Picks and Pans Review: Beatitude

updated 02/14/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/14/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

Ric Ocasek

A beatitude is a state of utmost bliss. Since that's a strictly spiritual phenomenon, it wouldn't seem like Ocasek's kind of thing. Ocasek, driver and chief musical mechanic of the Cars, detouring here to write, sing and produce his first solo album, may just be punning. After all, there's plenty of beat on Beatitude. It's a cool, spare, darkly pulsating piece of modern rock. Most memorable are the successive cuts Prove ("You don't have to prove a thing/Pretty girl") and I Can't Wait (' "Cause when you hold me/I melt away")—evocations of hardly spiritual beatitudes. The first, understated but steamy, melds black soul and white, high-tech angst. The second, jaunty and full of boyish desire, boasts the album's most crafted melody. Ocasek wanders into Talking Heads territory on Out of Control and Take a Walk (its vocal also recalls Lou Reed). Sneak Attack might be called Bowieesque, but give Ocasek credit. This album may not break ground, but like the Cars' productions, it's adept, and establishes its own aural signature.

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