Lets operate under the assumption that one 80s band had to come back twenty years later. It was a necessity, so all the late 80s babies who didn’t remember Reagan could embrace Flashdance necklines and side ponytails and screaming cheeseball lyrics at bars. I wish we’d put it up for a vote. (Now there’s an 80s party—round up your friends, a couple of podiums, and a gavel, and prepare to debate the finer points of Wham! and White Snake. Extra points for costumes, kamikaze shots for all!) If we had, my vote would be on legendary facial hair titans and talented punchlines of pop, Hall & Oates. (Do you hear that world? Now quit playing Journey, and making it possible for a band and a song to tire out twice.)
About a year ago, Joshua and I wrote a post about our Top 5 Worst Love Songs, and Joshua’s list featured the classic “Your Kiss Is On My List.” I groaned and giggled through the rest of the list but when I played that Hall and Oates gem, it stuck. It had that scary song magic, the kind that propels your finger forward to hit play over and over again, that runs the lyrics through your head and pushes them out of your mouth as you walk around the house. Sometimes that song magic is awesome and I manically play “Make It Known” by Foxygen 12 times a day until I know every crevice and cranny of it and can luxuriate in it and announce it to all music loving friends. And sometimes I know all the words to “Va-Va-Voom” by Nicki Minaj and shut up, it happens.
So lets say, like me, you’ve contracted songitis of the Hall & Oates persuasion. Lets say you want to play it from the rooftops, but maybe, just maybe, don’t want to blast the originals again and again like you’re the DJ for a strip mall dollar store. The bird and the bee have a solution for you.
Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates is an album of charming, respectful Hall & Oates covers. They maintain the catchiness but slightly update the originals with a more layered sound and a female vocalist (Inara George). The covers remain fairly true to the originals—there’s no cute trick here, they’re not stripped down or made acoustic, they could slink into any 80s mixtape and get along with their mixtape-mates. But they sound a little fresher, a little better, and a lot less like Hall & Oates proper, which is important when you find yourself playing their songs incessantly.
I’ve been hooked on their cover of “Rich Girl,” which popped up on a playlist last Sunday as I made coffee.
“What is this? I really like it,” my 80s-music-hating boyfriend said.