Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hall & Oates - Big Bam Boom

Today (October 12th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Big Bam Boom, the twelfth studio album from Daryl Hall and John Oates. This multi-platinum seller went to number 28 in the UK and number 20 in Australia. It also spent fifty-one weeks on the US Billboard Album chart where it peaked at number 5.

Side one explodes with “Dance on Your Knees”, which was selected as the B-side to the fourth single. The track is a minute and a half long, high octane instrumental. It leads directly in the next track.

The lead single was “Out of Touch”, which was everywhere in the late fall and early winter of 1984. It went to number 48 in the UK, number 33 in the Netherlands, number 27 in New Zealand, number 24 on the US Billboard R&B chart, number 20 in Sweden, number 18 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, number 15 in Germany, number 11 in Australia, number 8 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, number 5 in Canada, and number 1 on both the US Billboard Hot 100 and the Dance chart.

“Method of Modern Love”, the second single, reached number 56 in Australia, number 32 on the US Mainstream Rock chart, number 21 in the UK and on the US Billboard R&B chart, number 18 on the US Billboard Dance chart, number 15 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, number 7 in Canada, and number 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Of the two big hits from this album, I prefer this one over the previous track. Whenever I hear it, I automatically end up spelling “method” right along with the guys on the chorus. Still, together they make a great one-two punch for the start of the record (especially if you combine “Dance” and “Touch” together as a single track).

“Bank on Your Love” was the B-side to the second single. The track continues the big percussion (the album’s signature “boom”) sound.

The third single was “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid”, which went to number 85 on the US Billboard R&B chart, number 23 in Canada, 18 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 17 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. This song, written solely by Hall, starts out like a ballad but then shifts its tempo up slightly to fit with the rest of the album’s “big” sound.

Side two begins with “Going Thru the Motions”. The opening is very mechanical, a nod perhaps to the machine-like precision of the entire record. Was it a hint that the guys were just “going thru the motions” in putting this record together?

The B-side to the first single was “Cold, Dark and Yesterday”, the only track on the album that Oates wrote solo. As Oates’ tracks usually do, this one stands out from the pack. It has a moodier tone to it.

“All American Girl”, the B-side to the third single, is my favorite deep track of the record. Oates really goes at it with the bass line, and the chorus is catchy.

The closing track “Possession Obsession” was also the final single from the album. It went to number 69 on the US Billboard R&B chart, number 42 in Canada, number 30 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 20 on the US Billboard Dance chart, and number 8 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. Oates takes the lead vocal on this one.

I did not own Big Bam Boom on vinyl though I think I might have picked it up on cassette (I went through a big cassette phase during the latter part of my college years). I did pick it up digitally four years ago. For me, the album represents the end of a long chart run by the duo where everything they touched turned to gold. It is a non-stop dance workout with nary a ballad in sight.

For more from Hall & Oates, click here.


Mark said...

I'm pulling this one out and spinning it today. I usually listened only to side one of my cassette, so I still prefer the first 5 tracks here. Not a weak track in the bunch. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be "Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid." Side 2 doesn't do much for me.

I hope your digital version came with the 12" versions as bonus tracks, because those are pretty good, too.

Martin Maenza said...

Mark, I only got the original nine tracks. I will have to look for the bonus tracks at some point.

Anonymous said...

Always surprised that "All American Girl" was never released as a single.