Daryl Hall

Soul Alone

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Released ten years after Hall & Oates' heyday and seven after Daryl Hall's last solo venture, 3 Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine, Soul Alone finds Hall on unsure ground. It had been only three years since he had seen the upper reaches of the charts, yet it felt like much more time had passed since he had truly reigned over mainstream pop/rock. From the sounds of Soul Alone, he longed for those days, but not as much as longed for his youth in Philadelphia, and with it, the Philly soul and folk-rock that was so close to his heart. As a result, the album is lost in limbo between affectionate homages to years past and a need to regain his status as a hitmaker. Not surprisingly, it's the homages that hold up, largely because they give Hall a chance to shine as a songsmith and a vocalist. The other material largely sounds forced, although there are glimmers of brilliance every now and then. Mostly, Soul Alone -- like his two previous solo ventures, which arrived at similar lulls in Hall & Oates' career -- is interesting as a chapter in Hall's life, in the way it reflects where he was psychologically and musically at that point in time. Which means, of course, that it's primarily of interest to any listener who has followed him long enough to recognize that.

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