Author Topic: Yacht Rock  (Read 3271 times)

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Yacht Rock
« on: June 11, 2019, 07:31:26 PM »
Inspired by the forthcoming and very good Katie Puckrick documentary* about this smoothest of retrospectively labelled rock sub-genres, I've been listening to lots of Hall & Oates and The Doobie Brothers et al recently. I love this stuff and not in a tiresomely ironic way - even the guys who made the daft comedy show that gave the genre its name were utterly sincere when it came to the actual music.

I do, of course, get why it was considered naff by hip and groovy people at the time, it's slick pop made by sensitively bearded millionaires: the antithesis of punk and indie. As so often happens, however, the passage of time has been kind to this music. You no longer have to pretend that What A Fool Believes or I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) aren't great songs, there's no shame in it at all.

The reason it endures, I think, is that apart from being stocked with absolutely cracking, hooky tunes, a lot of yer Yacht Rock is actually quite soulful and melancholy. It's neither bland nor cynical, it's heartfelt, it has substance. Even when it doesn't it's 'just' great pop.

Do YOU like Yacht Rock, reader? 

* Which starts on Friday 14th June on BBC Four at 9pm.

Lordofthefiles

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Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2019, 09:54:45 PM »
The haircuts were laughable, the audiences were a right load of softarses, and the egos were as big as the rooms they played in... but when the drums kick in on this track it all goes away (solid musicians making solid music):

https://youtu.be/O5cd8nT-tDM

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2019, 10:02:40 PM »
Michael McDonald, the silver-haired godfather of G-funk.

Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2019, 10:06:53 PM »
I frickin love yacht rock. Before it were cool.

Doobs, The Dan, Little Feet, Halls n Oat, Bobby Caldwells etc...

Buuuut, check out this new band:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_mgQsMURGQggu4l2sxzLdpprg0Byl-OdcE

Young Gun, Silver Fox is their name and they completely nail the yacht sound. Every song is a total smash on this album.

Johnny Yesno

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Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2019, 10:08:49 PM »
Inspired by the forthcoming and very good Katie Puckrick documentary* about this smoothest of retrospectively labelled rock sub-genres, I've been listening to lots of Hall & Oates and The Doobie Brothers et al recently. I love this stuff and not in a tiresomely ironic way - even the guys who made the daft comedy show that gave the genre its name were utterly sincere when it came to the actual music.

I do, of course, get why it was considered naff by hip and groovy people at the time, it's slick pop made by sensitively bearded millionaires: the antithesis of punk and indie. As so often happens, however, the passage of time has been kind to this music. You no longer have to pretend that What A Fool Believes or I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) aren't great songs, there's no shame in it at all.

The reason it endures, I think, is that apart from being stocked with absolutely cracking, hooky tunes, a lot of yer Yacht Rock is actually quite soulful and melancholy. It's neither bland nor cynical, it's heartfelt, it has substance. Even when it doesn't it's 'just' great pop.

Do YOU like Yacht Rock, reader? 

* Which starts on Friday 14th June on BBC Four at 9pm.

I don't know why you'd assume people would 'pretend that What A Fool Believes or I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) aren't great songs'. You sound exactly like our old friend TCR when you say that.

That's not to say the music isn't competently written, but as I've mentioned before, Simon Reynolds identified at least two ways for music to be bad: (1) incompetent and (2) clichéd. To my mind, the music of Hall and Oates sounds just so cunty. Cunty music made by cunts and loved by cunts in cunty Pringle sweaters during one of the UK's cuntiest decades. And that's damning it with faint praise. To say it had as much artistic merit as Shaddap You Face would be being generous. At least Joe Dolce was taking a risk.

Being 'hip and groovy', as you put it, was a way to get away from this death of imagination. No pretence there. All self-preservation.

Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2019, 10:18:24 PM »
Well that's frankly not cool bro and I like... disagree dude:
https://youtu.be/EErSKhC0CZs

Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2019, 11:11:21 PM »
"Come on, come on, what do they like? The Eagles, yeah! Everybody likes The Eagles... [pressing the buttons on jukebox] D4!"


Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2019, 11:15:57 PM »
I don't know why you'd assume people would 'pretend that What A Fool Believes or I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) aren't great songs'. You sound exactly like our old friend TCR when you say that.

No I don't. TCR used to wang on about people pretending to like things he didn't like, that has absolutely nothing to do with the point I was making.

That's not to say the music isn't competently written, but as I've mentioned before, Simon Reynolds identified at least two ways for music to be bad: (1) incompetent and (2) clichéd. To my mind, the music of Hall and Oates sounds just so cunty. Cunty music made by cunts and loved by cunts in cunty Pringle sweaters during one of the UK's cuntiest decades. And that's damning it with faint praise. To say it had as much artistic merit as Shaddap You Face would be being generous. At least Joe Dolce was taking a risk.

Being 'hip and groovy', as you put it, was a way to get away from this death of imagination. No pretence there. All self-preservation.

You sound like TCR yourself, here. Massive generalisations based, not on the art itself, but on the people who like it. Sneer, sneer, sneer. Comparing Hall & Oates to Joe Dolce is just stupid, you're exaggerating to a meaningless, self-defeating extent.

Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2019, 11:16:51 PM »
I liked the Yacht Rock comedy series, if that counts. And "I Keep Forgettin'" by Michael McDonald is pretty ace too.

Twed

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Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2019, 11:27:33 PM »
Is Don Henley - Boys of Summer yacht rock, and is it forbidden? (Same question for Steve Winwood - Valerie). If those don't move you on a sunny day with a breeze then you're dead inside.

Johnny Yesno

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Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2019, 11:36:16 PM »
No I don't. TCR used to wang on about people pretending to like things he didn't like, that has absolutely nothing to do with the point I was making.

Granted, people pretending not to like something you like is the opposite, but it's the same mentality. You literally said 'You no longer have to pretend that...'. I wouldn't be so presumptuous as to accuse you of pretending to like yacht rock. You've never struck me as being dishonest. I just wonder what's gone wrong.

Quote
You sound like TCR yourself, here. Massive generalisations based, not on the art itself, but on the people who like it. Sneer, sneer, sneer. Comparing Hall & Oates to Joe Dolce is just stupid, you're exaggerating to a meaningless, self-defeating extent.

I have gone off on one, true. Bad memories. I don't want that shite 'rehabilitated'.

Regarding the comparison between Hall and Oates and Joe Dolce, it is all the same to me. Hear it once. Understand its simplistic message. Throw it in the bin.

That aside, can't we just have good new music or at least discover old music that didn't have a proper airing instead of picking over the landfill? As NoSleep says, music's supposed to be a living, breathing art form. This constant 'rehabilitation', that ignores the musical politics of the time, just sucks the life out of it. That shit's not going to inspire the next generation of artists.

Johnny Yesno

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Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2019, 11:52:27 PM »

Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2019, 11:57:40 PM »
Not as good as ‘Ride Like The Wind’ by Christopher Cross.

Jockice

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Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2019, 11:58:18 PM »
I saw Hall And Oates live once. There was an audible gasp from the audience when John Oates walked on stage. He's absolutely tiny.

non capisco

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Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2019, 12:00:54 AM »
I saw Hall And Oates live once. There was an audible gasp from the audience when John Oates walked on stage. He's absolutely tiny.

I saw them live earlier this year, it was absolutely banging from start to finish. But, yes, Oates is almost too wee.

Golden E. Pump

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Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2019, 12:59:03 AM »
If we're doing controversial comparisons, Hall and Oates wrote more good songs than Lennon and McCartney.

Twed

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Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2019, 01:19:06 AM »
If we're doing controversial comparisons, Hall and Oates wrote more good songs than Lennon and McCartney.
It's "better", not "more good".

Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2019, 01:33:23 AM »
Is Don Henley - Boys of Summer yacht rock, and is it forbidden? (Same question for Steve Winwood - Valerie). If those don't move you on a sunny day with a breeze then you're dead inside.

I think once snare sounds started becoming big and eighties, it no longer counted as yacht rock. You need that clean, dry 70s drum sound.

Twed

  • What, prick? That's my child. My Johnson's child
Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2019, 01:33:50 AM »
Oh, I think I hate yacht rock then.

Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2019, 06:33:56 AM »


That aside, can't we just have good new music or at least discover old music that didn't have a proper airing instead of picking over the landfill?

We can do all those things. There isn't just one option

Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2019, 06:45:37 AM »
Well that's frankly not cool bro and I like... disagree dude:
https://youtu.be/EErSKhC0CZs

Although this and the post its replying to are arguably a bit of a mischaracterisation of the genre, more standard 80's pop music rather than 70's soft/jazzy rock.

Shaky

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Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2019, 07:38:39 AM »
That aside, can't we just have good new music or at least discover old music that didn't have a proper airing instead of picking over the landfill? As NoSleep says, music's supposed to be a living, breathing art form. This constant 'rehabilitation', that ignores the musical politics of the time, just sucks the life out of it. That shit's not going to inspire the next generation of artists.

If music is indeed "a living and breathing art-form" then constant checks and re-evaluations are a natural part of that process as it's continually being heard by ears new and old. Music is a melting pot of past, present and (possible) future so the idea that looking back might inherently be a bad thing is nonsense. Every genre is constantly being re-framed, re-rehabilitated and/or dismissed by critics and in our own heads. There's no way to stop that and I don't understand why we'd want to. It all means something to someone out there and that, surely, makes it all art. It provokes an emotional response, gets people thinking, dancing, talking and so on. I'm several years past caring if some kid worships Justin Bieber rather the latest "worthy" ultra-noise project. Bring it on. The most overplayed pop hit on the planet can inspire a handful of people to start a band and that's a positive flow of events whether we personally like or loathe the results.

Case in point, I used to dismiss yer Yacht Rock until I really listened to how well-crafted many of those tunes are. Plus, look at the likes of Michael McDonald in that earlier clip and see how totally into it he is. That's real soul right there.

Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2019, 09:04:39 AM »
The best yacht rock song is of course:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtBIgZ1IVFQ

Head Gardener

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Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2019, 10:00:10 AM »

Nowhere Man

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Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2019, 10:42:10 AM »
I saw them live earlier this year, it was absolutely banging from start to finish. But, yes, Oates is almost too wee.

Was that at Wembley? If so I saw Steve Winwood and Steely Dan there.

Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2019, 10:43:40 AM »
I spose earlier Steely Dan might go the other way and be considered more jazz pop so my favourite overtly Yacht rockfish track would be this semi Keith Jarrett ripoff...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYryV8og6Ms

Better Midlands

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Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2019, 10:43:55 AM »
Big fan here, two favourites not mentioned

Boz Scaggs - Lowdown

https://youtu.be/I-hKBmTAADo

Crosby, Stills & Nash - Dark Star

https://youtu.be/60ijH2EWI5g


Better Midlands

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Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2019, 10:53:04 AM »
Two more

Kenny Loggins - This Is It

https://youtu.be/U8SSdyflGN4

Ned Doheny - I've Got Your Number

https://youtu.be/VohEIik4xsY


Crabwalk

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Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2019, 11:05:23 AM »
Ned Doheny - I've Got Your Number

https://youtu.be/VohEIik4xsY

Hard Candy, the parent album of that track by Ned Doheny, is brilliant. It's the best advert for that smooth, sun-kissed AOR I can think of.

Here are a couple more absolute pearls from it:

A Love of Your Own

Each Time You Pray

Just look at the cover for peak Yacht Rock.






Re: Yacht Rock
« Reply #29 on: June 12, 2019, 11:08:31 AM »
I spose earlier Steely Dan might go the other way and be considered more jazz pop so my favourite overtly Yacht rockfish track would be this semi Keith Jarrett ripoff...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYryV8og6Ms
While the Dan can be considered a source of what became Yacht Rock (they give an early break to Michael McDonald, and Skunk Baxter left them to join the Doobie Brothers), I think their lyrics take them a bit too far from the level of smoothitude required to be amongst the Yachting Types.

Which does not mean that Scouse New Wave outfit Yachts count either.