ROCK-POP

Ric Ocasek ''Beatitude.'' (Geffen GHS 2022.) The Cars roared through Boston, and the US, in 1978 - and have not slowed up yet. Band leader Ric Ocaseks's first solo effort is like the Cars' first album - new, alive, and refreshing. The backing band, all local musicians from the area, is more than adequate. The songs are full of catchy, hook-ridden melodies - the type that you find yourself humming long after the song has drifted through your head. The beats are usually quick, the guitar playing tight. This album moves quickly. Songs like ''Jimmy, Jimmy,'' about the bad effect of society on a young man, combine the telling of a story with crafty musicianship and slick production. Other songs, such as ''Time Bomb'' and ''out of control,'' communicate to the listener a sense of confusion and frustration with the world today - in a simplistic fashion. Most all of the cuts have clever, thoughtful lyrics, something that Ocasek is well known for. His voice, limited in range but special nonetheless, produces a semi-casual feeling, yet remarkably an intense one, on this record. It's an album of intelligent lyrics and fast-paced tunes - with the freshness of the early Cars.

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