The Cars

My Best Friend's Girl

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Song Review by

Although much was made of their sense of new wave cool during their heyday, the real reason that the Cars' recorded work holds up so well is that it is built on solid pop songwriting. For proof, a listener need look no further than "My Best Friend's Girl." The Cars' recorded version has an unmistakably new wave feel but a look at its components as a song reveal it is pure pop through and through. The lyrics, which depict a man's frustrated desire for the charms of a girl who is dating his best friend, are the kind of classic pop-song scenario that has been utilized by everyone from Elvis Presley ("The Girl of My Best Friend") to Rick Springfield ("Jessie's Girl"). However, lyricist Ric Ocasek adds his own nifty twist the story with the lines "She's my best friend's girl/But she used to be mine." The music also stays firmly in a pop vein by crafting a melody with a solid verse-chorus pop structure and layering its verses with singalong counterpoint lines to the main vocal melody. The Cars' recording pushes the song into new wave territory with a musical blend of sharp-edged guitar riffs, glacial synthesizer lines, and the irony-drenched vocal delivery of Ocasek. Just the same, it retains its pop center with elements like handclaps and the call-and-response interplay between Ocasek and the background vocals. This tension between crowd-pleasing pop hooks and new wave irony made "My Best Friend's Girl" stand out from the pack and it became a Top 40 hit as a result. It remains a favorite new wave oldie for radio programmers and one of the classics of the Cars' catalog.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Cars 1978 Elektra 3:44
Greatest Hits 1985 Elektra 3:40
No Image 198? Elektra
Sounds of the Seventies: Seventies Top Forty 1992
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:45
Ultimate Rock, Vol. 1 1993
Various Artists
Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology 1995 Rhino 3:46
Teenage Kicks: 46 Classic Punk & New Wave Tracks 1995
Various Artists
PolyGram 3:42
Champions of Rock-n-Roll, Vol. 2: Stud Rock - Rock Me 1998
Various Artists
Simitar Distribution 3:44
Spirit of America [Crimson] 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
No Image 1999
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
Pop in the 70's, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:47
Candy-O/Heartbeat City/The Cars 2001 WEA International 3:43
Complete Greatest Hits 2002 Rhino 3:45
All the 70's 2003
Various Artists
Warner Bros. 3:46
The Essentials 2005 WEA International 3:46
Power Pop Anthems 2005
Various Artists
Virgin / EMI 3:41
'70s: Gold 2006
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:44
My Best Friend's Girl 2008
Original Soundtrack
Lionsgate
Rhino Classic Albums Collection [f.y.e. Exclusive] 2009 Rhino 3:43
Original Album Series 2009 Elektra / Rhino 3:43
The Old Grey Whistle Test 2010
Various Artists
Rhino / Wea UK 3:43
No Image 2011
Various Artists
100 Hits / DMG 3:40
Studio Album Collection, 1978-1987 2014 Elektra / Rhino 3:47
The Elektra Years: 1978-1987 2016 Elektra / Rhino 0:00
Moving in Stereo: The Best of the Cars 2016 Elektra / Rhino 3:44
100 Greatest Classic Rock Songs
Various Artists
Rhino 3:47
100 Hits: Dad
Various Artists
Demon Music Group / DMG 100 3:42
American Classics [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino
Classic Driving Songs
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 3:42
Drive Time [Dino]
Various Artists
Dino Entertainment
The Heart of Classic Rock [Box Set]
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:41