Monday Mix: Sexy Sax

So apparently the new M83 song has everyone talking about saxophone solos. Lucky for you, I’m both way ahead of the curve and way behind it, and have been talking about wanting more sax in popular music for years now. So for your listening pleasure I’ve compiled a Spotify playlist of great and not great saxophone solos. First, the inspiration:

M83 – Midnight City: I could go for a little more heavy handed sax, but it’s a good track, and I’m glad we’re having this conversation. Sadly, the album doesn’t come out until October, so it’s not on Spotify yet and had to be presented separately. Here’s the rest of the mix, with commentary after the fold:

Sexy Sax

  • Lou Reed – Walk on the Wild Side: An easygoing, classy way to kick this mix off. Enjoy the song, and always remember: Lou Reed is a genius, but his genius is evil.
  • Galaxie 500 – Decomposing Trees: Galaxie 500 are better known for their instrumental simplicity and guitar fireworks, but this solo, which is legitimately sexy sax man-ish, works pretty well.
  • Roger Waters – 4:50 AM (Go Fishing): Deep down I know that The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking is not a good album, but I can’t help loving it anyway. I do not recommend it. This song is a pretty good encapsulation of the entire album: thematically depressing, Roger Waters yelling like it’s the worst parts of The Wall, some nice Eric Clapton guitar work and an overwrought finale with female backup singers. There are sax breaks here, but the one that starts at 5:36 is particularly notable for sounding like the theme song to an ’80s sitcom about how your life sucks and no one loves you.
  • Men at Work – Who Can It Be Now?: This time period is grossly overrepresented in a mix like this. From a simpler time, when saxophone was a staple, not a novelty.
  • Dave Matthews Band – #41: Ah, the golden age of Dave Matthews. I remember this time fondly even though I’m fairly certain that nothing notably good happened then. I don’t know; Nintendo 64, Crash, things couldn’t have possibly been that bad. And admit it, you love Dave Matthews Band, you just hate the UGA kids who love Dave Matthews Band. And that’s really an indictment of the state of Georgia, not the music.
  • Hall & Oates – One On One: The top selling pop duo of all time. Think about that, and then think about what that says about our species. Really you could throw any Hall & Oates song on a sexy sax mix and have it come off pretty well, but I chose this one because in my estimation it has the sleaziest solo.
  • The Replacements – I Don’t Know: If you don’t own a copy of Pleased to Meet Me, you should. Supposedly there’s a live version of this without the saxophone that’s way better, but how could that possibly be? THIS ONE HAS THE SAXOPHONE IN IT!
  • Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run: I had to break this up to make the mix listenable and not just 80s cheese. The song is played out and whatever whatever, but on a deep, visceral level you either love Bruce Springsteen or you’re with the terrorists. Choose wisely.
  • Foreigner – Urgent: What was I saying about 80s cheese? I love it when this happens: you write a song, it’s pretty good, but you’ve got absolutely no idea how to end it. I know! Throw a saxophone solo on the end! Brilliant!
  • INXS – What You Need: The saxophone was invented in 1846, but apparently wasn’t discovered until late 1979. Take the sax out of this song and it’s nothing but some Australian grunting, but with the sax in there it’s art.
  • Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar: Again, 80s cheese has to be broken by something listenable. The Sticky Fingers era Rolling Stones could do no wrong.
  • Steely Dan – Aja: If you described Steely Dan to someone who had never heard their music I’m sure that person would have absolutely no interest in hearing it.
  • Duran Duran – Rio: Sexy sax at its absolute best. Prog + Synth + Glam = Relevant to my interests
  • David Bowie – Young Americans: Sometime in 1975 David Bowie found this shiny gold thing in a studio and decided he loved it and wanted to use it as much as possible. The result? Young Americans.
  • Billy Joel – It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me: I’m finishing this mix off the way J.K. Rowling would: with something so obvious and unsatisfying that it will leave you furious that you sat through all the other bullshit for this?!? Still, when you talk about boy wizards she’s the first name that comes to mind, and when you talk about sax in popular music “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” is the first thing that pops into my head.

So go to the comments and let me know what I missed and how my choices reflect poorly on me as a human being. If there is sufficient interest future mixes may come in downloadable .zip files, but probably not because that sounds like it might be too much work. Enjoy!


About richardwahnfried
Not named Richard Wahnfried, not krautrock legend Klaus Schulze.

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