The Cars

Good Times Roll

Composed by Ric Ocasek

Song Review by

The title seems to announce that "Good Times Roll" will be an energetic rock & roll rave-up, but the song is quite the opposite. The lyrics dissect the idea of being a party animal in the most withering style imaginable: "Let the good times roll/Let them knock you around/Let the good times roll/Let them make you a clown." The melody avoids the bright, up-tempo feel of the pop/rock style the title hints at in favor of a creepy, mid-tempo feel: the verses have a languid style that gives them an almost psychedelic edge and the chorus reaches for high notes that give it a desperate tinge. This creepy feel also pervades the Cars' recording of "Good Time Roll": starting with the ominous throb of an electronic drum and almost atonal guitar riff, it quickly adds Ocasek's clinical vocal and sleek layers of electronics to achieve a mid-tempo feel that is the antithesis of good-time rock & roll. However, it does retain some pop hooks, the best being Greg Hawkes' swooping synth lines and the catchy interplay between Ocasek's lead and the background vocals. As a result, it didn't fare as well as the singles that preceded it (it didn't break the Top 40), but it became a radio favorite for disc jockeys in search of credible new wave sounds. It pops up periodically on classic rock radio and provides a solid reminder of the Cars' ability to mix pop hooks with thoroughly trenchant irony.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Cars 1978 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab 3:46
No Image 1984 Vestron
Greatest Hits 1985 Rhino 3:44
No Image 198? Elektra
Sounds of the Seventies: AM Heavy Hits 1994
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:48
Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology 1995 Rhino 3:48
Everybody Wants Some 1997
Various Artists
Warner Bros. 3:48
No Image 1999 Tendolar 4:08
VH1: The Best of Where Are They Now 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 3:47
Indiana Pacers: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 2001
Various Artists
Alphabet City Sports Records / Alphabet City 3:44
Candy-O/Heartbeat City/The Cars 2001 WEA International 3:44
Complete Greatest Hits 2002 Elektra / Rhino 3:48
The Definitive 2002 Elektra / Rhino 3:44
Wonderland [Original Soundtrack] 2003
Original Soundtrack
Epic/Sony 3:45
Just Like Heaven [Soundtrack] 2005
Original Soundtrack
Sony Music Distribution / Columbia/Sony 3:48
Ultimate 16: Retro Rock Let the Good Times Roll 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 3:47
Rhino Hi-Five: The Cars 2005 Elektra / Rhino 3:44
The Cars Unlocked: The Live Performances [Video] 2006 WEA International 3:34
Heartbeat City/The Cars 2008 Warner Music
Rhino Classic Albums Collection [f.y.e. Exclusive] 2009 Rhino 3:45
Original Album Series 2009 Elektra / Rhino 3:48
The Old Grey Whistle Test: The Anthems 2013
Various Artists
Rhino 3:45
Studio Album Collection, 1978-1987 2014 Elektra / Rhino 3:48
The  Elektra Years: 1978-1987 2016 Elektra / Rhino 3:45
Everybody Wants Some!! [Music from the Motion Picture] 2016
Various Artists
Warner Bros.
CAPS: Campus and Pub Songs
Various Artists
Mood Media Entertainment 3:46
Rock the Dock [Mood Media]
Various Artists
3:47
Roller Rink Rewind
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution / Universal Music / Warner Music 3:44
No Image Elektra / Rhino 3:44
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