“Soon” by The Cars
By Ron Powers
For this month’s Flashback article, I’d like to talk about a song from one of The Cars’ lesser-known albums. “Soon” is the fourth track off the iconic band’s seventh and final studio album, Move Like This which was released in May of 2011. The song has a heartfelt and sweet melody that complements touching lyrics which are addressed to the singer’s significant other. “Soon” is the sort of song that sends low-key vibes and sentimental feelings running through your soul. It has a way of bringing the truly important people in your life to mind and makes you feel grateful for them.
“Soon” begins with softly played organ chords accompanied by faintly picked rhythm guitar notes. As the song progresses, sparse lead guitar is added with vibrato and reverb effects. After two bars of intro music, singer Ric Ocasek’s melodic magic hits the ears like a spell being cast. The words and melody work with the music to draw the listener into the song’s mellow sweetness. If you’re looking for a love song, it doesn’t get much better than this one.
For the pre-chorus extra depth is introduced to the music by way of subtly distorted synth with hefty bass frequencies. The band quickly transitions into the chorus where the arrangement is further added to with emotive synth string chords. A classy echo effect is added to Ric’s vocal as he sings the chorus lyrics: “But soon / the time / will come / I know what I put you through / the time / will run / away from us like time it will do”.
One of my favorite aspects of this song is the gradual introduction of new musical elements. The palm-muted electric guitar introduced on the second verse is a great example of this. With each new flavor of instrumentation, the feeling of the song is deepened and takes on a new shape.
There’s something very pleasing about how The Cars do this. They have a knack for creating sonic spaces with an unparalleled minimalist style that delivers emotion in a clean, balanced, and satisfying way.
The production of “Soon” has the typical shine of much of The Cars’ music with easily distinguished instruments precisely balanced in the mix. You just know you’re in good hands as soon as the music hits your ears. The Cars, without a doubt, had “a thing” when it came to their sound, and “Soon” is no exception. The song has a tried-and-true structure of three verses, three choruses, and an instrumental section. All of which are seamlessly delivered with a cool class that feels timeless and brand new at the same time.
Since the release of “Soon,” The Cars have put out several special editions of their past work. I particularly enjoy the 2018 symphonic version of their 1984 hit “Drive”. In September of 2019, The Cars’ lead singer and songwriter Ric Ocasek passed away, leaving behind some of the best rock music of all time. If you’d like to listen to “Soon” or any of The Cars’ legendary music, you can find it on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and most other places music is streamed or sold.
About the Author: Ron Powers is an independent A&R specialist and music industry consultant and is constantly searching for, discovering and writing about new talent.