CD review: The Bird and the Bee, Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates

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The album's highlight is "Maneater." With a modern, synthesized beat and backing vocals by Garbage's Shirley Manson, this cover is the epitome of all that is right with Interpreting the Masters. Instead of twisting an instantly recognizable melody into something too genre-skewed to be appropriate, the Bird and the Bee upgrade the sassy "Whoa-oh, here she comes" chorus with 21st century technology to create something fresh and accessible. The song can now go out in public again and be accepted by people who weren't alive when "Maneater" originally topped the charts in 1982.


While I was disappointed that my own personal H&O favorite, "You Make My Dreams," didn't make the cut, I was still impressed overall. The Bird and the Bee have succeeded in paying a pitch-perfect, sticky-sweet homage to one of the most enduring, secure-in-their-masculinity songwriting teams on the planet.


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Ah, Hall & Oates. Mullets and mustaches. Synths and hand claps. Emotional lyrics and hearts-on-fringy, acid-washed jean sleeves.

I was dubious when I heard about a cover album made up of the sacred duo's most celebrated works. But since I love the Bird and the Bee, I was intrigued by their latest LP, Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates (Blue Note Records). Lo and behold, this duo approaches the project with finesse and respect, bringing H&O into The Now with a light, feminine makeover.

Kicking things off is the twosome's sole original, "Heard It On The Radio" — a track so soaked in synths and awesomely '80s that I initially thought, "Wow, they discovered a vaulted Hall & Oates song!" No, it's 100 percent made in 2010, but it cleverly flows with the covers of "I Can't Go For That," "Sara Smile," "Kiss On My List," "One on One" and the other tripendicular H&O tunes you were secretly devoted to listening to in your youth.

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