As for "influence," the electronic hi-hat is something I often try to mimic and I love to make big contrasts between rock and roll and electronics. This song tells me it's OK to carry on with that tradition.
"Touch And Go" is an excellent little pop number, although it might be a little too long for its purpose. It features one of Ellott Easton's most melodic guitar solos, and Greg Hawkes' keyboards fit perfectly in spite of the song's sort-of country-ish tone. Ben Orr, whose bass playing was usually quite straight-forward for The Cars, gets to play some unique, melodic offbeats during the verses. The song gets stuck in my head quite a bit, although I don't think I really like it very much. It's not a bad song; it's just not really my style.
The album features a couple throwaway tracks: "Down Boys" and "Misfit Kid" don't fully make the cut for me. I enjoy them, but never choose to listen to them. "You Wear Those Eyes" isn't an overly strong outing either, although I'm sure it made a few girls swoon in 1980. "Running to You" could have been a pop hit, although its rough-around-the-edges tone makes it less ideal for radio. These songs, although they weren't exceptionally strong in contrast with the best of The Cars' catalogue, still sound pretty good and refreshing today.
Again, The Cars made better albums. But I come away from Panorama with a smile. I feel it shows the ways The Cars matured after two successful pop records, and I enjoy the angry, experimental layers that it featured. I feel as if they wanted to add a few less-pop-ish songs to their live shows, knowing that they'd have to play "Best Friend's Girl," "Just What I Needed," and "Let's Go" for the remainder of their careers. But Panorama gave them some room to express some anger and angst, something that lacked from their first two records.
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