A particularly melancholic song from a somewhat melancholy album – Unlike Parklife, The Great Escape is never actually fun, as such; it’s sad or its angry, and sometimes it’s both, but “fun”…? Not so much – “He Thought of Cars” is a song that continually falls out of control, the oppressive guitar riff beaten back by the choruses, but always returning, a musical migraine that threatens to overwhelm and suffocate the sadness and surrender of the lyrics (“Everybody wants to go/Up into the blue/But there’s a ten year queue”). Without the benefit of the fade in/fade out, the live versions of the song have an entirely different feel to them that, I suspect, is far closer to what was originally intended:
…It’s just more… I don’t know. More violent in the opening, more abrasive and really underscores the fragility of the verses, and the way the song concludes feels more… final, for want of a better way to put it. I wish this had been the structure (and intensity) of the recorded version. It makes for a clarity of purpose that the album version lacks. This was always a song about being trapped, in so many ways.