Various: Original Album Series - Yacht Rock

Five-CD box set from an era of white teeth and whiter boats.

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Yacht rock is now recognised as a genuine genre that loosely describes soft rockers from the 70s and 80s who favoured a super-smooth sound. Here, Rhino conveniently houses five classic albums from yacht rock’s golden period.

All share the same blue-skied melancholy, falsetto harmonies and production ambition, but they’re an odd bunch heard together.

Hall & Oates’ Abandoned Luncheonette has lasted the best – blending folk, soul and honey-sweet vocals. Kicking off with the gorgeous When The Morning Comes, it’s a stone-cold classic. Chicago’s 16 marked the start of the period where they defined the outer limits of the dramatic rock ballad, but it’s a tough listen in full unless you’re in need of some 80s-style seduction.

Bread’s Bread On The Waters has fine moments where it is nearly possible to imagine how an 80s Beatles might have sounded, but Orleans’ Let There Be Music leans too heavily into schmaltz to warrant a revisit. Lastly, Robbie Dupree’s Steal Away remains a mighty yacht rock classic, but the rest of his self-titled titled album fails to set sail.

An interesting dip, but steeper investment is needed to own the finest yacht rock./o:p

Johnny Dee

Johnny Dee is a freelance copywriter, creative and journalist. He's been published The Times, The Independent, Q  NME, Q, Smash Hits, The Word as well as in The Guardian, writing pieces for G2, online and The Guide, where he edits the weekly back page feature Infomania. He's got a long history as a music journalist and is also fond of sport (currently contributing to Runner's World and FourFourTwo).