, Ocasek issued six solo albums and served as producer for acts like Weezer, Guided By Voices and Jonathan Richman, among others.

[amazon_enhanced asin=”0399163700″ container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B004NTMNB8″ price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B000002GWB” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B00124DS70″ price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B000000OY7″ container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B000002H1T” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /]

Something Else!

Something Else!

The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Something Else!
Share this:
Close