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Overrated/Underrated: Hall & Oates Songs

December 6, 2010

Lately, I’ve been on a serious Hall & Oates kick; reliving the 80s bestselling duo’s choicest cuts and wondering how Hall got his hair so Adam Currylicious and how often Oates trimmed his pr0nny ‘stache. In doing so, I’ve found myself wondering why certain more lackluster songs are the only ones I ever hear in grocery stores or Rite-Aid and why all the really awesome ones are only to found in the back of my closet or buried deep within my iPod. As an aside, ever noticed how it’s virtually impossible to have a cogent conversation with someone while “Private Eyes” (a song I feel is neither over nor underrated) plays in the background? Clap…clap clap… What, what was I saying?


“Wait for Me”

“Wait For Me” came into my life via Rock and Soul Part 1 which I listened to incessantly when I was about 13 or 14. While I tended to prefer the newer hotness, I found the charms of “Wait for Me” irresistible. “Love is what it does and ours is doing nothing,” used to seem such a deep lyric back in the day.

“Did it in a Minute”

I never tire of this song’s intro, which is so more “rock” than what I was used to with them. I also think catchy in a more grown up and complex way. At least I thought so when I was 15. “And if two can be one, who is the one two becomes?” Ouch! Don’t hurt yourself, Daryl!

“Everything Your Heart Desires”

Never underestimate how sharing a similar fashion aesthetic with a singer – Daryl’s polka dot/floral situation – can make you love a video and subsequently a song as well. I’m certain 90% the reason I think this song is underrated is because I’m allowing my love of our matching wardrobe cloud my ability to accept the mediocrity of this song. That said, it’s one of the only H20 songs with talking in the middle! You know, I can’t resist that.


“One on One”

This wannabe “Wait For Me”/”Every Time You Go Away” always forced me to sigh indignantly and fast forward to the next song on the cassette. Though, I have to confess I used to sing its staccato sounding verses into a fan in order to see if I could sound as annoying as I believe this song to be. Hey, I never claimed to be a romantic. And for the most part, overly earnest slow jams are just not my thang.

“You Make My Dreams”

Something about this song always rubbed me wrong. I can’t tell if its slick, smug lyrics or its cloying interplay of hook, bridge and chorus. It just grates and I’m sure there people who feel it doesn’t get the love it deserves. But trust me, if you’ve ever spent more than five minutes in a drugstore, you’d soon discover this song gets plenty of love; much of it is not deserved.

“You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”

Oh my Xena, make it stop. This song was inescapable and I’ve always hated every single one of its whiny notes, regardless of who is singing it. I feel the same way about “Unchained Melody”, which thankfully, H2O didn’t happen to cover.

What are your faves. Do you want to light your hair on fire every time you hear “Method of Modern Love”? Or “Family Man”? Do you enjoy their new hotness and find some of those tracks underrated? Spill.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. December 6, 2010 10:34 am

    How did “You Make My Dreams” become the Hall & Oates Signature song? I’ve heard it in a couple of movies recently and it’s always in an extremely annoying context… like even more annoying than the song itself! Also, I questioned the sanity of them covering the Righteous Brothers.

    When I was a sales manager at Macy’s, their track “Method of Modern Love” was a hit… and I was working in the toy department (which was called “Parade of Toys” just to pound home the connection of the Holidays and buying treats for the kids)… so when I heard that song, in my head I was hearing:

    “P-A-R-A-D-E O-F T-O-Y-S the method of modern toys!” Thankfully, it seems like few or no programmers remember this song, so it’s hardly ever played.

  2. December 6, 2010 12:51 pm

    I curse the day “You Make My Dreams” became H&O’s signature song because it’s by far one of their worst. It’s not as bad as their rendition of “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”, it’s worse. At least they didn’t write “You’ve lost that loving feeling”. And mostly Top Gun has as much responsibility for making that song grate my nerves as Hall & Oates does.

    I also find “She’s Gone” rather tedious and unsure why it’s placed in such rarefied air. It doesn’t even sound all that “soul-ish” yet is constantly held up as some example real fine soul music craftsmanship.

  3. December 6, 2010 1:25 pm

    my friend Cox loves this underrated hit.

  4. December 6, 2010 1:29 pm

    and of course many of the John singing songs are underrated too. this is one of my favorites in that category. sexy cab driver!

  5. December 6, 2010 3:04 pm

    I’d put “Sara Smile” in the “overrated” category. I find it incredibly boring.

    I don’t think you could “Maneater” underrated exactly, but I don’t think this fun song gets the respect it deserves.

  6. December 6, 2010 3:40 pm

    @raymondj I nearly put “Possession Obsession” on the underrated list, but I figured nobody would know of its existence but you and me – and Oates!

  7. IrishUp permalink
    December 6, 2010 4:00 pm

    I remember seeing the VH1 “Behind the Music”, and finding out that Sara still couldn’t hear a muzak version of “Sara Smile” w/o getting weepy – it made me like the song again.

    I just heard “Out of Touch” on the radio, and found myself surprised at how well it’s held up. I don’t know how underrated it is generally, but I feel like I underrated it.

  8. December 6, 2010 7:08 pm

    I just heard “Out of Touch” on the radio, and found myself surprised at how well it’s held up. I don’t know how underrated it is generally, but I feel like I underrated it.

    I agree and have wondered the same. Of all the Big Bam Boom cuts, I think it’s my favorite. It’s a lot more satisfying than the vastly popular hit cum spelling lesson “Method of Modern Love”, though I do have to say I love the hook and fade out of MoML.

  9. December 7, 2010 1:08 am

    @snarky I don’t quite know and I know we can’t take it to court, but somehow “She’s Gone” finishes with a similar template as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and even I can’t explain that. I’m not sure there’s enough there for Ashford & Simpson to get a payday out of it (or that they would sully their names even if there were one), but I think that’s part of the musical issue. The rest comes from the lyric, as it’s one of those “universal truth” elements of a love song that relates it to anyone who has ever loved and lost.

    and now, your seriously WTF moment:

    I can’t even begin to list everything that’s wrong with this, but I would start with Daryl’s cute platform sandals and dark socks as he points his toes, and John’s shirtless dickey. So much more horror!

  10. evmaroon permalink
    December 7, 2010 2:52 am

    I love “She’s Gone”! Also “Sara Smiles.” I have no nit-picking with any of these; you’re spot on each of the over and under-rated. And I want me some of those platform sandals. Nobody’s wearing them in Seattle.

  11. evmaroon permalink
    December 7, 2010 2:53 am

    Sorry you don’t like that one, Redlami…

  12. December 7, 2010 9:49 am

    Sara Smile is one that I groan when it starts, but halfway in I’m totally singing along. Same with She’s Gone, which definitely has a dramatic build like Aint No Mountain High Enough, but otherwise musically, I don’t see the connection?

  13. metermouse permalink
    December 8, 2010 1:55 pm

    Aw ya’ll beat me to it I love “Out of Touch”! I also love “Maneater” those are prob my two fav Hall & Oates songs.

    Oh dear me, yes “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling” is just not fun to listen to. I’m not sure if its the song itself, or how many times I had to hear it while waiting at the dentists office as a child but either way I can do without it.

    @evmaroon I also enjoy “SarahSmile” for those smoooooother moments

  14. December 8, 2010 2:44 pm

    Same with She’s Gone, which definitely has a dramatic build like Aint No Mountain High Enough, but otherwise musically, I don’t see the connection?

    I think their muzak versions sound similar but that’s some damning praise.

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