|All Artists: Hall & Oates|
Title: Big Bam Boom
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Original Release Date: 1/1/1984
Re-Release Date: 8/27/1996
Album Type: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, R&B, Rock, Classic Rock
Styles: New Wave & Post-Punk, Dance Pop, Soft Rock, Vocal Pop, Soul, Album-Oriented Rock (AOR)
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
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Expanding on the "Rock and Soul" Foundation
L.A. Scene | Indian Trail, NC USA | 12/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"By the time 1984 rolled around, Daryl Hall and John Oates clearly had established themselves as one of the premier duos in the history of the Pop Music era. One year earlier (1983), Hall and Oates released a greatest hits collection called "Rock and Soul Part 1". Hall and Oates had always been terrific at integrating the genres of Rock and Soul in their music. "Rock and Soul Part 1" would go on to be a very successful greatest hits collection and almost seemed to be a culmination of their work over the prior decade. Little did we all realize that bigger things were to come - in the order of their album "Big Bam Boom". "Big Bam Boom" would not only be a commercial success, but many long-time critics of Hall and Oates would now come around and give them the critical acclaim that they so much deserved. This acclaim is well justified - this is one terrific collection.
Although "Big Bam Boom" isn't a concept album, there does seem to be a common thread among the music. The music has a very urban sound. This urban sound expands on the Rock and Soul genres. In 1984, "disco music" was almost obsolete. It had been replaced by "Dance" music. Around this time, studio mixing became very common to many Pop sounds. Many of these songs were known as "12 inch Remixes" (because they would often be released on 12 inch vinyl as singles). This allowed many songs, including those that were not traditional "Dance" style songs to be played in Dance Clubs. As a result, traditional Rock starts such as Bruce Springsteen had many of their tunes remixed into a "Dance" style and were now getting airplay in the clubs (Springsteen had "Cover Me" and "Dancing in the Dark remixed). The design of "Big Bam Boom" really seemed to fit nicely with the Dance Remix movement that was going on during this time. The difference is that Hall and Oates manage to create "Dance Ready" songs that expand on the foundation of their Rock and Soul music. Hall and Oates still did some 12 inch remixes of four of the songs (this can be found on the "Big Bam Boom" Remaster edition), but when you listen to "Big Bam Boom" closely you will hear that this is almost overkill - this is because the original versions really fit this "Dance" formula.
The collection starts out with "Dance on Your Knees". This song is has some nice Rock elements (i.e guitar), but you will hear many dance elements as well. This near 90 second tune has a near flawless segue into the monster hit "Out of Touch". One thing you will hear in "Dance On Your Knees" is the Bass influence. Whether it's Bass Guitar or Bass Drums, Hall and Oates make heavy use of a Bass sound throughout this collection. Much of this Bass influence is probably because their Studio Bassist for "Big Bam Boom", T-Bone Wolk played a major role in the arranging of this album. I think this Bass Influence combined with many of the dance elements help contribute to what is an Urban Sound. As for "Out of Touch", this song has the dance elements integrated into what I consider a traditional Rock song. It's a solid song, but it sounds much better when you hear it with the "Dance on Your Knees" intro.
In fact, Songs 2-5 on the collection seem to take a cue from "Out of Touch". This cue is that they are songs built on the a foundation of Rock music and have the dance elements integrated into it. You will also hear lots of Bass Guitar and Bass Drums throughout these tunes. You will hear some R&B influences at times, but the Rock influence is still strong. "Method of Modern Love" is basically a soft rock song. You will hear some R&B, but this is probably more due to the fact that the dance elements have been integrated. "Bank on Your Love" is a very underrated song. This sounds more like a song you'd hear in a Rock club than a traditional dance club. It has a solid Rock and Roll feel, but also listen closely to some elements that give it a slight dance spin. The fifth song "Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid" is probably the best song of the collection. This song like "Method of Modern Love" has an R&B spin, but has Rock roots - the bass elements are alive and well here.
As you move toward the last four songs, this is where you will hear the Soul/R&B edge to Hall and Oates take center stage. There also seem to be some funk elements you will hear in these songs. "Going Thru the Motions" is a song almost ready made for the dance clubs. Yes this song has some nice guitar work from a Rock perspective, but now its the R&B sound being the dominant sound. There are two songs in which John Oates gets to do some lead vocals. I found the Oates lead vocal tracks to be a real treat. These songs are "Cold Dark and Yesterday" and "Possession Obsession" - I rank these two songs as two of the stronger songs. The other remaining track is "All American Girl". Like "Going Thru The Motions", this song seemed almost ready made for the dance clubs. This song took me a while to get into it, but eventually I liked it.
The disappomting thing is that there are no lyrics and little in the way of studio musician and production credits. The songwriting credits and song durations are listed. There is a terrific writeup on the album that also provides a retrospective on Hall and Oates' career by Colin Escott. Overall, I like what Hall and Oates did on this album. They produced a terrific sound - one that they would never match in their subsequent releases. I highly recommend this collection."