Daryl Hall & John Oates

RCA, 1980


REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith


Daryl Hall and John Oates not only kicked off 1981 (with Voices), they ended the year as well (with Private Eyes). As my pick for the best Hall & Oates album, Voices winds up being a classic pop album and proof of why Hall & Oates were among the most successful duos of the decade.

For collectors, it was a memorable release because there were two different album covers to choose from. But it's the music that matters, and here the first taste of the disc was a risky cover of the Righteous Brothers classic “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.” And you know what? Not only do they pull it off, they make it better than the original. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The New Wave flourishes help to show the world that Hall & Oates, like Olivia Newton-John, weren’t afraid to change with the times. If anything, the way they adapted to the 80s was quite impressive. The blue-eyed soul was traded in for mainstream pop, which suits the twosome even better.

In contrast to how grim everything ended, Voices finds Hall & Oates at their very best.  Even the B-side “Africa” is great -- it’s one song I couldn’t get enough of as a kid. John Oates sang the lead vocal on that track, as he does on the opening song “How Does It Feel To Be Back,” which has a strong, deliberate rhythm and some nice jangling guitars.

Principal vocalist Daryl Hall also has ample opportunity to shine on the punk-leaning “United State” and one of my sister Laura’s favorite hits from the 80s, “Kiss On My List.” One song I have always wished could have been a hit single was “Hard To Be In Love With You,” because it is one pop song that has all the hallmarks of a successful pop song. Does anyone else agree with me about this undiscovered gem?

There are a few moments on Voices that either slow the pace down to a crawl or are just plain awkward. The organ arrangement on “Everytime You Go Away” falls surprisingly flat, especially considering it was British singer Paul Young who later transformed the song into a smash hit in 1985. The doo wop harmonizing that we’ve heard time and again from Hall & Oates makes a return on “Diddy Doo Wop (I Hear The Voices),” though even the sound of chopping lettuce can’t save the song from utter obscurity. Same goes for “Gotta Lotta Nerve (Perfect Perfect),” which contains lyrics that are about as dumb as its title suggests.

At least they have the wonderful summer classic “You Make My Dreams” to make up for the stumbles, which are not enough to mar a classic pop record worth hearing.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


Michael, Michael, Michael. Sorry, but NO ONE's cover of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" ever could or ever will match the Righteous Brothers' original, and certainly not a version by the likes of Hall & Oates.

© 2007 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of RCA, and is used for informational purposes only.