When I was a young man, I never thought much of music by Hall & Oates. In fact, I think all of the following words were used at some point to describe my feelings on their music: “lame,” “retarded,” “stupid,” “barf-tastic,” “for chicks.” For the most part I still think some of those apply.
The only real cultural significance I admit Hall & Oates have is that their song “You Make My Dreams” was used to great effect as an animated musical sequence in the film (500) Days of Summer. Also, Daryl Hall was in the episode of “Flight of the Conchords” titled “New Fans,” which instantly made him a billion times cooler in my book.
So with that said, it may catch you by surprise, as it did me, to find out that I was eagerly awaiting Record Store Day 2010 so I could pick up a copy of The Bird and The Bee‘s Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall & John Oates.
I went to ZZZ Records in Des Moines to do my shopping last year, and the selection they had by the time I arrived wasn’t what I would call top-tier. I bought a copy of Belle & Sebastian‘s If You’re Feeling Sinister, but that wasn’t a Record Store Day release, just one that I didn’t have and felt I needed. I looked around for about twenty minutes and didn’t really find anything else that caught my eye.
And then there it was, like a bright shining beacon of hope…
I had picked up a copy of the bands album Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future about a year earlier, and I was amazed by how much I liked it. On the surface it’s a lot of simple pop and dance beats, but there is some deeper stuff going on if you let it play and wash over you. Since I enjoyed that release, I thought this would be, if nothing else, an addition to the collection that might act as a conversation-starter.
When I got home and actually listened to it, my eyes were opened to the power of Hall & Oates like never before. With these slightly more lounge-y versions of their hits, I was completely taken in. Songs like “Rich Girl” and “Heard It On The Radio” were sounding more rich, and Inara’s voice was making the words come alive like those guys never could.
So I owe Record Store Day yet again for the great service they have done me. Without this special occasion, I would still be using terms I looked up in the Urban Dictionary to describe the music of Hall & Oates. Instead I now put them in their rightful place in the pop music pantheon, which, I believe is somewhere between Richard Marx and Bell Biv DeVoe.