Following the downturn in hits that greeted Hall & Oates at the tail end of the Eighties and early Nineties, the fairer half of the duo decided to explore solo opportunities. For his third effort, 1993’s Soul Alone, Daryl drafted a writing and production team spearheaded by the Brooklyn alt-funk trio The Family Stand, who’d most recently helmed Paula Abdul’s multi-million selling Spellbound LP. Marching into the waters of contemporary R&B was nothing new for Daryl, although the sounds of the genre were already moving into a less-melodic, more hip-hop heavy strain by this time. Still, Soul Alone stands up nicely against many of the more mature soul records of the era. Daryl is in fine voice, and the production is fairly sympathetic.
Unfortunately for Daryl, the album flopped. One single, “I’m in a Philly Mood”, narrowly grazed the Billboard Hot 100, and today, the album is largely forgotten. However, I think Daryl and company might have had a bigger success on their hands had they gone with the album’s obvious hit single, “Help Me Find a Way to Your Heart”. The beat ballad would have worked perfectly on adult contemporary radio during that time period, and it might have crossed over to pop radio in the manner of similar songs by acts like Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey. Actually, a closer look at the credits reveals that Mariah herself co-wrote the song (it sounds similar to Mimi’s own “Can’t Let Go”, which had been a hit the year before). Daryl sings his ass off on this track.
Check out this live performance of the song. It starts off kinda shaky-Daryl actually forgets quite a few of the words (oops). But he recovers nicely towards the end.
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