October 13, 2009
Pop/Rock, Adult Contemporary, Soul, Soft Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Blue-Eyed Soul, Dance-Rock

Album Review

It's telling that Do What You Want Be What You Are, Sony/Legacy's comprehensive, career-spanning Daryl Hall and John Oates box set, takes its title from a moderately successful mid-'70s single from the duo, written and recorded just as the group was hitting their creative stride. The slow Philly groove of "Do What You Want Be Who You Are" may have hearkened back to the duo's soul roots, side-stepping some of the outré pop experiments they had done just two years earlier on War Babies, but Hall & Oates took the title's sentiment to heart, blurring boundaries between rock, pop, and soul in a way that wasn't always easy to appreciate at the peak of their popularity in the '80s. During that decade, Hall & Oates were omnipresent, seemingly dominating every radio format and MTV, racking up so many hits that it was easy to overlook how "Private Eyes" wore bright, angular new wave threads, or how "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" pulsated on electronic rhythms, not to mention the duo's earliest folk-rock records. Do What You Want brings all this into perspective, rounding up all the group's big hits and sharply selected album tracks, enhancing the canon with several rarities ranging from early singles (Hall as a member of the Temptones, Oates as one of the Masters) to a host of live cuts from throughout the years. Many of the live tracks are mildly revelatory -- particularly the lengthy stretch of War Babies material at the end of disc one, which diminishes the Todd Rundgren influence and emphasizes Hall & Oates' muscular melodicism -- as the group's forté was within the studio, where they set the sounds of the time, from the lush early '70s to the synthesized '80s. This, too, is where the box shines, when it traces the duo's remarkable, restless progression from Whole Oates to Big Bam Boom, a narrative that takes up the first three discs of the four-disc set. Like many career-spanning boxes, this does lose a little momentum on the last disc, when the hits start to slow down, but by smartly balancing outtakes and unreleased concert cuts, this final disc makes a convincing argument for Hall & Oates' enduring strengths adding a fitting coda to a box that stands as a testament to the duo's considerable musical legacy.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Girl I Love You
  2. I Need Your Love
  3. Say These Words of Love
  4. Perkiomen
  5. I'm Sorry
  6. Fall in Philadelphia
  7. Waterwheel
  8. Lilly (Are You Happy)
  9. Had I Known You Better Then
  10. Las Vegas Turnaround
  11. She's Gone
  12. You're Much Too Soon
  13. Is It a Star
  14. It's Uncanny
  15. Love You Like a Brother
  16. Lady Rain [Live][#]
  17. Beanie G. and the Rose Tattoo [Live][#]
  18. Better Watch Your Back [Live][#]
  19. Abandoned Luncheonette [Live][#]
  20. When the Morning Comes [Live][#]
  21. Camellia
  22. Sara Smile
  23. Alone Too Long
  24. Gino (The Manager) [2009 Remix][#]
  25. Ennui on the Mountain
  26. Out of Me, Out of You
  27. Back Together Again
  28. Rich Girl
  29. Crazy Eyes
  30. Have I Been Away Too Long
  31. August Day
  32. It's a Laugh
  33. I Don't Wanna Lose You [7" Remix]
  34. Wait for Me
  35. Time's Up (Alone Tonight)
  36. The Woman Comes and Goes
  37. How Does It Feel to Be Back
  38. You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling
  39. Kiss on My List
  40. Everytime You Go Away [Live][#]
  41. You Make My Dreams
  42. Private Eyes
  43. Head Above Water
  44. Did It in a Minute
  45. Your Imagination
  46. I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)
  47. Don't Go Out [#]
  48. Maneater
  49. Family Man
  50. One on One
  51. Go Solo
  52. Say It Isn't So
  53. Adult Education
  54. Out of Touch [7" Version]
  55. Method of Modern Love
  56. Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid
  57. Possession Obsession
  58. A Nite at the Apollo Live! The Way You Do the Things You Do/My Girl [7" V
  59. Everything Your Heart Desires [Video Mix]
  60. Missed Opportunity
  61. Keep on Pushin' Love
  62. Storm Warning [#]
  63. Change of Season
  64. Starting All Over Again [Live][#]
  65. So Close [Live][#]
  66. Do It for Love
  67. Forever for You
  68. Heartbreak Time
  69. All the Way from Philadelphia [#]
  70. Have You Ever Been in Love [#][Demo Version]
  71. Me and Mrs. Jones [Live]
  72. I Want Someone [Live from Daryl's House] [Live][#]
  73. Do What You Want Be What You Are [Live 2007][#]
  74. Dreamer ['72-'09 Redux] [#]
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