Ric Ocasek

Quick Change World

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Quick Change World, Ric Ocasek's fourth solo album, is a perfect example of a botched effort on behalf of the record company. Initially, Quick Change World was supposed to be a double CD, including one disc (entitled the "Right Side") of Cars-like pop/rock, one disc of experimental music (appropriately titled "Left Side"), and also a book of poetry. When Ocasek's third release Fireball Zone failed to move many units, his label backing also began to erode and the label was unwilling to release this massive and far-reaching project. It was trimmed back heavily, and what resulted was one disc (and no book of poetry) that was split evenly between tracks from the "Right" and "Left" sides of the original cut of the album. Luckily, what was released is actually quite top-notch. Quick Change World does feature some of the shiniest and most full-frontal production of Ocasek's career, but many of the tracks only thrive in this environment. The album's real highs are in the "Right Side" tracks, which include the excellent riff-heavy pop of "She's On," the stadium-ready power chords of "Hard Times" (a song that was initially recorded by the Cars and was cut from Heartbeat City), and the ballad "Feeling's Got to Stay." The "Left Side" tracks are decidedly more uneven; while the title track is enjoyable and some of the heavier numbers, such as "Come Alive" and "Hopped Up" are intriguing curiosities, several of them fall flat on their faces. Several spoken word compositions are sprinkled around the disc, and they foreshadow Ocasek's next project, the entirely poetry-based Getchertiktz. Not surprisingly, Quick Change World was another commercial failure, even though there was a lot included in the album's final cut to please an Ocasek fan. Luckily, for real die-hard fans who are curious to see what the original version of this album might have been like, the entire "Left Side" was released in some European nations under the title Negative Theater, also in 1993.

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