Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hall and Oates

Just in case you, the reading public, are going through the same unquenchable Hall and Oates phase right now, I thought I'd pass along the YouTube clip of their classic video for "Maneater":



What is it about this band that makes them so irresistible? This is exactly the same mix of surprise and a surprising lack of embarrassment that I felt when I started getting heavily into Fleetwood Mac a couple years ago. Is it just that I was too much of a snob in the past to give some of the most popular acts of the past a chance? Possibly. For that matter, what is it about a band like Hall and Oates that makes them seem so fundamentally uncool, which other bands from that time period, such as Duran Duran, have always been acceptable in a "a good song is a good song" sort of way? Heavy questions, yes, but here are some possibilities:

  • Hair. I mean, c'mon, look at these guys. Aren't they basically everything you didn't want to look like if you grew up in the 90's ? They're so tethered to the 80's it would have taken a lot of confidence, more than I apparently had, to like them growing up .
  • Their lack of "Englishness." One of the reasons that bands like Duran Duran and Inxs can always get some credit in the States is because of the simple fact that they're not from this country. As such, we can like what we want about them and dismiss away anything weird as some sort of English quirk that we don't get. But Hall and Oates? C'mon, those dudes are from Philly!
  • Oates's mustache. Oddly compelling, but ultimately too much to handle:
  • Too popular with the wrong people. Aha- finally we get at the biggest problem. Much like Fleetwood Mac, there are just too many people with terrible taste that like these guys. As a young snobby kid still sorting out what was good and what wasn't, it was just about impossible for me to listen to a band like this on it's own terms and look past the fact that you could like the same band as your parents. This is something that, thankfully, I've been able to get over. Because I'm sorry, if you can listen to "Rich Girl" and not think it's just about the best thing you've ever heard, you might still have some work to do.

8 comments:

William said...

oh my god, that is so strange that you bring that up. pete weiss burned me a hall and oates show two weeks ago. hall and oates has been all the rage in our circle lately.

Josh said...

Yeah, I don't really understand it. Does this just mean we're getting older?

Bryan said...

Older like fine wine.

agingsnob said...

I'm in class looking at your blog. I am learning how to blog...via Macmillan's reiumbursement. Brilliant, eh? Anyhow, I don' treally like Hall and Oates. But the other day my roommate and I decided that our theme song would be Electric Light Orchestra's "Strange Magic" but we'd change it to "Strange Maggie" like her name. Our home is now a derivative of ELS. That's mad old person, I think.

Stephanie said...

I think this video for "She's Gone" sums up pretty perfectly why Hall & Oates is so absolutely awesome. They are literally "paying the devil to replace her." It's so hilariously genius.

Megan said...

That video is pretty much the best thing ever. Platform sandals over dark socks for men? yes, please!

Josh said...

Thanks for the video, Stephanie (and to Megan for imploring me to check it out)! I've going to share this on the blog.

Howard said...

I love myself some Hall and Oates. I actually saw them in Austin in 1986 at the big basketball arena there and it was killer. Aimee Mann's Til Tuesday opened.

I too rediscovered them a couple of years ago. "I can't go for that" if frikkin' killer.