Do It for Love
our score: 4.5 out of 5.0
I absolutely cannot believe that I'm about
to say this, but here goes: I absolutely love the new record from
Hall and Oates. I know, I know—you're worried about me.
Well, get in line; no one I know can believe it either. But there
you have it.
if Do It for Love was just a return to Hall & Oates'
hitmaking '80s form, I wouldn't be all that excited about it.
I didn't like that whole era of H+O—those were some lowest
common denominator popwürks for real: "Private Eyes,"
"Maneater," I disliked them all, and I especially hated
the way I couldn't get them out of my head. No, I was all down
with the earlier, weirder Hall and Oates: the mystical "Sara
Smile," the epic soul of "She's Gone," stuff like
that. So when they reinvented themselves as brutally efficient
pop hitmakers I thought they'd sold out and I turned my teenage
head. (I'm really feeling old right now.)
But I'll be damned if this isn't a great
synthesis between their early Philly "blue-eyed soul"
(awful term—people should just come out and say "white")
period and their later Perfect Pop Radio Song period. It jumps
off to a cool acoustic guitar-led soul song "Man on a Mission,"
which uses the classic Sam Cooke "take a popular cliché
and structure an entire song around it and sing it like you mean
it" formula, and never really lets up for its entire 56-minute
We get their big #1 Adult Contempo hit
"Do It for Love," which is a little too smoothed-out
for my tastes, but is still well-nigh perfect—Daryl Hall's
voice has lost none of its soaring earnestness with age, and gained
a hell of a lot of depth. Songs like the beautiful and funky "Getaway
Car," the arpeggiated "'She' Got Me Bad," and the
pretty "Heartbreak Time," which sounds like the Chi-Lites
gone country will linger in your cerebral cortex a lot longer
than you might think.
are a couple tracks here that come out of nowhere, and they are
the true standouts. A collaboration with old homeboy Todd Rundgren
on Gregg Alexander's "Someday We'll Know" works way
better than you'd think it would. "Miss DJ" hits a southern
funk-rock groove that hasn't been heard since the Allman Brothers
or so, a perfect bed for Hall's voice to lay on. "Make You
Stay" detours into '90s hair metal category, with surprisingly
great results. And "Intuition" is an uptempo song written
(as are several songs here) by some young English songwriters
with a hint—just a hint, mind you, but a hint nonetheless—of
two-step UK garage in the verses. Craig David meets Hall and Oates?
this maybe isn't the deepest record of the year, nor the most
cutting-edge. But it's frequently lovely, slightly experimental
within its own framework, and relentlessly tuneful. And, if anything,
both Hall and Oates sound better than they did 20 years
ago. So yes, I'm voting yes on this great record, which I never
thought I would have liked in a million years. I amaze myself.
liked Do It for Love...
1. Man on a Mission
2. Do It For Love
3. Someday We'll Know
4. Forever For You
5. Life's Too Short
6. Getaway Car
7. Make You Stay
8. Miss DJ
9. (She) Got Me Bad
10. Breath of Your Life
12. Heartbreak Time
13. Something About You
14. Love In a Dangerous Time