Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Private Eyes

Best of 2010

Song: Private Eyes
Artist: Bird and the Bee
Album: Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates

Alright, this is such an odd choice for a "Best of" year-end list, so much so I've been on the fence about it quite a bit.  One on hand, a re-read of my original post highlighting the album shows that I enjoyed the kitchy-ness of the project more than the actual music within, and then on the other; taking a look at my iTunes play counts shows that since March... I've listened to these songs A LOT.

The concept to this record is right in the title.  L.A.-based synth-pop band The Bird & the Bee cover the songs of 80's soft-rock legends Hall and Oats for their third album, save one original, which is engineered to sound reminiscent of... Hall and Oats.  They don't modify the songs all that much and do something super creative... they just re-do the songs with the cutsie vocals of lead singer Inara George ad production from indie-pop producer Greg Kurstin.  How is this worth talking about?

Well, throughout the year I played various songs form this record around at parties, etc. and almost without question, this would happen: a) someone would not necessarily be paying attention until they realize they know the song but realize that it's not the original, b) they would come to me and ask me who it was, no matter the track I was playing, and c) mention how much they liked it.  And again... throughout this entire year, I just played the shit out of it.

In that original post about this record I pointed out that you either fall into the camp that Hall and Oats were lucky, goofy dudes of their time that happened to have several cheesy hits in the 80's, or that they go down as one of the most important songwriting duos in pop music history.  And given the pure listen-ability of this collection of songs... it's hard to argue.  Songs like "I Can't Go For That" and "Kiss On My List" just sort of "fly" with the help of Kurstin's modern production, and George's pretty, wink-wink vocals.  I don't fully get just how much I enjoyed this record this year... I just did.

They didn't release any singles from the record, not even the aforementioned original that starts the album, "Heard it On the Radio," which turned out to be one of my favorite tracks of the year.  They reference the band and their songs throughout, and it just fits so well with the Hall and Oats' originals.  Pure pop bliss.

Maybe listing this album alongside the rest of this years best proves JUST how ho-hum this year was in music... or proves that sometime content can transcend even the goofiest of concepts.


Private Eyes

Heard it on the Radio

I Can't Go For That

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