1976, Music

Silk Degrees (1976) by Boz Scaggs

My first exposure to Bozz Scaggs was “Loan Me a Dime”, at a time when I was really into blues rock, and he seemed pretty cool to me. I had no idea the course his career took.

The songs might be okay. I honestly can’t tell enough, because I’m so distracted by everything else on the record. I guess a couple of them are catchy enough. I paid basically zero attention to his lyrics, and I’m sorry about that. But, honestly, this music sucks so it was hard to treat it as anything else than background music.

The reason it sucks is that it is the wussiest, safest thing. I don’t know when “yacht rock” was termed, but here it is. Scaggs and the future Toto want to lull you to sleep, or something. There’s “soul” but you can barely tell it’s soul – Scaggs is rarely a soulful enough singer and the aesthetic is much closer to pop than it is to soul (even most slick ’70s soul is more soulful than this shit). There’s a disco influence on some tracks, but not enough to scare anyone. Occasionally, the band jams out a song and there are no dynamics or anything visceral and you’re wondering why they bothered. It’s like an even more bloodless version of the McDonald-era Doobie Brothers. (And that’s saying something.)

And of course the thing is slick as can be, regardless of the performances: there are way too many instruments and they are all recorded as professionally as possible. It’s crazy to me this guy made a record as Muscle Shoals with Duane Allman. All he seemed to learn from that experience – I don’t think I’ve heard it – is that he didn’t see enough records.

People had some terrible taste in the 1970s. This thing sold 5 million copies in the US alone. How can that be? Like some of the funniest hit albums of the ’90s, I’m left wondering who has (or had) this LP and had to hide it.

4/10

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