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PRIVATE EYES

Private Eyes


Hall & Oates were in the middle of recording Private Eyes when Voices suddenly, unexpectedly broke big, with "Kiss on My List" reaching number one not just on the Billboard charts, but in Cashbox and Record World. As the album's producer, Neil Kernon, admits in Ken Sharp's liner notes to the 2004 reissue of the album, everybody knew that the new record would have to do better than Voices, but even if Hall & Oates were under a lot of pressure, they were in the fortunate position of not just having reintroduced their modernized, new wave-influenced blue-eyed soul on their previous record, but they already had much of the material nailed down. In other words, the sound and songs on Private Eyes were essentially conceived when the group was confident of the artistic breakthrough of Voices but not swaggering with the overconfidence of being the biggest pop act in America, and the result is one of their best albums and one of the great mainstream pop albums of the early '80s. Hall & Oates don't repeat the formula of Voices; they expand it, staying grounded in pop-soul but opening up the stylized production, so it sounds both cinematic and sharp. Lots of subtle effects are layered on the voices, guitars, and pianos as they mingle with synthesized instruments, from the keyboard loops that give "Head Above Water" a restless momentum to the drum machine that lends "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" a sexy, seductive groove. Though the production is state of the art for 1981, what keeps Private Eyes from sounding robotic is that it never gets in the way of the kinetic energy of Hall & Oates' touring band, who give the music muscle; they are what keeps the album sounding vibrant 20-plus years after its release, since while elements of the production have dated, it still captures a real band working at a peak. These are the elements that make Private Eyes a sterling example of the sound of mainstream pop circa 1981, but the record was a hit, and has aged well, because both Hall & Oates, along with regular songwriting collaborators Sara and Janna Allen, were at a peak as writers. Yes, Oates' "Mano a Mano" is dorky (arguably in an appealing way), but apart from that there are no duds on the record. "Private Eyes," with its sleek surfaces, widescreen hooks, and unforgettable, handclap-propelled chorus, and "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" were the number one hits and the best-known songs here, but the insistent smaller hit "Did It in a Minute" deserved to reach the Top Ten too, as did the album tracks "Head Above Water" and "Looking for a Good Sign," a tribute to the Temptations that is the great forgotten Hall & Oates song. But it isn't just the hits and should-have-been singles; the rest of Private Eyes is filled with strong tunes, such as the reggae-tinged "Tell Me What You Want" and the paranoid vibe of "Some Men," making this a record that improves on Voices in every way, from its sound to its songs. Though they continued their streak of excellent hit singles, Private Eyes was the culmination of the sound they'd been developing since Along the Red Ledge, and it stands as the pinnacle of their time as the biggest pop act in the U.S.A. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
    • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
    • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
    • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
    • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
    • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Compact Disc
  • Sold by: --
  • Label: BMG Special Products
  • UPC: 755174454523
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Track listings

  • 1. Private Eyes
  • 2. Looking For A Good Sign
  • 3. I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)
  • 4. Mano A Mano
  • 5. Did It In A Minute
  • 6. Head Above Water
  • 7. Tell Me What You Want
  • 8. Friday Let Me Down
  • 9. Unguarded Minute
  • 10. Your Imagination
  • 11. Some Men
 
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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