Top music journalist Nick DeRiso raves about John Oates’ new single “Stand Strong” on the site Something Else Reviews. Here is an excerpt of the piece:
This track, though, is something else — something created not of memory, or (as with Oates’ bluesy takes on old Hall and Oates tracks like “You Make My Dreams”) in reaction to the legacy of rock-inflected soul gems he’d go on to create with Hall. This is Oates, well, feeling his oats. Sounding like a snarling country rocker, like nothing you might have guessed, working with a new collaborative voice in Teddy Morgan (best known these days for his contributions to the soundtrack for the “Hatfields and McCoys” miniseries), and probably shocking the hell out of his oldest, deepest fans.
This is the sound of someone forging new bonds, trying out new things — taking risks at a point when many of his vintage are content to settle into the oldies circuit’s virtual rocking chair.
At the same time, “Stand Strong” reconnects, if you listen closely enough, to those mustachioed moments of platinum-selling fame in the 1980s — with a cadence straight out of “Billie Jean,” which Michael Jackson in turn once said was inspired by a charttopper Oates co-wrote with Hall, “I Can’t Go For That.”
Even as he travels as far afield as he ever has since committing to a tandem solo career, Oates remains grounded in his past. It’s turning into a fascinating journey.