The BMG 2004 reissue of "Private Eyes" brings out the sharpness in what is already one of Hall and Oates' most important albums. There's not a clunker in any of the 11 original songs and two remixes, from the title track to the 12-inch version of "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)."
The sound reproduction, cleaner than either the original RCA CD or 1996 BMG reissue, also lets listeners hear how the duo tried to balance technology and sound effects with live instrumentation, never letting one take over the other. Even when the song is almost all computer and synth -- "I Can't Go For That" -- it's done with such balance that it still sounds perfect a quarter century later. You can hear Daryl and John coming into their own as songwriters and producers.
The reissue also gives the band's fans a chance to hear lost gems sounding better than ever -- especially "Looking For a Good Sign" and "Unguarded Minute." They can also debate the merits of the original "Your Imagination" version vs. its 12-inch remix. While the pounding, heavily-electronic remix was the basis for the single and MTV versions of the song, the album mix (with its acoustic drums and cymbals) wins out on sheer quality.
Also dig Ken Sharp's liner notes, which give listeners an interesting window into the duo's working dynamic, especially from Neil Kernon, their co-producer here and on "H2O."
It's hard to improve on a classic, but BMG does so here.