Hall & Oates Are Living, Harmonizing Proof That There's No Such Thing as Ironic Hipster Kryptonite

Ten years after the Yacht Rock incident, the first mashup album is here.

In one of 2005's finest Internet-video vignettes, smooth-pop staples John Oates and Daryl Hall get into a shoving match, with Oates screaming, "No more songs about Sara! Get your dick out of your heart....Turn up the power!" It wasn't a real argument, of course, but rather one of many moments of friggin' genius from the Yacht Rock parody powerhouse, a comedy troupe satirizing the creation of buttery chardonnay hits of the late '70s and early '80s. The thing is, though, two years and bazillions of page views later, Hall & Oates are having the last guffaw. The No. 1 songwriting duo of all time has its singles playing in the jukeboxes of hipster dives across the country; Band of Horses covered "You Make My Dreams" on their 2006 tour; and Spin featured the pair with a quote from Killers frontman Brendan Flowers saying, "Everything you need to know about writing a hit song, it's in 'Rich Girl.'"

Speaking from his home outside of Aspen, Colo., Oates credits Yacht Rock for rekindling interest in his band—and lowering the overall age of Hall & Oates' fan demographic. "I think Yacht Rock was the beginning of this whole Hall & Oates resurrection," he says. "They were the first ones to start to parody us and put us out there again, and a lot of things have happened because of Yacht Rock." The aftereffects include a Georgia woman's college film all about Oates' mustache (sent to the singer-guitarist's home), a London DJ named "Father Oates" who takes "disco confessions" at a popular '80s club, and a busty blonde named "chloeisreagan" lip-synching "Maneater" on YouTube for more than 548,000 viewers. And musically, it means that the time is ripe for a Hall & Oates mashup album—the first of which is in the works from Gym Class Heroes. The indie hip-hop act has already toured under the banner "Daryl Hall for President," and more recently connected with underground Brooklyn producer J.J. Brown and his engineer partner, Dan "The Deacon" Maier, known for merging Ludacris vocals with Jackson 5 samples.

At the request of Gym Class Heroes frontman Travis McCoy—and with Hall & Oates' blessing—Brown and Maier hunkered down in the studio for weeks, emerging with a light-as-pastry compilation that combines H&O instrumentals with the vocals from As Cruel as School Children, the Heroes' Billboard-annihilating latest effort. The a cappella version of Gym Class Heroes' "Clothes Off!", for example, rests atop melodies from "Out of Touch" and "Family Man" and percussion samples borrowed from "Crime Pays" and "Missed Opportunities." The songs will make up the bonus material of a Gym Class Heroes live DVD, and will likely come out in the fall, Brown speculates.

Oates calls the final product "the most unique steps I've heard coming out of hip-hop in quite a while," and says he'll give permission to anyone to use his music, so long as the intentions are good. "Once you make a record, it's out to the world. Who cares?" Oates says. "For the most part, people are really creative and they do some interesting stuff. If I heard something crappy, I wouldn't be happy about it. But otherwise, why not let it happen? We already did what we did."

Loyalists are also encouraged to reinterpret Hall & Oates videos, as the band hosts a contest featuring both the sincere and the satirists on its Web site. Our favorite, of course, is "Video 23," featuring a bunch of college-age kids goofing around in cheap wigs to "You Make My Dreams." There's just something inherently entertaining in the wiggle of the guitarist's Oates-ian lip duster.

music@seattleweekly.com

 
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