Hall & Oates Actually 'Pop Geniuses'

So enough with the hate, says Mary Elizabeth Williams
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2013 11:33 AM CST
Hall & Oates Actually 'Pop Geniuses'
Daryl Hall & John Oates perform in concert at the Sands Event Center on Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, in Bethlehem, Pa.   (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP)

Hall & Oates get a lot of hate, but the duo—new entrants into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—are actually "pop geniuses," writes Mary Elizabeth Williams on Salon. They're the kind of band that make "your friends groan in disgust" ... assuming you actually cop to loving the duo in the first place. Because "who admits to liking Hall & Oates? They're the musical equivalent of mom jeans, right?" Well, no, writes Williams, who explains why. The problem is that their songs simply sound too "effortless" and "cheesy," making them "easy to dismiss. ... But music doesn’t have to be broody or tortured or pissed off to be pretty damn great. Happiness is authentic too."

And the truth is, Hall & Oates' songs have "irrepressible melodies" that "nod to the lushness of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound; they riff on traditional soul but refuse to pledge full allegiance to it. They shine." And they do all of the above "with tremendous finesse," which is why the hits hold up well even today. And they've influenced everyone from Pulp to Michael Jackson to Mayer Hawthorne to Death Cab for Cutie to Minus the Bear to rap and hip-hop stars. Artists like Hall & Oates "invite you to do something really radical for the space of three and a half or so minutes—to just shut up and be happy." Click for Williams' full column. (More Hall & Oates stories.)

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