// Album Recommendation

Hall & Oates

Our Kind Of Soul

(2004)

“For some ungodly reason,
We just won't let it die
I guess neither one of us
Wants to be the first to say goodbye.”

Our Kind Of Soul by Hall & Oates

Possibly taking a cue from Michael McDonald’s Motown albums, Hall & Oates recorded a tribute album of their own. As the title Our Kind Of Soul indicates, this is Hall & Oates spin on some of the Soul songs that had a big impact on their songwriting and inspired the duo’s own brand of Blue-Eyed Soul. Hall & Oates have expressed their love of the smooth Soul music that came out of Motown, Stax and Philadelphia International in several interviews over the years, but this source of inspiration was especially strongly reflected in their early works, of which the best examples are the two elegant and classic Soul ballads She’s Gone (off 1973’s Abandoned Luncheonette) and Sarah Smile (off 1975’s Daryl Hall & John Oates).

At their commercial peak during the late 70s and first half of the 80s, Hall & Oates specialized in a fusion of Pop, New Wave, Rock and, to a much lesser extent, Soul music. But as their success in the singles charts was waning, they slowly but surely started to incorporate vintage Soul sounds in some of their music again. On 1990’s Change Of Season album, three songs drew inspiration from the sound of their early Soul influences (Sometimes A Mind Changes, a cover of Prince Phillip Mitchell’s Starting All Over Again and Change Of Season), as did Promise Ain’t Enough and Time Won’t Pass You By (off 1997’s Marigold Sky). With 2004’s Our Kind Of Soul, Hall & Oates finally recorded an entire album’s worth of sheer Soul Music. To their credit, they manage to successfully combine vintage songwriting and modern-day production values.

Dispersed among the covers on Our Kind Of Soul are three of Hall & Oates’ own compositions that fit into the mood, the encouraging Let Love Take Control, the impassioned and pleading Don’t Turn Your Back On Love, and the blissful Soul Violins. As good as they are, it’s the tasteful covers that really stick in your mind, up-tempo and mid-tempo tracks like The Four Tops’ ominous Standing In The Shadows Of Love (“I wanna run but there's nowhere to go / For heartaches will follow me I know / Without your love, a love that I need / It's the beginning of the end for me”), The Spinners' romantically hopeful I’ll Be Around (“There's always a chance / A tiny spark remains / And sparks turn into flames”), The O’Jays’ regretful Used To Be My Girl, Aretha Franklin’s energetically funky Rock Steady, and Barry White’s lustful Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love.

Equally effective are classy ballads like Gladys Knight & The Pips' poignant Neither One Of Us (“It's sad to think, we're not gonna make it / And it's gotten to the point where we just can’t fake it”), Marvin Gaye’s intimate After The Dance (“I want you and you want me / So why can't we get together after the dance”), Teddy Pendergrass’ reflective Love TKO (“Tried to take control of love / Love took control of me”), The Stylistics’ oft-covered You Are Everything, and I’m Still In Love With You (“Though it hurts me so to let you know / That I look in your eyes / To let me know how you feel / Let me know that love is really real”). Like the old-school album cover art, the music on Our Kind Of Soul possesses a timeless quality. These cover versions are as valid as the wonderful originals.

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