08 July 2010

Vintage Somebody to Love: Daryl Hall & John Oates

I am on a crazy Hall and Oates kick lately. I'm not completely sure of my obsession's origin but it's been growing for years.

Late last month it reached its peak when I took a trip to the Princeton Record Exchange and bought the album Private Eyes for $1 on vinyl. I'll be honest and tell you that I don't listen to my record collection as much as I should (especially for the amount of money I spend) but I put this one on immediately. Yes, this newfound interest in listening to them constantly was fueled by hearing them at The National's concert twice but it's more than that. I've been lucky enough to see them a few times in concert opening for Chicago and consider "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" one of the sexiest songs ever recorded.

In recent months, it also seems like they're popping up everywhere. From the independent film 500 Days of Summer that featured "You Make My Dreams" prominently in advertising to the band's guest appearance on the finale of this season's American Idol. If you go by Wikipedia's definition of Hall and Oates you may know them from their "six #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100: "Rich Girl", "Kiss on My List", "Private Eyes", "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)", "Maneater", and "Out of Touch", as well as many other songs which charted in the Top 40." Well, that's a mouthful that you don't typically hear about a band. Last year marked the duo's 40th year together and they're currently on tour in the U.S.

At the risk of being the millionth person to critique their sound, I'd say they're much more soulful than poppy while still managing to make some of the greatest hooks in pop music history. Amazingly, they have also managed to stay relevant over the past four decades to the point that references to their music can be found regularly in television shows and magazines. Yet in my opinion they're similar to Chicago in the sense that they never receive the full respect that they deserve. They have 'lite radio' hits that we all know if we hear them but never delve further into the catalog to hear the deeper cuts and that's a shame. Unlike a lot of other bands, they have little filler on their full albums. Listening to Private Eyes, I was immediately drawn to the song "Mano A Mano" that has such a weird chorus I found myself humming it for days after (maybe too many days actually). This could have easily been another hit! If I were a musician I'd re-record and take it as my own.

Hall and Oates' music in three words: sexy, cheesy, lovable.

Music Maven's Top 10 Hall and Oates Songs (subject to change if I listen to more albums):

01. I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)
02. Out of Touch
03. One on One
04. She's Gone
05. Kiss on My List
06. Mano A Mano
07. Rich Girl
08. You Make My Dreams
09. Private Eyes
10. Sara Smile

So check them out!

p.s. John Oates is the one with the dark afro.

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