Everyone is soft—well, almost everyone—when it comes to a fondness for “soft rock,” which overlaps tightly with what has come to be known and celebrated as “yachting rock.” Paramount+ is banking on a nation of viewers’ desire to indulge in the soft stuff with its upcoming live-action three-part documentary, “Sometimes When We Touch,” set for release in the US and Canada on January 3.
“You can pull out soft rock and beat it and distort it as much as you want, but I bet you know every song in Hall & Oates’ catalog,” says Van Toffler, CEO of Gunpowder & Sky, a partner with MTV Entertainment Studios. in the series. “Personally, I’m glad kids are finally learning about the virtues of the Carpenters and Michael McDonald through sampling in current hip-hop.”
With its subtitle, “The Reign, Ruin and Resurrection of Soft Rock” — and the publicist evidence that modern affection for the subgenre “experiences one of the most unlikely comebacks in music history” — it appears the series will be arguing that soft rock’s reputation has been met. The decades-long rehabilitation of rock music, or at least its memory as anathema to “real” rock fans may have faded with time.
Artists whose songs will appear on the series – besides the aforementioned Daryl Hall and John Oates – include Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, Air Supply, Ambrosia, The Carpenters, Captain & Tennille and Lionel Richie. While some music fans may feel it’s a stretch to think of the last few “rock” acts ever, he told the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, who inducted Richie last month.
Among those interviewed for the series, not all of whom are soft rockers themselves by trade: Sheryl Crow, Stewart Copeland of Police, Daryl McDaniels of Run DMC, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Susannah Hoffs, L.E. Reed, Richard Marx, Robert “Cool” Bell, Verdine White, and, as the trailer (above) shows, diverseOwen Gleiberman. Verified vets from SoftRock Discussion include Loggins, Toni Tennille, Rupert Holmes, Dan Hill and Ray Parker Jr. and Air Supply.
The series promises archival interviews and concert footage along with contemporary commentary that “embraces soft rock influence while acknowledging embarrassing transgressions that sometimes lead us astray” – “sometimes when we feel lost” after apparently being rejected As the title — “And a review of its continuing power over a new generation that’s ubiquitous from hip-hop samples and radio remakes to superhero soundtracks and TikTok posts.”
Van Toffler produced, Lorraine Lazine executive produced and directed, and Chuck Thompson wrote and executive produced. Other executive producers include David Gill, Floris Bauer, Barry Barclay, and Joanna Zwickl for Gunpowder & Sky; Rick Krim, Bruce Gilmer and Vanessa Whitewolf for MTV Entertainment Studios. Jennifer Yandrisivets was the Senior Production Manager.
Doc will be broadcast in the United Kingdom, Australia and Latin America on January 4, the day after it debuted in the United States. Viewers in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France will have their crack at April 4th.