In case you missed it, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson quote-tweeted a tweet from the Texas Music Office about yacht rock stalwart and San Antonio-born Christopher Cross to declare that yacht rock is “the official music of the Dallas City Council.”
Johnson wrote that this decision was codified into law by an “ad hoc committee on musical taste,” a hastily made title that made us wonder why Dallas City Council members sit in their cozy chambers engaging in music criticism. And why couldn't they pick a genre even remotely associated with Dallas?
In fairness to Mayor Johnson, and it hurts us to say it, but he is kind of onto something. While, yes, yacht rock is an antiquated genre people love to hate, it's also a significant stylistic precursor to more contemporary subgenres such as vaporwave and future funk. The Dallas-based music blog Gorilla vs. Bear even curates a mixtape series called the “Modern Yacht Rock Summer Mix.”
This is a great retweet by @txmusicoffice. Yacht rock has been declared the official music of the Dallas City Council by @paulablackmon, @GayDWillis13 and myself, the ad hoc committee on musical taste. https://t.co/3OMburqbTG— Mayor Eric Johnson (@Johnson4Dallas) September 1, 2021
Hell, musician Thundercat featured yacht rock legends Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins in the 2017 song “Show You the Way,” and if that doesn’t count for street cred, nothing does.
So whether it was sheer coincidence or the mayor truly intended to tap into that post-ironic yacht rock spirit among the online youth, it was a sound declaration that demonstrated at least a surface-level showing of good musical taste.
But why stop there? Dallas City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Musical Taste should declare grindcore the official music of the Dallas City Plan Commission. Even though bands like Nasum and Agoraphobic Nosebleed aren’t from North Texas, neither is Christopher Cross, so it’s not like precedent isn’t on our side in this matter. If Johnson truly is in the business of declaring the city's official music and overseeing musical taste for Dallas City Council, declaring grindcore the official music of the Dallas City Plan Commission should be his next step.
Of course, “official music” will have to be designated for other boards and commissions such as the Animal Services Commission and the Park and Recreation Board, but that kind of responsibility comes with the territory of being an arbiter of good musical taste, a post Johnson clearly prides himself in manning effectively.
Determining what music is good or bad is a sacred duty, and if the mayor truly thinks that responsibility ends with declaring yacht rock the official music of Dallas City Council, he is alarmingly ill-equipped to take on the litany of daunting tasks music writers assume on a daily basis, like writing stories about how Kid Rock looks like a wax sculpture of Bret Michaels after it was left in a hot car.
To paraphrase a famous scene from Jerry Maguire, “It’s not arbitrating musical taste, friends, it’s arbitrating musical taste business.”