HALL & OATES

OVERVIEW:
These guys are more interesting than people realize. I originally wrote them off as worthless 80s cheese-meisters, and I imagine others often make the same mistake. But they actually tried out a lot of different styles and their career dates way back to the early 70s. Daryl Hall is a great singer! Most of their records are elegantly produced and full of top-notch session players! They lose their way in the mid-80s, when their music really does transform into the horrible supermarket schmutz I’d originally expected. But we must not speak TOO harshly of any band with solid records like “War Babies” and “Voices” in their catalog.

THE ALBUMS:

Whole Oats
Abandoned Luncheonette *
War Babies *
Daryl Hall & John Oates
Bigger Than Both Of Us
Beauty On A Back Street
Along The Red Ledge
Livetime
X-Static
Voices *
Sacred Songs (Hall Solo)
Private Eyes
H20
Big Bam Boom
Three Hearts In The Happy Ending Machine (Hall Solo)
Ooh Yeah!
Change Of Season
Marigold Sky
Do It For Love
Out Kind Of Soul
Home For Christmas

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WHOLE OATS    (1972)

C

This is a very tentative sounding debut – the guys clearly hadn’t found a signature sound yet, and they spend way too much time on lame singer-songwriter pap. A good two thirds of this record contains utterly dull and unmemorable coffee house material, sometimes pretty but ultimately sticking to sub-Joni Mitchell blandness. Hall isn’t that impressive vocally at this point either, and their unmistakable harmony stylings haven’t kicked into gear. So…not many of the qualities that make up the duo’s best work can be found here. Songs like “Lazyman,” “Georgie,” “Waterwheel,” and “Thank You For…” all sound dated and corny, not to mention melodically lame. But there are some saving graces on here. The album gets off to a decent start with the fun pop ditty “I’m Sorry.” And “Fall in Philadelphia” is the closest thing to a classic, an exuberant pop-soul song with a lush and upbeat arrangement. The tune sticks out like a burst of color in a sea of wimpy drabness. But the boys would perfect even that songs’ formula on subsequent records –  and in total the whole album lacks the fantastic production values and super-pro musicianship soon to become a fixture of the 70s catalog.

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ABANDONED LUNCHEONETTE  (1973)

B+

This is definitely a giant leap forward for the band, as almost all of the debut’s problems are remedied and the band is now working with a much wider range of genres and ideas. The opener, “When The Morning Comes,” is a lovely pop song, and Hall’s vocals are immediately more soulful and professional. “She’s Gone” was eventually a big hit, and represents the first fully realized “Hall & Oates” composition – not their first good song, mind you, as there are other even better songs here…but rather the first time they hit upon something approximating a signature sound. The entire first side of this record is full of very very solid 70s singer-songwriter stuff.  That A-Side is WAY better than the B-Side, however, which contains the overwrought and not terribly well-constructed title track, a lame and generic groove-based song called “Lady Rain,” and an atrocious piano…thing that sounds like a holdover from the previous platter (“Laughing Boy”). But the album closes with a highlight – the funky “Everytime I Look At You,” which goes on too long, but is mostly reminiscent of classic Elton John. This is a very nice record, but too unfocused and generally under-whelming to be a classic. One of their key record nonetheless.

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WAR BABIES   (1974)

A-

I wouldn’t even be discussing Hall & Oates if they hadn’t made this one. Granted, this is a total anomaly in their catalog – first of all, it’s produced by Todd Rundgren (who is like the experimental/cool version of Hall and Oates combined). And not any Todd Rundgren – Todd Rundgren right in the middle of his peak artistic years, AND his peak drug-induced wacko years. The album also includes passages that sound VERY close to prog-rock, or at least art rock. And the whole thing is put together with an attention to production detail and experimentation that, as far as I know, the duo never again even came close to matching. As legend has it, the fan base who grew to love the previous two records (who I can only imagine as a bunch of complete squares) found themselves sonically assaulted with this ugly psych-rock, accusing Mr. Rundgren and his self-indulgent hordes for leading their blue-eyed heroes down the path of the 70s concept album. Well, this is my favorite of their records. Obviously this is a matter of my taste matching up with their goals at this point. The song-writing is still firmly rooted in pop and soul, but we now get the added bonuses of Rundgren’s peak-era production as well as a genuine sense of adventure. Suite-like structures, extended instrumental passages, weirder singing and vocal production, noodly guitar solos courtesy of Mr. Rundgren…like the album popped out after someone put Hall & Oates’ sound into an “awesome” toaster 😉 Two classics stand out: “Is It A Star,” a funky psych thing that just rules, and the anthemic FX-laden title track. But the whole thing is pretty damn great. These guys actually temper each other’s indulgences and meet in the middle – Hall & Oates for lameness and commercialism, and Rundgren for sticking his head up his ass.

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DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES    (1975)

B

Oh well, it was too good to be true. This is where the REAL Hall & Oates begins. After the stylistic bouncing around of the first three records, the guys switched labels and put out a super shiny, super professional, super 70s, pretty well-written and VERY well played pop-soul record. This is basically the band finding their sound. And yet, when I first heard this record, I was so angry – what a HUGE step back from what Hall calls their “experimental rock” album, as if that was a genre unto itself as opposed to a mindset. Once I got over my disappointment and actually listened to the album on its own terms, it revealed itself as a pretty consistent and pleasant pop album with great singing and an awesome studio band. The playing is sweet on this – the drumming in particular. None of the songs stick out too much – “Sara Smile” was the big hit, but everything sounds pretty much the same.  The opener “Camilia” presents me immediately with a reoccurring crisis in the Hall & Oates catalog: Is this song innocent and fun, joyful and magical and pure pop, or insufferably cheesy and tasteless commercial crap? Probably a mixture of both. I can’t imagine this album resonating with me were I actually a thinking person in 1975, when Steely Dan and Stevie Wonder were both making classic records (as well as many other amazing pop musicians – I just named two famous for studio sheen and their own versions of “soul”). But there are certainly pleasures to be found here. “Grounds for Separation” is a quirky fun pop song from Hall, and “Nothing At All” has a killer groove. Finally, it has been said before, but I’ll say it again: this record may have the least appropriate album cover ever – an image of the duo in full ladies’ makeup (and Oates still has his moustache!), clearly advertising something at least in the same GALAXY as a glam rock album, and this one isn’t even in the same universe.

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BIGGER THAN BOTH OF US   (1976)

B

Not much to report here – this is basically a slightly glossier and more overtly pop version of the previous record. The opener “Back Together Again” is very catchy and, once again, very well produced and performed. It gives off a huge mid-70s Bee Gees vibe – when those Aussie goof-balls started investing in black music as well. Then comes the huge hit single, “Rich Girl,” an unbelievably catchy song that once again straddles the line between utter cheese and pure pop – I suppose this is what they mean by “guilty pleasure.” Nonetheless, it contains deceptively simple (but actually quite complex) pop hooks very few could have conceived, let alone execute with such skill. Ye punk hordes can cry foul all you want…but it ain’t easy to pull off an obvious single with such panache. The rest of the album hovers around the “nice, but very slight” territory of the previous record. “Kerry” is an almost too-close re-write of ‘Camellia.” “Do What You Want, Be What You Are” has some unique vocal ideas (particularly  the ‘you can change, you can change, you can change’ harmonic mantra).  The closer, “Falling” is a pretty ambitious tune from Hall, with sweeping orchestral gestures. It’s decent, but there isn’t a whole lot of substance to the song, and as a result the arrangement sounds overblown. Nothing here grates at all – it’s just a cute brief little mid-70s commercial pop record – probably rendered insignificant at this point due to “Rich Girl” landing on any Hall & Oates compilation worth its salt, and nothing else here demanding investigation for the casual fan.

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BEAUTY ON A BACK STREET   (1977)

B

These ratings are getting repetitive, but that’s the kind of band we’re dealing with at this point: solid pop craftsmen, putting out solid product. I understand that this was a more “rock” attempt, and that the band hated this record. The first two songs seemed to paint the “rock” description as heresy – and they also led me to believe this was a significant step down from the previous run of albums. “Don’t Change” is dull and unmemorable, and “Why Do Lovers Break Each Other’s Hearts?” a generic 50s-inspired Four Seasons kinda thing, though it has a pronounced and impressive modulation in each chorus. But then comes “You Must Be Good For Something” and I’m flummoxed! This is TOTALLY a rock song, and it’s awesome! It’s not anything like “War Babies” – it sort of sounds like The Cars, and sort of like a late-70s Hawkwind song. This initiates a good run in the middle of the record: “The Emptyness” isn’t great, but reminds me of Supertramp and is at least unique. And the overlong but really fun and engaging “Bad Habits And Infections” is sort of a theatrical rocker in the mid-70s Alice Cooper vein (immediately post-band Cooper). It has an extended outro where Hall acts out a manic scene, screaming frantically under the fade – a trick right out of Cooper and Mott The Hoople. “Bigger Than Both Of Us” obviously sounds like a holdover from the previous record, and both “Love Hurts (Love Heals)” and Oates’ moody “The Girl Who Used To Be” are pleasant and slight. Which leaves “Winged Bull,” perhaps the most “ROCKIN” song here, especially since the middle instrumental section very obviously “borrows” elements of Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” The main part of the song is pretty stupid though – but I’ll give ’em points for the ambition!!! Another fun but forgettable Hall & Oates record. It’s worth hearing for the change in style on some of these tracks – just when you thought you had these guys figured out….

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LIVETIME   (1978)

(no grade)

This is a really bad and pointless live album. It’s not the fault of the backing band, by any means: featuring players mostly from Elton John’s classic lineup, they sound totally professional and at times fantastic. But the song selection is terrible (especially for a live record). The A-Side is nearly a total wash – the “Rich Girl” performance is very energetic,  but the vocals are terrible. Actually, the vocals are quite abysmal throughout this record, with lots of miscalculated over-singing. Maybe Hall just needs the studio! The B-Side is better – a long jam attached to “Sara Smile,” is pretty fun, and it’s worth hearing them try “Abandoned Luncheonette” live, even if it’s not entirely successful. The audience reaction when the band kicks into “Sara Smile” is pretty hilarious – that song’s arrival certainly doesn’t demand screams in my book. More like golf-clapping.  Or sighing.

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ALONG THE RED LEDGE   (1978)

D+

Whoa, HUGE drop-off here. In some ways, this is a continuation of the “Beauty on a Back Street” formula – rockers mixed with more standard H & O soul-pop. But the programming is totally wacky  – the first side is all light and slight soul-pop, and the second side is mostly underwritten, dull rockers. The record ends with the torch songy, “August Day,” which is shooting for Stevie and lands at Barbara. Wonder and Streisand, that is. To be honest, not ONE of these songs strikes me as anything more than boring and slight. Robert Fripp and Rundgren and George Harrison guest here, but there’s nothing experimental or unique about this record at all. I mean – you hear those three names gathering together on the same record, and you expect something a LITTLE interesting, right? Well, too bad for you. The opener “It’s a Laugh” is sort of OK. Harrison’s guest-spot song, “The Last Time,” is nice –  the song is total generic fluff, but Hall’s singing elevates it. This is also the first H & O record since the debut where there is OBVIOUS filler. And the whole thing reeks of late-70s “we don’t know how to properly adjust to our sudden dinosaur status in the wake of punk.” Production is dated and boring, the band plays it too straight and lacks personality. This is a total misfire, lacking even the pleasant hooks that this band usually makes a priority.

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X-STATIC   (1979)

D

Continuing to fall further into a giant rut, this is another god-awful late-70s H & O record. Too glossy by half, both “Red Ledge” and this one were produced by David Foster, a monster of schmaltzy commercial crud. When you hear the superlative results on the next H & O album, SELF-PRODUCED by the band, you have to imagine the duo were pissed off that their label was pairing them up with this jack-ass. Now, while the previous album still seemed a tiny bit rooted to a sense of identity and focus, this one takes in disco sounds, novelty lyrics, and end-of-the-70s radio fodder schmaltz –  it barely even sounds like a Hall & Oates record. It’s the kind of album that should never have even been transferred to CD off its original 8-track. This is just unbelievably dated. That would be OK if the songs worked – and none of them resonate at all with me. The only memorable hook is the single, “Wait For Me,” but that’s probably the corniest tune Hall had written up to that point. The rest of Side A is lame-O with a capital O, lacking focus and energy and guts. Side 2 starts off a LITTLE more interestingly – the lengthy disco-ish jam “Running From Paradise” is probably the best song on the record – at least, it has a semi-interesting arrangement. But the rest of the side is even WORSE than the first one, with three ugly dance-new wave-bullshit jams, and a throwaway instrumental. My copy comes with two bonus tracks – BY FAR the best things on here. “No Brain No Pain” would have potentially bumped this up another point – it’s my favorite track on the last two albums, and harkens back to the rockers from “Beauty on a Back Street” with its glammy-new wave delivery and minimalist nature. But this album sucks, and David Foster nearly ruined the band here in the late-70s.

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SACRED SONGS  (HALL SOLO ALBUM)     (1980)

B-

Daryl Hall + Robert Fripp + 1977 = Todd Rundgren. Basically. But not as good. I really wanted to like this album more than I do – I love the idea of two very talented musicians, from totally different mindsets and with fan-bases at odds with each other, collaborating on a platter. It doesn’t happen enough – probably because musicians and their fans tend to be too closed minded. Or maybe it’s because it makes too little sense on the business side of things. Or a combo of the two. The first half of this album works really well, and presents basically what I expected to hear – Hall pop songs made weirder and more guitar heavy and experimental by Fripp’s production ideas and playing. This was part of a “trilogy” of pop music for Fripp, and it does remind me a lot of the 2nd Peter Gabriel album. Warts and all. The title track is fun.”Something in 4/4 Time” is a standard Hall number made a bit more oddball via off-putting production. “Babs & Babs” is a standard Hall pop number made WAY more avant-garde with extended Frippertronic passages. Then there’s a spaced out little Fripp instrumental. That’s followed by probably the weirdest track of Hall’s career – “NYCYC.” A minimalist punky throbbing rocker, with Fripp’s style and tone lathered all over the place, and Hall singing in a fractured manic style. A lot of this sounds like the poppier side of what Fripp would be doing soon with Adrian Belew. Then there’s the 2nd half. It’s just plain bad. The songs are long and go nowhere. There are no hooks. The nadir is the nearly 7 minute “Survive,” a meandering thing that isn’t particularly experimental, sounding sort of like a mid-70s Elton John song doubled in length with no memorable melodies. So overall, this isn’t all that exciting. It’s worth hearing though, due to the “historical” collaboration and some strong moments.

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VOICES   (1980)

B+

This has to be one of the most extreme comebacks in rock history. Not only were these guys coming off a run of mediocre to lousy records, none of which seemed to register much in the public or critical eye, they were also entering a decade during which almost all of their peers totally blew it due to burn out, drugs, or trend shifts. But this is the tightest, best written, and most substantial record they’d ever released, save for “War Babies.” It basically takes all of the ideas the band had been working with up to this point and blends them together – instead of sounding like they’re groping for a sound, the album has a very specific and purposeful sound the entire time. There’s no A-Side of soul, B-Side of rockers here. It’s just Hall & Oates pop. And it was self-produced! AND it spawned some huge hits. AND it opens with one of those huge hits, which is written and sung (well) by OATES! (“How Does It Feel To Be Back”). The thing that really surprised me about this album, though, is that as poppy as it sounds, and as mainstream as it became, it’s still super muscular and even rocking. It’s like, as their own producers, the guys were able to figure out what every other producer they’d worked with simply couldn’t. Or maybe it’s just that early 80s new wave pop actually fit these guys like a glove. Everything on here works save for two tracks – first up is Oates’ “Africa,” a stupid novelty song. But at least that track is meant to be fun and goofy, which is more than I can say for the redundant “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” cover. It (the cover) sounds exactly like a wedding band performance, and perhaps the duo were preparing for their future if this album turned out like “X-Static.” The rest are all high-quality, hook-filled pop songs. Yes, the infamous chorus to “Kiss On My List” happens to be quite…fruity, and it does the rest of these tunes a disservice. That’s not to say it isn’t insanely catchy and well written though.

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PRIVATE EYES   (1981)

B-

This was a big disappointment to me, as much of the 80s H & O legend revolves around this album. It seems to be the clear favorite for this era. But besides the totally killer, and very popular, “I Can’t Go For That,” nothing on this album reaches the heights of the best stuff on “Voices,” This feels more like the beginning of the end to me  , which makes sense when considering the gigantic drop in quality right around the corner. This album starts off well – the title track is fun, “Looking For A Good Sign,” is an energetic Temptations tribute, and the previously mentioned hit single is easily one of the best songs this band ever did. The vocals, the groove, the hooks  – it just rules. But the rest of the album is very mediocre and forgettable. Oates’ “Mano A Mano” sounds like filler from an 80s J. Geils’ Band record. “Head Above Water” is sort of catchy, but doesn’t quite gel for me as a composition. I like “Friday Let Me Down,” it almost sounds like a “Voices” song, but it’s just not very memorable. The rest of the album is pleasant while playing, but left no impression on me. The muscular edge of the previous record has been toned down considerably in favor of something pointing the way more towards generic 80s synth-pop. This is a semi-decent product, but way overrated in the H & O catalog.

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H2O    (1982)

D+

Slipping even further into lightweight, faceless 80s muzak territory, this is a terrible record saved by a couple decent jams. “Maneater” is so overplayed that it’s practically become a novelty song, but it’s quality dominates everything else on here so severely that the rest of the album feels like an extended B-side to a single. Granted, the tune is not as good as some of the previous singles, but its catchy hooks are totally undeniable. Then come 4 hideously produced and totally unremarkable songs in a row (“One on One” is one of their biggest hits, but to my virgin ears it came off as underwritten  filler). Then there’s the Mike Oldfield (!) cover, “Family Man,” another big hit. It’s only marginally better than “One on One” though – I can’t remember a note of it. Then Oates’ terrible joke-song “Italian Girls,” where he makes a bunch of American-centric Italian references, and then asks in the chorus, “Where are the Italian Girls?” New Jersey, pal. New Jersey. The album picks up a bit at the end – “Guessing Games” and “Delayed Reaction” could almost have been B-sides from the previous record, and the final track, “Go Solo” is the only other valuable song after “Maneater.” But it’s preceded by the 6 minute Oates-derived hookless puke-fest, “At Tension.” Again, this album is considered part of their peak (and I think it was their commercial peak), and therefore does the most work of all their albums to cement the bands’ reputation as dorky 80s hacks, as opposed to pop-savvy 70s guys.

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BIG BAM BOOM   (1984)

F

This is just terrible. There isn’t one exciting note on this album. Sonically, this takes the band and lathers them up in the worst trends of the 1980s. The drums sound fake, the synths are garish, the songs are barely there, and the grooves are more suited for the mall than the dance floor. This is essentially the 80s version of X-Static – long unsophisticated dance songs put together according to some outside producers’ concept of a trendy sound. This wasn’t AS big a hit as the last two records, but it was still a huge success, so I can’t imagine how ANYONE with remotely decent musical taste would have been defending these guys in 1984. This is a short record with so little content it barely exists at all. The record starts with a brief goofy intro that is probably the best track overall (!) Then comes big hit and utter travesty, “Out Of Touch,” a song that has nothing to do with this bands’ legacy. It’s a generic piece of overproduced crap, with the corniest and most obvious chorus ever. Then comes smaller hit, “Method of Modern Love,” a song that most people would be embarrassed to be caught listening to – with its ultra-80s dance production and moronic vocal hooks, this song screams “DATED”. Though I just read an interview where Kevin Barnes from of Montreal describes liking the song – I guess the kids won’t have to be embarrassed to listen to it after all. But they SHOULD be! Then come the only two not-abysmal songs, a “rocker” called “Bank On Your Love,” and a more old-school soul ballad called “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid.” Both songs are shit, but at least not appalling. The 2nd side of the album is a total garbage – “Going Thru The Motions” and “All American Girl” may be the worst songs in the whole catalog, and all I remember of the other two are the squinty unpleasant facial expressions I made while listening to them. H&O took a 4 year break after this record – I’d like to believe that decision was made immediately after they played their families the final masters of this diarrhea masquerading as a Hall & Oates album.

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The subsequent H & O albums aren’t getting as in depth an examination by me – so I’m dropping the grades for the rest of the catalog.

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THREE HEARTS IN THE HAPPY ENDING MACHINE (HALL SOLO ALBUM)   (1986)

Very dull and generic 80s album, sort of in the BIG BAM BOOM vein. There’s nothing about the playing or singing that really stands out, and the hooks seem over-simplified and trendy. I found it boring and overlong and lifeless. The album title sounds like it belongs to a concept album, but this comes across as just another limp set of overproduced 80s pop drivel. Allmusic describes the lead-off track and single “Dreamtime” as a swirly kaleidoscopic psychedelic pop song. Are they being serious? What do they think this is…Skylarking?

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OOH YEAH!    (1988)

Now this REALLY sounds like elevator music. Returning to the studio together after a 4 year break, you’d think these two would sound refreshed and ready to put their dorky 80s dance-pop past behind them. Get back to what this band is all ABOUT – innocent hooks and crackin’ studio bands. But no, instead we’re in some sort of late-80s adult-contemporary mode. I refuse to believe that either Hall or Oates think this record is any good. Soulless, hookless, dated in a bad way, and to my ears, clearly uninspired. The grooves bounce along and the the saxes and cheapo synth/drum sounds bounce along with them. This is the exact kind of “adult pop” music that you hear from time to time at the supermarket or doctor’s office and don’t think to attribute to any particular artist. It’s too faceless and derivative and ugly. It simply must have come from an evil machine labeled, “adult pop.” That being said, the first track “Downtown Life” is better than the rest, and the album picks up a little steam at the end. But the steam still smells like sulfur.

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CHANGE OF SEASON   (1990)

Well, phew! This was apparently promoted as an “acoustic” album, which is silly because there are barely any acoustic guitars on here and I’m pretty sure the pianos are mostly soft-rock keyboard patches. But I can understand the claim in a certain respect – this is a return to a more relaxed soul-based song-writing style not seen on an H & O album since the 70s. The songs themselves are mostly forgettable, and occasionally even horribly recorded or dire, but large chunks of this are just sort of harmless. Basically, it’s what you’d imagine the guys who wrote “Rich Girl” would sound like in 1990, as opposed to the ones who wrote “Method of Modern Love.” So while I can’t remember one note of this after my sole listen (though the title track seemed to be highlight), I will still call it their best record since “Private Eyes” and an acceptable dorky middle-aged Bruce Hornsby-esque pop album. How’s that for faint praise?

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MARIGOLD SKY    (1997)

This one came out in 1997, after a SEVEN year break. Therefore, it’s basically a reunion album, and falls into some of the standard 90s reunion album traps: too long, too much filler and plodding material, and no hooks that really rival the classic days. That being said, the first half of this is probably an acceptable run of tunes for a dorky suburban Dad to use while testing out his new BMW stereo. The songs are professionally done, with actual hooks (but not particularly glorious ones), and the singing is still good. But this really does sound too close to “adult contemporary” for me to get too excited. The very first note on this led me to believe I was in for a REAL clunker – it sounds like a cue from Top Gun. But the song picks up a bit from there. The latter half of the disc, however, includes a series of overlong, totally under-whelming songs…by the last third, I was begging for the thing to be over. My other comment: what’s with all the outside songwriters? I thought that was a huge part of Hall & Oates’ identity – writing songs! The subpar track, ‘Want To,” for example, has four songwriters, and I’m pretty sure it only has 4 chords (unless I missed a bridge or modulation). So that’s one writer per chord. How is that even possible?

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DO IT FOR LOVE    (2003)

Bbbbbbbbboring as hell – overlong and way too reliant on “contemporary” R&B-style song-writing. We’re still dealing with a ton of outside songwriters here, and the result is a piece of turdy fluff. This sounds like a shitty boy band from 1998. And what’s worse – Hall’s voice is REALLY starting to show some age here in 2003. When Hall’s voice goes, we’re going to be left with pretty much nothing remotely appealing as far as this band is concerned. This is essentially a continuation of the “Marigold Sky”  vibe, with a more pronounced R&B influence. Now that the guys are so much older, the emotionality beyond their generic love lyrics is way less believable, and even creepy. I think the hour I spent with this record is officially the least important hour of my life. It’s not that it’s that much worse than “Ooh Yeah” or “Big Bam Boom” – actually, it’s probably better than those two. But it just gives off such an air of irrelevance, I can’t help but feel like an asshole while listening to it. Sheesh – there are people STARVING out there!

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OUR KIND OF SOUL   (2004)

A Hall & Oates “soul” covers record from 2004. Does that sound interesting to you? Then you’re going to LOVE this album, which is everything you’d expect and more. But for the 99.9% of people who responded to my question above with, “No! That sounds like the lamest album ever made,” I’ve taken the bullet for you and can assure you that your instincts are correct. This sounds exactly like “Do It For Love” – it was released only a year after that album, and I imagine it was recorded in a very similar fashion. And it’s similarly useless and boring and the voices aren’t as good as they used to be and you have no reason to listen to this unless you’re a compulsive moron like me.

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HOME FOR CHRISTMAS   (2006)

As you may have guessed from the title, this is Hall & Oates’ Christmas album. And to be honest, this is better than the last run of albums these guys have released. Due to the theme we get some time-honored folk songs – albeit very corny ones. There’s also a pretty bad The Band cover (“Christmas Must Be Tonight”), but at least it’s a Band song. And there are some strings and slightly more unique arrangements. But overall, this is a fucking Hall & Oates CHRISTMAS album in 2006! What do you want from me – a thesis paper?

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