A while back I was listening to The World Cafe on the way down to Denver. It was then that I learned about Yacht Rock. Here’s the link to the episode, which you should listen to before going any further.
The podcasts guests were clever, creative, and funny. And, they knew their stuff about music. Because anyone who’d take time out of their life to invent an arbitrary music genre obviously loves music. Or they were broke, part of being an artist. Maybe both? I don’t care. They did it.
I filed away the podcast until about a week ago, when I started listening to Beyond Yacht Rock, here
The guys on the podcast are JD Ryznar, David B. Lyons, Hunter Stair and Steve Huey. They’re creative geniuses. They’re funny — really funny. And they know music.
So they’ve invented an arbitrary genre called Yacht Rock. There’s Yacht Rock imposters out there, pay no attention to them. The official and definitive Yacht Rock source are these 4 dudes. They make the rules. I’m fine with that. I’m here to follow.
So what is Yacht Rock? I’m still getting my bearings. It’s not disco or soft rock. Yacht Rock had a short life. It’s as early as 1976, no later than 1984. The sweet spot is 1977 to 1982. It’s got a “Doobie Bounce” — a sound similar to the Doobie Brothers, specifically Michael McDonald. A Yacht Rock song should have personnel connected Toto. There’s a jazzy sound akin to Steely Dan. Not all Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, or Toto songs are Yacht Rock. A Yacht Rock song has to be “smooth”, “yachtie”, and polished.
Yacht Rock is fun, technical, and sexy. Listening to the guys do their thing is funny. They’re so creative. When I listen to the podcasts I learn about music. Because of them, I’m now paying attention to lyrics and instruments like never before. When I listen to Yacht Rock I get horny. I wanna do it with Renee and shake my booty.
So at this point you might be thinking you know what Yacht Rock is? Yacht Rock isn’t about what you or I think. It’s about what these 4 dudes think, based on a Yachtski score. Because Yacht Rock is an arbitrary genre they invented – not that we invented. They make the rules, not us. I’m so cool with that. A Yachtski score of 50+ gets the song on the boat. A score below 50 is Nyacht, Yacht Rock.
Here’s the Yachtski scale
It’s not all-inclusive, Yacht Rock songs are added every so often. But it’s a good reference.
If what happened to me happens to you, you find yourself digging Yacht Rock or even becoming a Yroupie (yacht rock groupie — my term), join their Patreon page and send them money each month. In fact send them money even if you don’t join. Because in doing so you’re supporting the arts and creativity, both of which are under siege these days.
Everything comes around. Turns out I was listening to Yacht Rock in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I loved Pablo Cruise, Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, The Pointer Sisters. But my crew back then were all tough guys. So I was a closet listener.
Here’s a few Yacht Rock favorites and a playlist I put together. As I write this I’ve had “He’s So Shy” by The Pointer Sisters on repeat. I fucking love, Yacht Rock.
Thank you JD, Steve, David and Hunter for restoking my inner boogie. I needed it. I’m forever grateful.
We’re In This Love Together, Al Jarreau
After The Love Has Gone, Earth Wind & Fire
He’s So Shy, The Pointer Sisters
Human Nature, Michael Jackson
Lady Love Me (One More Time), George Benson