The Bird & the Bee: Interpreting the Masters Vol. I: A Tribute to Daryl Hall & John Oates

RIYL: Lily Allen, The Carpenters, Muzak

It would not surprise us in the slightest if Interpreting the Masters Vol. I: A Tribute to Daryl Hall & John Oates becomes a hit with the hipsters for all the wrong reasons. They’ll get off on the “irony” of someone as cool as the Bird & the Bee covering someone as patently uncool as Daryl Hall & John Oates, despite the fact that, as the title clearly states, the band did not do this to be ironic. They don’t feel an ounce of guilt for loving Daryl Hall & John Oates, nor should they. Having said that, Inara George has no business singing Daryl Hall songs.


No knock on George’s voice, mind you; her airy soprano is tailor-made for the Bird & the Bee’s machine-driven synth pop. However, a soul song, even of the blue-eyed variety, will eat her alive, and that is the main problem with Interpreting the Masters – it’s too sterile, from George’s clinical delivery to Greg Kurstin’s rigid arrangements. These songs were already pretty white in their original form, but in the hands of George and Kurstin, they approach blizzard-in-Utah levels of whiteness. The ballads fare better than the up-tempo numbers, namely “One on One” and “Sara Smile,” but they would have been better served playing to their strengths and covering a like-minded act like the Pet Shop Boys instead. (Blue Note 2010)

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