Sunday, December 1, 2019

"True to You" by Ric Ocasek

Song#:  2969
Date:  12/20/1986
Debut:  97
Peak:  75
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Pop, Rock, Synthpop

Pop Bits:  Ocasek's second album, This Side of Paradise, spawned his biggest solo hit, the #15 Pop/#1 Rock/#8 AC track "Emotion in Motion." For a follow-up, this track was selected. It would do well at Rock reaching #8, but it didn't maintain the more mainstream audience from his previous single and it dropped off the Pop chart after a couple of months in the bottom quarter. The album would get to #31, but that was a far cry from the multi-platinum efforts put forth by his band The Cars. This song would be Ocasek's last solo effort to reach the Pop chart. His next album, 1991's Fireball Zone, would produce the #11 Rock track "Rockaway," but it wasn't enough to promote the album and it failed to chart. Over the years, Ocasek would release four more solo albums while heading up a Cars reunion album in 2011. In 2018, he and the rest of The Cars would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Ocasek would die of natural causes in September of 2019.

ReduxReview:  Since Ocasek wrote and produced a good chunk of The Cars' material, it was probably natural for him to just stay the course with his own solo works. Because of that, tracks like this sound as if they could be by The Cars. Ocasek didn't stray from his tried and true formula and I'm not sure that served him well for his solo efforts. This track even featured synth sounds/effects found on other Cars songs. I guess that's not a bad thing, but I would think that the object of doing a solo album away from your established band would be to do something different that you couldn't do with the band. Ocasek didn't necessarily do that. He basically made a Cars album. This track in particular sounds like a Cars track that was left off of their 1984 album Heartbeat City. It's actually not a bad track and if been released in the line of singles from that album, it probably would have done better. But by this point, it sounded like a retread of a Cars tune and it didn't go over very well. It's kind of too bad as I'd consider it one of his most enjoyable solo tracks even though it doesn't break any new ground. He'd pull away into his own lane with his next solo album, but by then it was kind of too late.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  In addition to his days with The Cars and his solo career, Ocasek became a well-respected producer for other artists. He produced the second albums for pioneering bands Suicide (1980's Suicide: Alan Vega and Martin Rev) and Bad Brains (1983's Rock for Light). While the albums didn't necessarily succeed commercially, both were critically lauded. In 1994, Ocasek would help to introduce a new band to the masses. He produced the self-titled debut album for Weezer, commonly known as the Blue Album. Now considered a classic, the LP featured popular tracks like "Buddy Holly" and "Undone - The Sweater Song." It would go on to sell over three million copies. Ocasek would produce two more albums by the band. He would also produce a couple of tracks for No Doubt's 2002 double-platinum disc Rock Steady.


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