Travis Okulski is a man who changed my life in numerous ways. He possibly singlehandedly rehabilitated the image of the Mazda Miata beyond just club racers. He taught me that someone from my generation can have even worse taste in music than my father does. And he got me into Yacht Rock.
If you’re not familiar with Yacht Rock, it was a pre-YouTube comedy video series on Channel 101 that chronicled the rise and fall of smooth rock n’ roll in the 1970s and 80s. It’s driven largely by the relationship between Michael McDonald, the greatest backing vocalist of all time, and Kenny Loggins, who fled Loggins and Messina-era singer/songwriterdom to chase 80s movie soundtrack glory.
It’s hilarious and 100 percent historically accurate, especially the parts about Michael Jackson being a hyper-aggressive sociopath and Giorgio Moroder being a space alien. Also, Jimmy Buffett gets violently murdered towards the end of the series, along with a legion of his Parrothead fans.
You should stop what you’re doing right now and watch it if you haven’t. It’s Friday afternoon. If you’re reading Jalopnik, it’s not like you were doing actual work anyway.
I mention this only because the final episode of Yacht Rock features an obscure 1985 Christopher Cross song called “Charm the Snake.” I went looking for the music video that came with the song, and I found myself a Jalopnik-worthy hidden gem:
I don’t know why Christopher Cross is racing some dude at Willow Springs, or who that woman is, or why so many people would gather to watch what probably amounts to a glorified karting session. All I know is that everything about it is amazing, especially the clunky editing.
More than that, Cross’ lyrics are as inspirational as the song is smooth:
You gotta be smooth
You gotta be quick
I think it might just help
To be a little bit sick
You know the bite can’t cut you, if the skin is thick
Charm that snake now, baby
Congratulations and best of luck to you, Travis. Stay smooth and charm that motherfuckin’ snake.
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