hall and oates and beauty and truth

What is beauty?

Hold up—before you say something stupid and trite and faux-poetic (fauxetic, new word, huzzah) about “a flower growing in a landfill” or “a sunset over a pile of industrial slag” or “robots making love even though their copulatory programming will lead to nothing but the masturbatory fulfillment of their twisted creators” . . . nuts, where was—? That’s right: what is beauty?

Beauty—as defined by the Evil—is an occurrence that, er, occurs when a moment of true, unfettered desperation worms its way into an otherwise banal and/or ludicrous situation. Look, we’re working with the OED people, we’ll gussy up that definition later. But for now, that’s beauty, folks.

Example? Well, the above “heartbreak of robosis” scenario’s not bad. But Evil has something else in mind:

The last 15 seconds of “Private Eyes.” That’s right . . . the Hall and Oates song.

They’re watching you! They see your eeeeeeev-ree move! That’s the one.

Evil isn’t here to debate the quality of the song (utterly top-notch in every way) or that of the careers of Messrs. Hall and Oates (notably less so). But he wants you to watch the video . . . all the way to the 3:05 mark. No cheating by skipping ahead: the effect is cumulative; you must take in every last perfect note of the song before Revelation can touch you.

And it will.

The Moment occurs as the rest of the band is crooning in the background—”Priiiiivate eyes . . . they’re waaaatching you . . .” Hall has meanwhile been punctuating their singing with the line: “They’re watching you!” Very humdrum. UNTIL:

3:05. Hall belts out that same line . . . or is it? “THEY’RE WATCHING YOU!!!” he snarls, his voice very nearly breaking. It’s an incredibly poignant moment in the midst of a pitch-perfect pop gem. There is such a sudden, jarring, almost feral desperation on his part that you (presumably the lady in question) believe—nay: KNOW—that those private eyes are truly watching you. The raw explosion of goose bumps will damn near catapult you out of your seat.

Evil is sure Hall would deny it, would claim this is just another weapon in his arsenal of lyrical tricks. But you know, ladies, you just know he means it. That, between belting out Top 40 hits, he has indeed been watching you. Hiding in the bushes outside your living room, sneaking peaks at you as you wander sleepily from the bedroom to sneak a glass of scotch at the mini-bar. Just as you’re telling yourself you don’t really have a drinking problem, that you’re not hiding anything by creeping out of bed for a few nips . . . you feel them. Those eyes. You spin toward the windows, but—

He’s gone. You see nothing more than the slightest hint of a perfectly coifed ‘do disappearing into the night. And as you return to bed, you can almost swear you hear ragged weeping in the night . . .

Such is the cross Darryl Hall bore . . . such is the price of a great Moment. Of great art.

Enjoy the weekend. If possible, THEY’RE WATCHING YOU!!!


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