Why Is Pop Music Suddenly So Horn-y? Sax Hooks Are Burning Up the Charts This Summer

Why horn sections never go out of fashion

When trolling the radio dial, you may have noticed that horns have returned to pop music. And they've returned in some pretty big songs: Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty," Ariana Grande's "Problem" (with Iggy Azalea) and the just-released hit from U.K. superstar Cheryl Cole, "Crazy Stupid Love." All horns! Did those VH1 "Save the Music" commercials finally work?

Unfortunately, the answer isn't that sexy. Music is "cyclical." The horns of the 1980s have been well-documented and can make any party sound like an "over-40s only" gathering. Even the 1990s and 2000s featured some brass with the return of ska, with the likes of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Reel Big Fish and No Doubt. The horn is back just because...the horn is back. So, rest assured, you'll continue to get a healthy dose of horn in your pop songs. Because when something works on the radio, there is a pretty good chance you'll be hearing that formula over and over for a while. But this doesn't mean band geeks are suddenly in fashion. Just like back in high school, the drummer is still always going to get the girls.

-Chris Booker

Booker is a host on KAMP-FM (97.1 Amp Radio) Los Angeles.


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