It seems that there is some science to why the music that we listened to as teenagers has remained such a part of our lives. Rock musician and neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitan has explained it all in his book This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, and to be honest, I’m delighted that it’s not just me who thinks that the art of pop music peaked with the 3.5 minute song that was ruling my brain when I should’ve been concentrating on Mr McWhirter's trigonometry class.
My high school years were 1978-1983, and I’m not too proud to admit that much of the music that I listen to in 2013 was recorded during those high school years. Apropos of nothing important, I mentioned the term Yacht Rock last night on Twitter. I was surprised when ABC Queensland Evenings presenter Rebecca Levingston responded that she didn’t know what Yacht Rock is. How could this be?
|Stars of Yacht Rock|
I’m confident that Beck would know many of the songs, and like a few of them too. It’s just the terminology, the overt grouping of the sounds and images from a specific time, which links them all together, that is unfamiliar. The term “Yacht Rock” wasn’t around in the seventies and eighties, as far as I can recall, and these days the genre tends to get a hard time. It's smooth, bordering on over-produced, and I gather it’s not cool to like Yacht Rock. In fact, it has become so uncool that cutting edge hipsters have embraced it.
Cool or not, this music is imprinted on my brain. I am the baby duckling and Christopher Cross, whose song “Sailing” gave the genre its name, is my Mama Duck. Actually, that’s a totally misleading analogy. The truth is more about neurochemical tags and the ability of music itself to connect very deeply, making strong impacts on vulnerable teenaged minds. If you’re interested, I recommend Dan Levitan’s book.
Theory aside, here’s my Yacht Rock playlist, in no particular order. I’ve grabbed a few songs from outside the generally accepted time frame, but it’s my playlist and I give myself permission to do that.
Sailing, Ride Like The Wind – Christopher CrossI’m All Right – Kenny Loggins
Minute by Minute, What A Fool Believes, 8th Avenue Shuffle – Doobie Brothers
You Can Do Magic – AmericaRosanna, Africa, Georgy Porgy – Toto
FM, Peg, Hey Nineteen, Do It Again – Steely Dan
I Keep Forgetting – Michael McDonaldI Can’t Go For That (No Can Do), One on One – Hall & Oates
- 100% male
- 100% white
- 100% American-based
Just for variety, let’s throw in some extras – the mood is the same, even if the beards are missing:
Forget Me Nots – Patrice RushenFantasy, After the Love has Gone – Earth Wind and Fire
Off the Wall – Michael Jackson
Never Give Up on a Good Thing – George Benson
Lowdown, Georgia – Boz Scaggs
Come Back and Stay – Paul Young
For now, feel free to miss the rains down in Africa as much as you like, but please be aware that you're singing the wrong words.