Record #421: Hall & Oates – X-Static (1979)

I’ve been trying to pin down Hall & Oates.

It has not been easy.

Having only heard the big singles “Maneater,” “Kiss On My List,” and “Private Eyes,” I had expected them to be a pretty Middle of the Road soft rock group. Then Voices surprised me with its fascination with new-wave and punk textures.

So I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect with X-Static, released a year before Voices and covered with one of the most dated album covers of all time.

There seems to be even more genre experimentation, which makes Voices (which again, already surprised me) seem tame. Funky bass lines slap through the entire the record. The discopunk “Bebop and Drop” is sandwiched between the Policey reggae of “Number One” and “Hallafon,” a two minute Sega-Genesisy instrumental that leads into the best Cars impression they could muster. It’s not a completely cohesive album, but it’s variety is a few steps away from the “scattered” accusation often lobbed at it.

There are some real great tunes on here, too. “Wait For Me” is a soft rock ballad laden with lush harmonies. The six-and-a-half minute “Running From Paradise” is almost prog rock, forecasting a little bit of where Yes would end up on 90125. 

While nothing on here came close to getting as big as their later hits (“Wait For Me” just barely cracked the top 20), it’s much more independently enjoyable than it’s often given credit for.

One thought on “Record #421: Hall & Oates – X-Static (1979)

  1. Pingback: Record #450: Hall & Oates – Private Eyes (1981) | A Year of Vinyl

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