Bringing Saxy Back: 10 Pieces of Audio Evidence Confirming 2011's Full-On Saxophone Revival

In an episode of 30 Rock from last year's fifth season, Tina Fey's alter-ego Liz Lemon walks the street, moping about the end of writing as career path. 

(I feel you, sister.) 


Eventually, she runs into a group of other bygone careerists living in a subway, ready to adopt her. These careers included a travel agent, an American auto worker and a saxophone soloist.

Seems the show may have jumped the gun on that last one, though: Saxophone players have had a bunch of prominent opportunities in back in the music mainstream over the last year. Often used as a cheeky nod to the '80s, a number of songs released in recent memory have featured the wacky woodwind -- or at least a keyboard sound based off of the instrument.

Let's take a closer look at ten songs behind this phenomenon.

Katy Perry - "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)"

Katy Perry's summer single "Last Friday Night" takes pop culture's blithe nostalgia to the limit. The track's solo was performed by Saturday Night Live Band saxophonist Lenny Pickett -- the guy who kept the sax in the cultural spotlight for two decades. In a cruel twist, the music video had Kenny G on the reed -- the guy who wussified the instrument in the '90s and caused Pickett to carry that burden. 

Alexandra Stan - "Mr. Saxobeat" 

Appearing on American charts after success in Europe, "Mr. Saxobeat" is Romania's biggest musical export since Edward Maya's 2009 dance track, "Stereo Love." As opposed to the accordion used by Maya, the sax employed in this track almost makes you forget the corny English lyrics presented in a Cold War spy's accent. 

Gayngs - The Gaudy Side of Town

With a lineup as crowded as that of 35 Denton veterans Gayngs, there just has to be a sax in there. The first track of 2010's Relayted includes a saxophone over a hip-hop beat, evoking snowy evenings in Chicago or the Twin Cities.

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