The Cars: “Shoo Be Doo / Candy-O”
Nearly important as having a great song on an album is having a great segue into that song from the song before it. Good segues are an art form, as any creator of mixtapes (or to acknowledge that we’ve moved beyond cassettes: mix CDs/playlists) will testify. I’m sure there are many examples of poor segues on albums, but those aren’t the ones that stick with you — it’s the great ones that do. The Beatles of course were masters at it, but one of my favorite segues in the post-Beatles era is by The Cars. On their second album, 1979’s classic Candy-O, they pull off a segue between an otherwise mediocre song and an excellent one, in the process making for something greater than the sum of its parts.
“Shoo Be Doo” would in any other situation be a throwaway song, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if it was originally not going to make the album on its own. But somewhere along the line, Ric Ocasek and/or producer Roy Thomas Baker realized that it made a fantastic lead-in to “Candy-O.” By doing so, the 98 seconds of eerie tension built up by Ocasek’s spasmodic, nervous squawks in “Shoo Be Doo” become essential to the release of the opening power chords of the otherwise straightforward title (I would say “titular,” but I always find that word somewhat awkward, don’t you?) rocker. The combination of the two was an inspired choice that resulted in one of rock’s greatest segues.
It could also be argued that “Candy-O” has one of the great endings as well, with its windup to a sudden cutoff, although there are many more songs that would compete for that title. Really, it’s a subject for a different post.
Got other candidates for notable segues? Let’s hear ’em!