My teen years were spent rediscovering some of the songs that I had missed in the 1980s while I was growing up. Mostly during that time, I spent my days trying to “tape” Phil Collins off the radio. A lot of patient waiting with my finger poised on RECORD. Luckily it was cool in my basement in the summer and only a short run to the fridge for freezie pops.
I like the kind of music that most people are subjected to when they are in the exam chair at their 6 month dental cleaning. It may come from working in a grocery store for so long (6 years) where the Musak was piped-in 24/7. At 15-years-old I would find myself singing harmony to 10cc songs while stocking those little boxes of Jello. And I liked it.
Hall and Oates were one of those groups that got a lot of play in the aisles of the grocery store. The group was a rock/soul constant of the 70s and 80s that was light enough to play in an elevator but cool enough that your parents would play it while barbecuing for their friends. Still a frequent visitor to my Ipod, I was delighted last spring to discover that modern day indie/pop group The Bird and The Bee had just released Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: Daryl Hall and John Oates.
The Bird and the Bee don’t disappoint on this album of Hall and Oates covers. Personal favs “Maneater,” “She’s Gone” and “One On One” sparkle as lighter, indie-pop covers of the originals. The ever predatory bassline of “I Can’t Go For That” still drives The Bird and The Bee version; it’s just subdued a bit with a few more synths and clap-tracks. Lead female vocalist Inara George even keeps it real on “Sara Smile” by not changing lyrics or gender roles. Gotta give her props for that. I’m a purist.
Missed on the album are “Out of Touch” and “Adult Education.” You may ask, ‘how could you ever remake “Out of Touch?”‘ Good point. Maybe The Bird and The Bee left it off the record as a homage to its original greatness.
Either way, there is some good stuff on The Bird And The Bee album. It’s part of an industry trend in electronic/dance that pulls from new artists’ 1980s roots. My predictions tell me that Toto will be the next big influence, followed by the often under-appreciated Huey Lewis and the News. We’ll see if I am right.
Check out this refreshing take on the masters. The Bird And The Bee’s cover of “I Can’t Go For That” is below.