Artist: Pablo Cruise Track: "A Place in the Sun" Album: A Place in the Sun Listen

The Alive staff yesterday was discussing the best songs to help us (and, by proxy, readers) through this long, cold, lonely winter. More specifically, Melissa Starker and I battled over the inherent merit of yacht rock -- the sunny, laidback light rock typified in retrospect by Hall & Oates.

During the late '70s and early '80s, Hall, Oates, Loggins, Messina, Sanford, Townsend and others were making music for good times and carefree days. If you were an affluent banker wearing pastel colors and flaunting wealth in the Keys, this is what was what you played while downing Singapore Slings.

But even outside the economic and cultural contexts that made it popular, it stands up as magnificently produced tunes performed by talented ex-hippies who could afford expert studio musicians to polish their feel-good vibes.

Starker disagrees not only about whether it's good music, but also whether people want to hear such things as they watch their 401Ks evaporate. Good point. But longing for warm weather is more important to me today than any financial woes. Humming Pablo Cruise's "A Place in the Sun" on my walk to work helped a lot.

Its effervescent guitar riffs, sing-along chorus about sun and groovy bass line are as close as any musician has come to embodying the feeling of bobbing happily in the Caribbean Sea.

Even that cover makes me smile.