Ric Ocasek: Beatitude US CD 
- Jimmy Jimmy
- Something To Grab For
- I Can’t Wait
- Connect Up To Me
- A Quick One
- Out Of Control
- Take A Walk
- Sneak Attack
- Time Bomb
- Jimmy Jimmy (Single Version)
- Prove (Extended Remix)
- Connect Up To Me (Remix/Extended Version)
- Jimmy Jimmy (A New Extended Version)
I remember when Ric Ocasek released this first of his solo albums in between The Cars “Shake It Up” and “Heartbeat City.” The Cars had fallen off of my radar following the strong “Panorama.” What I’d heard from “Shake It Up” indicated that the band were being very, uh, pragmatic, about their career. When “Panorama” only went platinum with no top 20 hits, the notice went out. Playtime was over. Time to build hits. With “Heartbeat City” they went into overdrive, but there was this curious side step in between those commercial moves.
I should have known better. As a Trouser Press subscriber, I’d received the issue with the flexidisc of the radical synthpop of “Jimmy Jimmy” but I suppose it was the thought of Ocasek, rather than the sounds themselves, that caused me to discount what merits the record might hold. Much to my detriment as I’ve found out now! Thankfully, Rubellan Remasters was at it again, and have reissued the “Beatitude” album thoughtfully since the original 1997 Geffen remaster was scraping three figures especially after Ocasek’s unexpected death last fall. of course, This remaster was cooking in the oven [possibly, literally] before that with the timing of this new CD being coincidental. So what did I regret missing for this long?
“Jimmy Jimmy” was another indication that Ocasek was a very big fan of Suicide. This was a minimal electro number with a thumping “floor tom” drumbeat not a million miles away from the one in Talk Talk’s “Hate” on the surface, but where the British band trafficked in rock melodramatics with their fills, the incessant, monolithic beat here was much more relentless and driven. There were no fills at all! That was old thinking. And while the lyrical stance of the song; a compassionate look at a troubled young man, but then the personal became political as Ocasek slipped Jimmy Jimmy” the payload of the song.
“Are you pretending
It can happen here” – “Jimmy Jimmy”
The throbbing, incessant number was sleeker and much more minimal than anything The Cars ever did. It was mainly that beat, a little vocoder, scant synth sprinkled through it, and Ocasek’s vocal carried the melodic development almost on its own. It was a paradoxical blend of brutal machine energy and a genuinely genteel, nuanced, feel that spoke to the song’s kindness.
Next: …Grabbing For The Charts
I played this album a lot back in the day and still listen to it. Glad it’s been remastered!
Unlike a lot of Cars fans, I love the “Shake It Up” album, perhaps because I associate it with a certain time in my life. The song “A Dream Away” is still an all-time fave. Nonsense lyrics and a mesmerizing hypnotic sound. Almost motorik. Timeless, to my ears.
Ah ha! The Trouser Press flexi was also my introduction to this album (as a side note I still have them all —save the first one, by OMD, dammit). I always liked Ric’s ‘conversational’ vocal on this track. And yes, he never shied away from championing the music of Suicide.
Also like your assessment of Panorama…the critics were out to attack that album; poised, it seemed. I thought it was swell….maybe my fave Cars lp after Candy O.
bpdp3 – Alas, I sold off my TP flexi collection [which began with JAPAN] in a moment of, uh, poverty where such niceties were deemed superfluous.
I am not nearly as down on Shake It Up as you are. It has a lot of merit! Only “Shake It Up” itself is an obvious play for the charts.
I need to revisit Beatitude. I haven’t heard it in ages and for some reason it just never comes to mind. I know Ocasek was frustrated at always having to have one eye on the charts with The Cars, so maybe he saw his solo work as an avenue to explore his more experimental leanings.
jsd – In all candor, I have only heard the two singles.
I’ve always felt Beatitude belied all the moves Ocasek would have made on the next Cars album, had Elektra not required hits. It is a wonderful mixture of Suicide/Be-Bop Deluxe influences which are perpetuated by the assistance of Greg Hawkes, Jules Shear and Stephen Hague (in his pre-devil pact guise). The Connect To Me Extended Mix that only appeared on the cassette (yup, bought the cassette just to have it) is one of my favorite Kervorkian remixes. It has always been the example I use when I declare, to friends that will listen, that New Order missed the boat not having a Kervorkian remix in the early 80s.
When Neon Neon released their very 80’s themed DeLorean concept album Stainless Style, I thought that Gruff Rhys and Boom Bip must have had a copy of Beatitude in their car’s cassette deck, driving back and forth to the studio every day…
Echorich – Verrrry perceptive call on the Neon Neon! Yesssss! I think you nailed it! And that Kevorkian mix of “Connect Up To Me” has NOT left my skull for days. It has been my mantra!