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The Bird and the Bee

Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Hall & Oates

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Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Hall & Oates, The Bird and the Bee
Smith Galtney

Daryl Hall and John Oates haven’t been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but the mega-platinum pop duo—whose hit streak in the ’80s once emphasized the guilt in guilty pleasure—has been lionized everywhere else. The Killers, Death Cab for Cutie and Of Montreal have all cited the pair, unapologetically, as a crucial influence. The blogosphere is inundated with DIY dance mixes of H&O’s hits and obscure album cuts that barely tamper with the originals. The LA Times even praised poor Mr. Oates, long mocked as pop’s perennial “second banana,” as “a master of catchy choruses.”

Now comes this half-hour homage from another pop duo, LA’s The Bird and the Bee. Instrumentalist Greg Kurstin and vocalist Inara George may dress like a kitschy lounge act, but their H&O love is real: Kurstin’s electro-pop backdrops tastefully emulate the original arrangements of “Maneater” and “I Can’t Go for That” (one of the most sampled songs in hip-hop), while George delivers slow jams like “One on One” and “She’s Gone” as if she were singing Gershwin tunes.

It’s all a bit too reverential: One listen, and you’re off hunting down a Hall & Oates comp online, not hitting repeat. But maybe that’s the point.

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