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Hall and Oates: The Real Maneaters of Pop Rock

People listen to music for multiple reasons. Driving in the car, to get over a breakup, and to enjoy. But what about when individuals want to escape reality, feel like the main character in a movie, or want something to get them in the mood when walking to class? To meet these requests, individuals should turn to Daryl Hall and John Oates.

The two are known as “Hall and Oates”, and are an 80s pop rock band. They create feel-good, dance-worthy, and cinematic music. They have major hit songs that any age group would recognize and love! Their music has been featured in famous movies and TV shows, TikTok sounds, and commercials such as: “Grace and Frankie,” “Step Brothers,”“American Horror Story,” “Pitch Perfect 3,” “Euphoria,” “The Office,” “She’s Out Of My League,” “Better Off Dead,” and numerous more!

Hall and Oates' music has the ability to connect with individuals through their personal lyrics. Whether it’s a heartbreak or feeling like “you’re on top of the world,” Hall and Oates has a song for you! So, let’s break down some of their songs. First, “You Make My Dreams (Come True)” is about desiring something for quite some time and then it comes true, specifically with love. It is life changing to find someone to love and who loves you. It’s an overpowering feeling that no one ever wants to lose, and Hall and Oates explained it perfectly with their choice of words, beat, and composing style for this piece of art. In need of another “desire for love” song? Check out “Kiss on My List.” It will not disappoint!

A love song that has a darker side to it is “Private Eyes.” Hall wanted to communicate with the woman in the song that he knows and loves her so well that he knows when she’s lying. His “Private Eyes” aren’t only watching her beauty, but also her next move, her body language, and more. A little obsessive, if I do say so myself, however, Hall and Oates may argue that the lyrics just depict the feeling of being madly in love. The song has a fantastic music video with over twenty nine million views! The band is wearing casual clothing, then in alignment with the beat, the band switches to matching outfits of detective coats, hats, and glasses to illustrate their meaning of the song and their actions.

Besides connecting with listeners through love, Hall and Oates like to make a story for their fans through their music. For instance, “Rich Girl” is a fantastic song. The fun beat continues to increase and carry throughout the entire song. The song makes you want to clap your hands, stomp your feet, and even twirl around. But, when you aren’t dancing along, it’s interesting to hear how Hall and Oates describe this lavish rich girl with everything at her fingertips, especially money. However, what’s surprising about “Rich Girl” is that it’s not about a girl at all--Hall and Oates wrote the song about a guy! A friend of theirs who was filled with daddy’s money, and they thought the individual was a tad strange, and irresponsible with his finances. Therefore, the famous line, “You can rely on your old man’s money,” came to be. It’s incredible how the artists were able to hide the identity of their inspiration.

Not all of Hall and Oates songs are for their friends, but for their exes as well. “Everytime You Go Away” is one of the most heartbreaking songs I have ever heard. The tone of pain and regret in the boy’s voices, the slow bass and guitar, and echo on certain words demonstrates heartbreak. “I don’t understand why you gotta go, girl… Even though you mean so much to me..Go on and be free even though you mean so much to me.” These lyrics, and others toward the end, are said with a harsh and rising tone to exemplify that Hall is confused and broken.

Hall loves this girl so much that he’ll let her leave even though there is no explanation. The lines are repetitive to demonstrate how we, as individuals, process the idea of someone no longer being in our life. Numerous fans can relate to this song since many have dealt with heartbreak.

Lastly, the most well known Hall and Oates song is none other than “Maneater.” The song is famous for its lyrics, use in movies, and the confidence it gives fans when they hear this song and imagine themself as the main character. John Oates was asked in an interview with Access Hollywood in 2017 who maneater was written for. Oates explained that he was inspired by a woman he met that had a foul mouth, and thought to himself, “She would chew you up.” However, the song is not meant for a woman, instead Hall and Oates wanted to describe New York City, and how it can chew you up. Therefore, the famous lyric “Watch out boy she’ll chew you up,” came to life.

Hall and Oates not only got their fans' attention, but they grasped the attention of other artists. Digging The Greats YouTube video explains the connection between Michael Jackson and Hall and Oates music. Michael was a huge fan of the band, Hall and Oates, he adored their music so much that he would dance to their songs in the mirror. Jackson was inspired by Hall and Oates and took some inspiration to use for his own work. To illustrate, Michael Jackson had approached Hall and told him, “Hey man, I hope you don’t mind if I stole ‘No can Do’... I used it for ‘Billie Jean.’” Hall and Oates were surprised since the two songs sound nothing alike, and they were not mad. Personally, I believe only the first ten seconds of “Billie Jean” sounds like “No Can Do,” yet both are incredible songs that are still played to this day!

After creating hit after hit throughout the 80s and 90s, Hall and Oates continue to succeed. Both are currently on tour, unfortunately not together. But, the two still produce music; they dropped a single on October 6th, 2023 “Out of Touch - Avangart Tabldot Remix” that can be found on Spotify, Apple music, and more. I recommend “Change of Season” , a memoir novel written by John Oates if you want to learn more about Hall and Oates. I encourage you to check out more of their hit songs: “Out of Touch,” “Kiss on My List,” “Sara Smile,” “No Can Do,” and numerous more!


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