RIYL: Daryl Hall, John Oates, and Daryl Hall & John Oates
They’ve been feted in countless compilations, but Daryl Hall and John Oates have never received the deluxe box set treatment until now – which seems odd, considering they’re the top-selling duo of all time. The cumbersomely named Do What You Want, Be What You Are: The Music of Daryl Hall John Oates has been in the works for over a decade, tumbling to Legacy when Sony merged with BMG a few years ago, and for once, a corporate mega-merger bears a little artistic fruit; just about everything the duo has done, from pre-H&O recordings with the Masters and the Temptones through their early Atlantic years as a folk/rock act and on into their most recent incarnation as a slick adult contemporary object of Yacht Rock hipster fetishism, is here. The hits are present and accounted for, of course, which is actually what puts a hiccup in Do What You Want’s stride: Is there a Hall and Oates fan on Earth who doesn’t already have at least one of their best-of compilations? Is there any such thing as a “casual” fan of the duo that’s willing to drop coin on a four-disc box? This set tries to play to both groups, lumping in Hall and Oates’ amazing streak of hits alongside a smattering of deep cuts, live performances, and demos. It’s a pleasantly full-figured portrait of their work, but it has the nasty side effect of rendering Disc Three essentially worthless (or, at the very least, utterly redundant) for the hardcore fans who have been waiting for this collection.
The music is solid, of course, and even blindingly glossy later hits like “Everything Your Heart Desires” still hold up – but in terms of value for the fans, this could have been so much more. (Sony Legacy 2009)