April 25, 2012

Are you alive, or not? Is there nothing in your head?

Me, in 2003:
Another thing about Hall & Oates: "Rich Girl" was the first song I ever heard bad words in. Oddly, or perhaps not so, David Boudrieau, who pointed out that the word was "bitch," later became the driving force behind a two-night intrigue with Christian metal.
 The day before:
Anyway, the other musical high point of the trip out was listening to Hall & Oates with Aaron M. We were so excited over "Rich Girl" that we nearly missed exit 2. I don't understand why they have become an object of ridicule. It's good stuff: nice production, tight arrangements, some good lyrics (maybe a little cheesy in spots but hey, it was the 80s [and, in fact, the 70s]), and Daryl Hall had a great voice (and they inspired the Son of Sam!). Hey hipster - I can hear you laughing - fuck you. 
Both these posts - pulled from the nether regions of my blogging history - remain true. And every year - or six months - or more (or is it less?) - I spend at least a fortnight remembering these things, and that I once spent a pleasant Christmas in VT with their bassist, the late, great T-Bone Wolk. (All I remember about this is asking if he played on "She's Gone" and him telling me that was before his time. He was very nice about it, though).

My Top 5 Hall & Oates songs:

5. Private Eyes
4. Rich Girl
3. Say It Isn't So
2. She's Gone
1. Adult Education

HM: .15-.30 of this:

I should note that my deep, enduring love for Hall & Oates is based almost entirely on a single collection: 1983's Rock 'n Soul Part 1. (I had H20 and Big Bam Boom on tape but I don't remember anything about them other than the singles). If you take everything on that album, throw in "Method of Modern Love," "Out of Touch," "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," and "Everytime You Go Away" you have a collection of songs that - hyperbole aside - is nothing short of completely perfect.

You laugh. You see this

and you laugh. Get over it.

You have to look past the 80s. (They date back to the 70s, anyway). Forget about the trappings of the decade. Forget even that you were like 10 when they were big so it's OK to like them now because you didn't know any better then. Forget Yacht Rock, even. Listen.

Or, you know, don't. Because if you can't be moved by the big drums, dynamics, and pronunciation juxtaposition of "Adult Education"*

then you're not going to be moved by "She's Gone"

not even at 2:23 or 3:10.

And if you're not moved by what happens at 3:10 in "She's Gone" then you're probably not going to care about Daryl Hall's collaborations with Robert Fripp, and you really probably won't care about this

which is not technically Hall & Oates, but you probably don't care about that either. It's OK. You are a robot. Not the fun kind or the cute kind or the sexy kind but the kind that slogs grey-flannelled through the Unreal City. You're Stetson. Worse, you're T.S. Eliot, and those are pearls that were your eyes.

*This video totally knocks "Africa" out of the water. Just so you know.


  1. Also: can't find online, but there was a mid-80s Doonesbury story arc with Jimmy Thudpucker going to Ethiopia for famine relief and a big concert. One of the dignitaries greeting him acknowledged his disappointment that Hall & Oates, "one of your most highly regarded black bands," couldn't make it.

    And of COURSE "Henry & Glenn," which has my most beloved depictions of Henry Rollins, Glenn Danzig, Hall, AND Oates: http://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/zines/3174/

    More in-depth comments later, possibly. For now, comics.