24 min

Harry Styles and the Sledgehammer Horns Switched on Pop

    • Music Commentary

As we hit the dog days of summer, the artist that’s started to soundtrack pool parties across the country is former One Direction bandmate and contemporary sex symbol Harry Styles.

In May, Styles released Harry’s House, an album propelled by the number one hit “As It Was.” Despite having critical and commercial success, a barb often thrown at the album is the idea of it being inoffensive: pleasant, “easy listening” music apt for an elevator, grocery store or, perhaps, a sushi restaurant. 

Fans of Styles have warmly accepted this, and have come to love his sly appreciation of different decades of pop music history. This latest album reveals an interesting connection to one era in particular: the 1980s and the percussive, full-bodied horn sections that came with it. 

The first track on Harry’s House, “Music for a Sushi Restaurant,” offers a whole chorus of just horns, in an homage to one of Styles’s musical touchstones, Peter Gabriel. These 80s “sledgehammer horns” connect to a deep well of 80s grooves—from Lionel Richie's "Up All Night" to Janet Jackson and Herb Alpert's "Diamonds," —as Styles's strives to achieve the same effortless funk and propulsion of his brassy icons.

MORE
Sledgehammer Horns playlist
Every Olivia Wilde reference Vulture found on Harry’s House
 
Songs Discussed

Harry Styles - As It Was, Music for a Sushi Restaurant, Daydreaming
Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammer
Lionel Richie - Up All Night
Donna Summer - She Works Hard for the Money
Sheila E. - The Glamorous Life
Steve Winwood - Higher Love
Janet Jackson and Herb Alpert - Diamonds
Herb Alpert - Rise
Notorious B.I.G. - Hypnotize 

We need your help. We are conducting a short audience survey to help plan for our future and hear from you. To participate, head to vox.com/podsurvey, and thank you!
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

As we hit the dog days of summer, the artist that’s started to soundtrack pool parties across the country is former One Direction bandmate and contemporary sex symbol Harry Styles.

In May, Styles released Harry’s House, an album propelled by the number one hit “As It Was.” Despite having critical and commercial success, a barb often thrown at the album is the idea of it being inoffensive: pleasant, “easy listening” music apt for an elevator, grocery store or, perhaps, a sushi restaurant. 

Fans of Styles have warmly accepted this, and have come to love his sly appreciation of different decades of pop music history. This latest album reveals an interesting connection to one era in particular: the 1980s and the percussive, full-bodied horn sections that came with it. 

The first track on Harry’s House, “Music for a Sushi Restaurant,” offers a whole chorus of just horns, in an homage to one of Styles’s musical touchstones, Peter Gabriel. These 80s “sledgehammer horns” connect to a deep well of 80s grooves—from Lionel Richie's "Up All Night" to Janet Jackson and Herb Alpert's "Diamonds," —as Styles's strives to achieve the same effortless funk and propulsion of his brassy icons.

MORE
Sledgehammer Horns playlist
Every Olivia Wilde reference Vulture found on Harry’s House
 
Songs Discussed

Harry Styles - As It Was, Music for a Sushi Restaurant, Daydreaming
Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammer
Lionel Richie - Up All Night
Donna Summer - She Works Hard for the Money
Sheila E. - The Glamorous Life
Steve Winwood - Higher Love
Janet Jackson and Herb Alpert - Diamonds
Herb Alpert - Rise
Notorious B.I.G. - Hypnotize 

We need your help. We are conducting a short audience survey to help plan for our future and hear from you. To participate, head to vox.com/podsurvey, and thank you!
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

24 min

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