Artist: Gary Numan
A PsychoSONGanalysis by psychologist, Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen
AKA, Dr BLT
Before forging ahead with my psychoSONGanalysis of this classic song of the New Wave era, I want to give you an opportunity to hear a bit of my cover of Cars, as well as an opportunity to win it.
Cars (audio sample)
If you are the first to send me the correct answer to this Tollbooth Trivia Challenge question, you will win the complete Digital Dr BLT Download. Here’s your question:
Based on this Phantom Tollbooth
interview, what was Pat Boone’s initial career goal?
And here’s your link, connecting
you to the interview that holds the answer:
Here in my car
It’s hard to get by in our society without a car, though it can be done. Cars are dangerous. Cars are deadly. So could it be any more ironic that, in Gary Numan’s new wave classic of the late seventies, a car is the subject’s object of perceived security and protection from a dangerous world that surrounds him?
“Cars,” is “driven” by mechanistic beat, and the nervous energy and angst thinly veiled behind the decidedly flattened affect in his voice. These characteristics of the song gives one gets the distinct impression that the subject of this song has a love/hate relationship with the metal that serves as a protective barrier between the driver and the outside world.
The song’s dehumanized, alienated, mechanistic element is taken to such an extreme that it suggests an outright rebellion against an ever-increasingly dehumanized, alienating, mechanistic society.
Unless one is taking a necessary retreat, so as to rejuvenate oneself for the battles that lie ahead, withdrawal and social alienation are fueled by fear and, at worst, paranoia. The Bible says that “We have not been given a spirit of fear, but of love, and of power, and of a sound mind.”
There is plenty in this world to fear: Illness, natural disasters, accidents---both on and off the road, crime, terrorism, war, economic collapse---the list goes on and on. But there is only reason to fear if whatever one turns to for protection is of a superficial, ephemeral nature.
The Bible says, “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” Greater than a car? Much greater! Greater than any potential disaster waiting to happen!
So, to summarize, “Cars,” is definitely cool. It reflects, and aptly and unequivocally captures, the angst that defined the end of the 70s, as a decade that brought us both disco and punk. “Cars” is disco. “Cars” is punk. “Cars” is paranoia, when it takes the wheel as it steels the last scintilla of a man’s peace of mind. “Cars” elegantly captures the desperate futility of an alienated, angst-ridden man of the late 70s, taking the wheel of false security, and clinging to it for dear life.
Here in my car
Here in my car
“Cars” brilliantly articulates the problem, even as it not-so-subtly scoffs at its own proposed solution. The alternative solution is not contained in anything of a material nature. As an older song, a classic hymn suggests, “Safe am I, safe am I, in the shelter of his arms.”
God is the only enduring
source of protection. And, in order to further elaborate upon that
point, I’m going to look up some more Bible verses, and then I’m going
to share them with you, and break them down. Oops. Hmmm… just
wait a moment. It seems I left my Bible in my car……………………….