Daryl Hall – BeforeAfter (Album Review)

Daryl Hall – BeforeAfter (Album Review)

Once songs like “She’s Gone,” “Sara Smile,” and “Rich Girl” came across the airwaves in the mid 1970s, all eyes were riveted on Hall & Oates. This euphonious dynamic duo swept the nation by storm as they continued to churn out hit after hit in the ’70s and ’80s, eventually earning them a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, as well a coveted star on the Hollywood Walk of fame in 2016.

Very much individual artists throughout their journey, Daryl Hall and John Oates agreed sometime ago that would explore their own musical careers separately all while keeping the Hall & Oates brand going strong with regular touring. Seeming like the media always had them breaking up, even though it was never the case, each musician has built respectful solo careers with a steady release of material. 

Fast forward to present day, and straight past the lingering COVID quarantine pause, which can be best described as “Out of Touch,” Daryl Hall is back with his brand new solo respective collection BeforeAfter. Released on April 1, 2022 Legacy Records, Daryl Hall came hurtling past the green flag with riding shotgun with his newly minted two-disc solo compilation album. Covering all five of Hall’s solo albums, plus never before released material, it is a a gold mine of thirty beloved tracks that will surely take one down memory lane to wistful times. 

Looking at the talented songwriter’s career, Hall has always been a master at turning on the emotional faucet at full blast. His voice, velvety smooth and hypnotically seductive, has heads swiveling around like bobbleheads and has bottled up emotions bubbling up to the surface ready to erupt like a geyser. He gently nudges that soft spot that resonates with all who have navigated the minefields of love. That said, he is without question an unforgettable crooner.

As mentioned, focusing on his solo material with BeforeAfter, Hall handpicked tracks that mirrored his essence. He also tossed in a few gems from his online performances on Live from Daryl’s House. In enough words, he blew them off as seeds of a dandelion in a single breath in the expectation that his fans will return the love of music that sustains his lifeforce. These meaningful songs stick in your head and before you know it the words trip off the tongue. 

For example, we all know relationship break-ups can be quite emotionally devastating. In many cases, it is akin to a TNT explosion propelled by a moving locomotive. The steel bridge that was forged in love has collapsed and only ashes and debris remain. Amazingly, those who miraculously survived with minor injuries can actually contemplate the remote prospect of friendship. That said, songs like Hall’s “Can We still be friends” epitomizes that sentimentality. The melody is supple and soft like the stroke of a paintbrush on canvas. A version recorded Live from Daryl’s House with Todd Rundgren, he and Hall take turns grabbing the mic and showcasing vocals that are simultaneously mellow and yearning- a potent force by which to tug at a yielding heart while petitioning for a friendship against all odds. 

Then there is “Justify,” another great selection by Hall and beautifully crafted track. The sound of tinkling bells quickly gives way to a footloose disco beat. This in mind, the song is an indispensable anthem for those jilted lovers who never saw it coming and are left with a bleeding heart cupped in their hands. Which leads us to “Eyes for You (Ain’t No Doubt About It),” arguably one of Hall’s best songs. Featuring an intro that catapults you into a dreamy state of mind, the lyrics and music in lulls the mind seductively and conjures up the image of that initial eye lock from across the room. 

Amidst the collection there are other gems like “Here Comes the Rain Again” -A bluesy sentimental rendition of a song that is synonymous the Eurythmics and Annie Lennox’s unmistakable voice. Also recorded Live from Daryl’s House, Hall and Dave Stewart teamed up to deliver emotive vocals that undulate like the waves of the ocean. The soft bluesy piano melody heightens the romantic mood. Raw and tinged with a heady aura of intimacy. And with these few songs mentioned, there is still so much more to dig into here. 

Overall, BeforeAfter shows how much Daryl Hall has evolved as a musician and how his musical repertoire shines brightly like the North Star and is utterly timeless. He flexes his musical
muscles and brings hope and inspiration to the lovelorn and rekindles the dying ember of love in the heart. If you ever had your heart scorched by love or reminisce about lost love than this is an album to grab and cherish. Relationships are what makes us human… is is the power of love, and that is why Cryptic Rock gives BeforeAfter 5 out of 5 stars.


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Jackie Knightowl
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