Hall and Oates Private Eyes on Numbered Limited Hybrid SACD from Mobile Fidelity
1981 Album Established Parameters for Decade's Celebrated Pop Sounds: Includes "Private Eyes," "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)," "Did It in a Minute"
Meticulous Merger of Pop, Soul, Rock, and R&B Crossed Over Into all Fields
Stylish, Sophisticated Production Comes to Fore on Mobile Fidelity Reissue, Mastered from the Original Master Tapes
Hall and Oates could’ve easily followed the protocol established on their breakthrough Voices, done nothing else, and watched 1981’s follow-up Private Eyes scale the charts. Yet the duo continues to press forward, further refining the era-defining stylistic mélange that propelled them to mass stardom a year prior. The creative and artistic peak of the all-time best-selling male duo’s output, Private Eyesdelivers relentless pop bliss and functions as an instruction manual that, as Rolling Stone opined, still teaches “the way to make rock girls, disco girls, and new-wave girls scream together.”
Mastered from the original master tapes, Mobile Fidelity’s reissue presents the Top 5 album’s sharp, widescreen production values with awe-inspiring detail and palpable realism. For the first time, listeners can get inside the songs’ internal mechanisms by experiencing first-hand the vast surfeit understated sonic effects. Well-appointed tones now grace the array of guitars, pianos, basses, and voices placed against synthesized backdrops. Each member’s singing also claims enhanced intimacy and balance. Offering tremendous insight, Mobile Fidelity’s SACD doubles as a lesson in the construction and sustain of big, bold grooves.
Advancing their rhythmic support and melodic symmetry, Hall and Oates give extra space to their still-underrated backing band, affording the material a muscular punch and organic warmth crucial to their success and ability to transcend the largely artificial era. While the tandem’s peers often relied on robotic mechanisms and now-dated keyboard noises, Hall and Oates wisely merge the period’s savvy sounds with tried-and-true soulful instrumentation.
Reflecting the album’s infallible level of quality control, no song disappoints. The three Top 40 singles—the title track, “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do),” and “Your Imagination”—feature clever elements such as hand-clapped choruses and staccato piano lines. The distinctive traits complement the duo’s hallmark harmony vocals and add R&B flavors to already-scintillating pop concoctions. Yet Private Eyes’ pleasures advance well beyond the radio singles.
Whether witnessed via the taut tension of “Some Men,” reggae-splashed “Tell Me What You Want,” or Motown homage “Looking for a Good Sign,” the group’s blend of dance vibes, electrifying hooks, keyboard loops, and sleek beats epitomizes seduction, style, and swagger. Private Eyes is an 80s juggernaut that hasn’t lost a step. Utterly classic.
"The sound is typical of the era, with an overly etched, over-engineered gloss, but it no longer seems to jar. Instead, it evokes nostalgia for the age of disco and big hair."
—Ken Kessler, Hi-Fi News
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Hall and Oates Private Eyes Track Listing:
- Private Eyes
- Looking for a Good Sign
- I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)
- Mano a Mano
- Did It in a Minute
- Head Above Water
- Tell Me What You Want
- Friday Let Me Down
- Unguarded Minute
- Your Imagination
- Some Men