In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week: songs from classic movie and T.V. montages.
Hall & Oates, “You Make My Dreams Come True” (1980)
Hall & Oates transitioned from a blue-eyed soul FM radio duo in the ’70s to masters of the pop charts by the ’80s. Early hits like “She’s Gone” and “Sara Smile” show the pair still trying to find their signature feel, adding doses of soul from their native Philadelphia to their pop sound.
It wasn’t until 1980’s Voices that the two finally landed on a winning formula. That album’s breakthrough hit, “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” was a Righteous Brothers cover, even though the duo wrote most of their songs themselves, while Paul Young made the Daryl Hall-penned “Every Time You Go Away” famous. Hall & Oates soon followed up Voices with hit albums like Private Eyes and H2O that offered sleeker hits like “Maneater” and “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do).” But Voices’ last single, “You Make My Dreams Come True,” captures the duo at their besotted poppiest. An irrepressible synthesizer playing ping-pong with some guitar chords buoys Daryl Hall’s considerable vocal strengths into solidly fun territory, complete with “ooh-ooh” backing vocals. It’s inspired minimalism, as it doesn’t need anything more than that beat and the vocals to sell it.
Curiously, Voices’ last single might be the H&O track with the most resonance, at least as indicated by its various cinematic appearances. It’s not surprising that the 1998 Adam Sandler movie, The Wedding Singer, would use “You Make My Dreams Come True” to depict a classic ’80s movie move (see Valley Girl, Footloose, etc.): the movie montage. As Robbie Hart helps Julia with her wedding plans, the Hall & Oates song backgrounds fun nuptial chores like cake-eating and road-testing the limo driver. That movie perfectly pokes fun at the decade that preceded it, culling some of the greatest riffs of the ’80s in the process, of which “You Make My Dreams Come True” certainly qualified.
That may not even be the song’s greatest cinematic appearance, though. The following decade saw it used for Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s day-after dance in (500) Days Of Summer. Again, “You Make My Dreams Come True” captures the effervescence of early love like few other songs can, culminating in Tom’s MGM-musical-worthy group dance number, complete with marching band.