First Hit #1: April 11, 1981
It’s production habits that date music, because Kiss On My List is a laundry list of 1980s production techniques from being something else completely. The song really doesn’t depart that far from songs of the ’50s and ’60s. It’s a simple song about kissing that, if you swapped out the synths for strings and Hall and Oates for some ladies, could have easily been a hit for a girl band. It has the bones of a much older song, but it was made then current, and now dated, by the instruments. Hall and Oates could have sung it whenever, of course. The synth, the oddly tinny piano, the electric guitar solo that shows up briefly, those all smell strongly of 1981. Which is fine, if it’s 1981, since it’s what people want. It’s even fine now, when children of the ’80s are reaching back and embracing the sounds of their childhood. It’s just a case where production style can completely change the atmosphere of the track.