The realization that Hall and Oates are really special snuck up on me over the course of like 20 years. They looked and seemed like a very standard couple of rock-star ugly (not ugly-ugly) nerds who were making fairly catchy but standard-issue pop music in the 80s. Like nothing really separates them from Richard Marx and Huey Lewis unless you make an effort. They're fine, but kind of blend in.
I think in my experience the concept of radio did Hall and Oates a disservice. For me at least Hall and Oates are really best served by the playlist format. I wonder if Hall and Oates would be the Lawful Neutral category of Dorian's music alignment? When you list Hall and Oates' more impressive hits end-to-end, their output is shockingly good. I never thought about getting a collection of theirs because Hall and Oates are always kind of in the background (this is sort of like how I've never bothered to invest in a lot of Golden Girls' DVD sets. It's literally on Hallmark 8 times a day). They are the patron saints of CVS Bangers. Just, always around.
But in the age of Spotify playlists, I have found myself listening to 80s pop playlists on Friday afternoons. The slick and stupid optimism of 80s pop just goes very very well with a Friday afternoon. "You Make My Dreams" came in 1981 during Hall and Oates' peak before I became a sentient music consumer. It shows up on the same album as "Kiss is on My List" which I remember specifically hearing on the radio a lot as a kid in the mid- and late-80s, but don't have any specific recollection of the more infectious, lighter "You Make My Dreams." I must have come across it sometime. I guess like Hall and Oates' majesty, it snuck up on me too. This song is PURE Friday Afternoon. For comparison's sake, oher Friday Afternoon mainstays include "What a Feeling" by Irene Cara and "Nothing's Going to Stop Us" by Starship. These are not great songs like "You Make My Dreams," but their unrestrained, insistent idealism is in common. All three make me want to dance like Molly Ringwald in the Breakfast Club.
The way this song starts out with that infectious synth and the high-energy Daryl Hall vocals which seem to start a little too soon over top of the driving beat I think--I THINK--is what makes this song so hard to listen to without smiling. But what makes it truly great is towards the end when with such conviction, the repetition of WAITING FOR WAITING FOR WAITING FOR WAITING FOR WAITING FOR WAITING FOR WAITING FOR WAITING FOR WAITING FOR WAITING FOR WAITING FOR WAITING FOR WAITING FOR WAITING FOR WAITING FOR WAITING FOR WAITING FOR WAITING FOR WAITING FOR WAITING FOR WAITING FOR you. He's waiting for you.
This video is perfect. It's simple and a little boring, which is what should accompany a bubblegum song like this, but usually doesn't. Normally in a video like this from this era, there would be some kind of neon smear in the background, but this one is just black. They're also not dressed particularly well. Why is Hall wearing a brown blazer over a black t shirt over a black background? Someone help these poor clueless souls. It also looks like they haven't received much if any specific direction. "Just be up front! Bounce! Put your face up front! Yes, like that!"
I put this song on this list before it showed up in a Michelob Ultra commercial starring Jimmy Butler in celebration of the restart of the NBA season.
I again have mixed feelings about that and never really cared for Jimmy Butler before, but this commercial is fucking adorable and does actually make me feel less conflicted about the morality of restarting the season because Jimmy Butler's dreams are coming true. Hook, line and sinker.