The Malta Independent 18 July 2024, Thursday
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John Oates' new album is called 'Reunion.' But don't think Hall & Oates are getting back together

Associated Press Saturday, 1 June 2024, 08:43 Last update: about 3 months ago

For many music fans, John Oates is most recognizable as one-half of the Grammy-nominated Hall & Oates, the multiplatinum soul-pop duo behind hits like "Rich Girl" and "Maneater" now riven by litigation. But he's also had a full career as a soloist.

His sixth solo album, "Reunion," is out May 17. Just don't consider the title a thinly veiled attempt at getting the band back together — what he recognizes as "a true irony."

In November, Hall sued Oates, arguing that his plan to sell off his share of a joint venture would violate the terms of a business agreement the duo had forged. He accused Oates of committing the "ultimate partnership betrayal" by planning to sell his share without the other's permission. A few days later, a judge sided with Hall in his request to keep Oates temporarily blocked from selling his potentially lucrative share. The litigation is ongoing.

"There's been no communication," Oates says when asked if he's in touch with Hall. "And it's unfortunate that certain legal proceedings work in certain ways, which, of course, you know, I can't discuss. But let's put it this way. It's working itself out. It's going to be resolved, and it will be over. It wasn't a fun two years, but you know what? I can see the light at the end of the tunnel."

"Reunion" was actually inspired by Oates' 100-year-old father.

"He's not doing well, and he's going to be making the transition — a euphemism for, you know," he told The Associated Press from Nashville. "He told me he's going to reunite with mom, who's passed away a number of years ago. And that really struck me because I thought of the true meaning of the word reunion, reuniting, in a more emotional and metaphysical way."

He began applying the definition to different facets of his own life. "The fact that I'm moving on from my Hall & Oates experience, I'm basically reuniting with myself," he says. "I'm trying to reunite with the essential part of who I am, not only as a man but a musician."

But not a Hall & Oates reunion.

"I personally don't see it happening. It's not in my plans at all. You can ask Daryl Hall what he thinks. But for me personally, no," he says.

"I think we accomplished so much, published more than so many people could ever have dreamed of. Having a 50-year partnership and a 50-year legacy of creating music together is, you know, it's more than anyone could ever hope for," he says. "I'm done. And I want to move on. I want to spend the last creative years of my life exploring things that I find interesting and things that give me personal satisfaction."

And so, he's focusing on the 12 tracks of "Reunion," what he says make up his "most personal" album to date.

"I Found Love" and "All I Ask of You" were originally written in the '90s. Many of the songs double as musical history lessons, a passion of Oates' — like in the ode to Piedmont blues-and-folk duo "Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee," or in covers of John Prine's "Long Monday" and Canadian folk duo Fraser & DeBolt's "Dance Hall Girls."

With this album, Oates hopes "that people can finally see the man and musician outside of the ubiquitous fame and legacy of the Hall and Oates music."

"Because I've always felt that I'm an individual and I've always felt that I was not the same as that music, he says."

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