Daryl Hall and John Oates – Kiss on my List

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.

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One Response to Daryl Hall and John Oates – Kiss on my List

  1. RBerman says:

    Yay, Hall and Oates! The thing is that a year prior (i.e. in early 1980) they were “Those Philly Soul guys who had a few hits five years ago.” Anyone who suggested that thirty years later H&O would be the subject of a doting techno-lite tribute album (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfP7hjjId3E) or the accompaniment of the awesomest cinematic fantasy dance routine ever (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tJoIaXZ0rw) would have been met with either a quizzical shrug, or a sneer. Their makeover from sensitive soul crooners to big-hair, big-shoulderpad technopop New Wavers has got to be one of pop music’s most pleasing comeback stories, particularly since their Second Coming was far more successful than the first one, as future installments of your blog will have the opportunity to demonstrate.

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