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Return of the Smooth

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 7, 2006 3:46PM

Recently, music geeks and fans of funny shit on the Internet were saddened to hear that Channel 101’s Yacht Rock series 2006_07_yachtrock.jpghad come to an end. Over the past year, the show quasi-fictionally chronicled the lives of artists like Michael McDonald, Hall and Oates, Toto and Christopher Cross. They ruled the FM airwaves in the 70s and 80s with an iron fist, wrapped in a velvet glove.

Over the next few days, Chicago will be in the midst of a yacht rock revival. First, Steely Dan and Michael McDonald will be bringing the chooga-chooga boogie to That One Place In Tinley Park That Keeps Changing Its Name And Is Now Named After A Bank Or Something. This Saturday, you can sit on the lawn for $25 or pay up to $85 to hear McDonald destroy the tender memories you have of Motown classics. Be sure to seek out the suburban moms and tell them how Steely Dan got its name.

Then on Monday, enjoy cheap drinks at the Empty Bottle while you enjoy all ten episodes of Yacht Rock, hosted by JD Ryznar, creator of the series and invoker of McDonald in several episodes. The event starts at 9 pm. with the Soft as Fuck DJs spinning what we're sure will be the songs that inspired the shorts. Ryznar will host a Q&A afterwards.

There’s a debate raging in the Chicagoist offices over the yacht rock phenomenon. The Chicagoist Music Department has never waved the irony flag in order to justify liking something that others might mock. We’ve bragged of owning Big Bam Boom on cassette and have spent the past couple weeks torturing our friends and loved ones with impromptu renditions of “Sailing.”

But paths diverge over the issue of Michael McDonald. On one side, we have those who thrill to his dulcet tenor. On another, are those who would just as soon beat him down as look at him due to a contention borne in high school that he just goes around ruining the oeuvres of otherwise enjoyable artists (The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, Kenny Loggins). Yet that faction would be lying if it didn’t admit to occasionally rocking the White Man’s Overbite to “What A Fool Believes” and “This Is It.”

So what say you, gentle readers? Love him, hate him, or love him in spite of your misgivings?