The latest in music news the week of October 5, 1990 -- What to expect on Hall & Oates' upcoming album, and a look at merchandise from the Beach Boys and N.W.A.

Out of Towners
Daryl Hall & John Oates became one of the most successful pop acts during the ’80s by putting a little rock into their blue-eyed soul. But a new decade has brought a more laid-back style on their 17th album, Change of Season, due next week. A greater emphasis on acoustic instruments, similar to the sound of the 1973 Abandoned Luncheonette album, came about because Hall and Oates were able to record leisurely in their new studio 60 miles north of Manhattan. ”It’s the first time we haven’t made a record in New York City,” says Hall, above left. ”So it’s not an urban record.” And, Oates adds, the duo sought a more personal sound: ”The last album [Ooh Yeah!] was very machine oriented. We wanted to get back to being in a band.” Here and there they got outside help: Jon Bon Jovi and Danny Kortchmar produced the album’s first single, ”So Close,” and Dave Stewart of Eurythmics wrote, coproduced, and played on ”Heavy Rain.” Hall and Oates are entering their third decade of working together in what Hall terms a ”brotherly” relationship. ”It’s not always a blend,” he says. ”There’s a certain separateness that’s part of it. Even together we retain our own individuality.”

Be True To Your Skin
For all these years, the Beach Boys have been singing about the glories of sun & worship without giving much thought to such concerns as skin cancer. That will change when the group introduces its own line of Tropical Summer sun-care products in the spring of 1991. The seven-product line, which is being manufactured by Kokomo Labs of Akron, will include oils, lotions, and a moisturizing cream and will bear the group’s name on its packaging. ”They want to emphasize the safety factor,” says a spokeswoman. ”Fun in the sun is fine, but with everything we know now, you need protection.”

L.A. Gear
N.W.A., the hard-core Los Angeles rap group best known for its controversial song ”— tha Police,” knows how to take advantage of a catchy phrase. The inner sleeve of the group’s new six-song EP, 100 Miles and Runnin’, features an advertisement for N.W.A. clothing, including a ”— tha Police” T-shirt ($12.95), a ”— tha Police” badge ($9.99), and a ”— tha Police” wool-blend hat ($14.95). ”Suggested use fo’ gangstas, players, and rhymesayers,” read the liner notes. Thanks, but we’ll stick with Bart Simpson sweatshirts for the moment.