Luckily, we’re beginning to make a recovery in pop music, the crap is beginning to be flushed away and more and more so are we being blessed with more creativity, flare and individualism. This article will be on why I think this is; inspirations of soul music and the instruments made famous by the genre. Soul music is a beautiful genre, timeless legends like Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding etc ‘s music simply cannot be matched nowadays but now it’s good to see their music being taken as inspiration for a lot of music nowadays.
Let’s start with the more obvious; Aloe Blacc recently released his number one hit I’m The Man, a song that is as close to mainstream soul music as you can get, it was a great song that deserved to rocket to the top of the charts.
Moving away from the more obvious genres, over the last two years specifically, dance/house/drum&bass music is also beginning to incorporate trumpets and horns into their hits, namely Rudimental. Rudimental came out of nowhere with their two colossal hits which were constructed around the horns and brass they’re now known for. Furthermore, KlangKarussell exploded onto the scene with his summer jam Sonnentanz which utilises a prominent toot from a saxophone or trumpet throughout which made for my idea of a perfect summer hit. As well as this, you’ve got to give Faul & Wad Ad a great deal of credit for replicating this summery sound with Changes, a song that plays to the same strengths while taking on a completely different approach, this time opting for a children’s choir and a ‘drop’ with nothing but strangles of a trumpet.
But we’re not done yet- as much as I hate it, you can’t deny the success of Jason Derulo’s Talk Dirty To Me which of course is built around a trumpet helmed beat, Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea’s recent collaboration ‘Problem’ also shows a similar style, just a hundred times better executed than Derulo’s shoddy pop track.
Finally, two of the most obvious and well known contributors to this trend- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Avicii. I’m not sure I even need to go on about their hits between the two, but Ryan Lewis famously crafted the Thrift Shop beat around a saxophone loop and the same instrument is heavily prominent on two of Avicii’s biggest hits to date – Wake Me Up and Hey Brother.
I love soul music, I love brass, I loved when Plan B used to use full live bands in his live performances, and now I’m loving the fact that current artists like Rudimental are continuing the legacy left behind by some of the greats. The creativity is beginning to creep back into mainstream music.
Here is a compilation of songs epitosomising the above, honourable mentions include Ariana Grande’s Problem and Vic Mensa’s Lovely Day which aren’t on Spotify, among others.