Back in the land of the Cars, Panorama wasn’t that album only three people would like, but it was the so-called difficult third album, following the success of the debut and the reaction in the follow-up. From the start, it’s not chock full of hits. The title track is predominantly computerized and cold, hardly tuneful and very dated. After the better part of six minutes, “Touch And Go” is particularly welcome, a terrific tune that still spend most of its time in 5/4. “Gimme Some Slack” is also pretty catchy, even if does resemble “She’s So Cold” by the Rolling Stones, which had only come out a couple of months earlier. Ben Orr finally sings on “Don’t Tell Me No”, albeit in a snotty voice, but “Getting Through” gets silly again, complete with what would now be called video game noises.
Side two is a little more straight, even if there’s nothing as excellent as “Touch And Go”. “Misfit Kid” might have made some geeks feel a little less alone. Another digital explosion bridges “Down Boys” (NOT the Warrant song) and the softer “You Wear Those Eyes”, and Ben’s suite finishes with “Running To You”, which might have made the charts had it been a single. “Up And Down” is dominated by drums sounding akin to someone beating a bat against a metal trash can, bringing the album somewhat full circle.
Panorama certainly offers more of the Cars brand, but again, it was almost as if they were daring their audience to keep up with them. To that extent, they succeeded, but it doesn’t tend to get as many plays as their previous work to date. Maybe if they’d put a hot girl on the cover…
The Cars Panorama (1980)—3