1980, Music

Voices (1980) by Hall & Oates

I must say, I had a pretty fixed idea of what Hall & Oates sounded like before I listened to this album. And it wasn’t a very good idea because it was based both on the few hits of theirs I knew of theirs and the fact that I absolutely didn’t know some of their famous songs were theirs. (For example, “You Make My Dreams”. No idea it was by them.

I’m surprised by the relative diversity of the material the relative edge (sort of) and, sometimes, the relative lack of catchiness. (I should point out that I’m not entirely surprised by the relative edge, given that Hall once worked with Robert Fripp, but I’m still a titch surprised.)

I sort of imagined a Hall & Oates album would be just this slick melody delivery machine and it’s absolutely not the case here. Now, maybe other albums of theirs are like that but this is not the case. I’m surprised to find some quirkier, less immediate songs. (I say this relatively, of course.) I’m not entirely in love with the material to put it mildly, but I’m impressed that it isn’t just  11 versions “Kiss on My List” and “You Make My Dreams”.

I’m also surprised to hear that the band sort of “rocks” at times. I know they are both guitarists and that they come from the R&B tradition, but it was still a bit of a surprise. I consider it a virtue.

But can I say that I see now point to “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”? This version is not an improvement in my mind, nor is it distinct enough – it’s kind of caught between outright homage most of the time and a new version in the bridge. On the other hand, the original version of “Everything Time You Go Away” is, like, a lot better than the more famous cover.

Much better than expected.


PS: This is not what New Wave sounds like. Stop calling it New Wave.

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