This is where Daryl Hall and John Oates found their groove. This is the one on which the classic pop/soul sound that made Daryl Hall & John Oates Big 80s video-era mega-stars.
Instead of trying to make grand statements, the boys just concentrated on having fun. And the hits are huge fun. "Kiss on My List," with a surprisingly cynical undercurrent, is pure summer fun. (Daryl Hall always said it was an "anti-love" love song, being that "your kiss" was merely on a list, and "one," apparently among others, of the "best things in life.) "You Make My Dreams" is another teleportation device, taking you back to 1981, and Izod shirts, topsiders with no socks, and all the other trappings of the music era immediately before the breaking of MTV.
What sets "Voices" apart from the Hall & Oates predecessor LPs is the quality of the album tracks. Most of the album tracks are equal to the hits is catchiness and sing-along-i-ness (if that's a word). The percussion-driven "Hard to Be in Love with You" is a great mix of doo-wop harmony set to a jerky new wave-flavored beat. "Gotta Lotta Nerve (Perfect Perfect)" is more doo-wop, possibly veering into the world-beat African percussion that was just becoming popular with Talking Heads ("I Zimbra") and Peter Gabriel ("Biko"). "United State" is built around clever wordplay which hold up for the 3:09 playing time. And, of course, the gospel-flavored "Everytime You Go Away" even became a hit when it was whitened up by Paul Young.
Why this works is because Hall & Oates ended two unfortunate tendencies that damaged their 1970s works. They stopped trying to make "grand statements" (see, e.g., "It's A Laugh," off "Along the Red Ledge," or "Do What You Want Be What You Are," off "Bigger Than Both of Us") with their pop tunes. They decided that they were not sage observers of the human conditions, but, instead, were extremely capable of crafting soul-tinged catchy pop tunes. And were they ever! They played to their strengths and it paid huge dividends. Secondly, they stopped trying to "rock out." Again, they found their niche and stayed with it. What they could do better than anyone in the 1980s was pop-flavored "blue-eyed" soul, with occasional new wave influences that have held up over time (and seem more sincere and well-accomplished in retrospect than they did at the time). The 1970s LPs had some truly embarrassing album tracks in which the boys tried to RAAAWWWWKKKK (see, e.g., "Alley Katz," off "Along the Red Ledge," andf "Room to Breathe," off "Bigger Than Both of Us"). They even experimented with one truly embarrassing LP ("Beauty on a Back Street") that was nothing but 1970s era dinosaur-rock pretentiousness. They don't rock out on this one -- even a little -- and the Hall & Oates sound is massively improved by the omission.
It all comes together on the essential "Voices." Of course, the sound would improve even further with their follow-up, their pinnacle achievement, "Private Eyes."