NPR logo About A Song: 'I Can't Go For That'

About A Song: 'I Can't Go For That'

Earlier this week, Bob and I got together with Song of the Day editor Stephen Thompson and Monitor Mix blogger Carrie Brownstein to talk about music from the 1980s. The question: Were the '80s really that bad? We recorded our conversation, along with a ton of memorable songs from back then. We'll put that up next Tuesday for you to hear and tell us what you think.

All this talk of '80s music this week has overwhelmed my brain with insanely catchy but utterly maddening hits, none more so than the Hall and Oates classic "I Can't Go for That."

Cover shot of Hall and Oates from their album, the Very Best of Daryl Hall and John Oates














I don't like to suffer alone, so I emailed Carrie the words to the song's most mania-inducing cycle: "I can't go for that / No I / No can do." Rinse and repeat. Carrie, in turn, suggested I offer these words up for interpretation.

So, what do you think? Is it just empty pop with a good beat, or is there something deeper going on?

Easy ready willing overtime
When does it stop, where do you dare me to draw the line
You got the body now you want my soul
Don't even think about it say no go
Now I'll do anything you want me to
I'll do almost anything that you want me to
But I can't go for that
No can do
I can't go for being twice as nice
I can't go for just repeating the some old lines
Use the body now you want my soul
Ooh forget about it say no go
Yeah, I'll do anything you want me to
I'll do almost anything that you want me to
But I can't go for that
No can do.

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