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Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984by Simon Reynolds
"[E]ssential reading....Rip It Up and Start Again reminds the reader of a time when music was the only thing that mattered, of a time when the music you listened to (or didn't listen to) was the lingua franca of life as you knew it. Even if you weren't around or paying attention during the postpunk years, Rip It Up and Start Again will reward the curious reader with endless musical diversions to explore." Gerry Donaghy, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
Rip It Up and Start Again is the first book-length exploration of the wildly adventurous music created in the years after punk. Renowned music journalist Simon Reynolds celebrates the futurist spirit of such bands as Joy Division, Gang of Four, Talking Heads, and Devo, which resulted in endless innovations in music, lyrics, performance, and style and continued into the early eighties with the video-savvy synth- pop of groups such as Human League, Depeche Mode, and Soft Cell, whose success coincided with the rise of MTV. Full of insight and anecdote and populated by charismatic characters, Rip It Up re-creates the idealism, urgency, and excitement of one of the most important and challenging periods in the history of popular music.
"In the reactionary wake of 1970s punk rock came postpunk, a more complex, fragmented brand of music characterized by stark recordings, synthesizers and often cold, affected vocals. Postpunk stands as 'a fair match for the Sixties,' argues Reynolds, both in terms of the amount of great music created as well as the music's connection to the 'social and political turbulence' of its era (the early 1980s). Seeking to address a gap in music and pop culture history, Reynolds (Generation Ecstasy) has penned an ambitious, cerebral effort to establish a high place in rock history for bands such as Joy Division, Devo, Talking Heads, Mission of Burma and, of course, Public Image Limited (PiL), fronted by former Sex Pistols singer John Lydon (Johnny Rotten). Reynolds, an energetic writer, especially captures the postpunk ethic in telling the story of PiL's short journey from record company darlings to utter oblivion. Unfortunately, by the time he gets to bands like Human League and Frankie Goes to Hollywood, his passion is undermined by his subject. Reynolds succeeds in depicting the icons and the richness of an era that clearly manifests itself as a primary influence among a new generation of musicians." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Shed[s] dazzling light on a neglected era of music. The definitive word on the subject." The Times, London
"Anyone who claims to have read five better books about pop is mad, or a liar." The Guardian, London
"It's easier for a critic to attack than to praise, but Reynolds takes more pleasure in expressing passion for the music he loves than in putting down what doesn't fit his program....
"The history of postpunk rock gets a microscopic examination by a keen-eyed English observer....A compelling read, swamped in the end by the new wave of '80s rock." Kirkus Reviews
"Reynolds's enthusiasm makes up for any omissions or critical missteps that inevitably come when trying to cover such a disparate ideological and musical subgenre." Library Journal
Mad World is a highly entertaining oral history that celebrates the New Wave music phenomenon of the 1980s via new interviews with 35 of the most notable artists of the period. Each chapter begins with a discussion of their most popular song but leads to stories of their history and place in the scene, ultimately painting a vivid picture of this colorful, idiosyncratic time. Mixtape suggestions, fashion sidebars, and quotes from famous contemporary admirers help fill out the fun. Participants include members of Duran Duran, New Order, The Smiths, Tears for Fears, Adam Ant, Echo and the Bunnymen, Devo, ABC, Spandau Ballet, A Flock of Seagulls, Thompson Twins, and INXS.
Rip It Up and Start Again is the first book-length exploration of the wildly adventurous music created in the years after punk. Renowned music journalist Simon Reynolds celebrates the futurist spirit of such bands as Joy Division, Gang of Four, Talking Heads, and Devo, which resulted in endless innovations in music, lyrics, performance, and style and continued into the early eighties with the video-savvy synth-pop of groups such as Human League, Depeche Mode, and Soft Cell, whose success coincided with the rise of MTV. Full of insight and anecdotes and populated by charismatic characters, Rip It Up and Start Again re-creates the idealism, urgency, and excitement of one of the most important and challenging periods in the history of popular music.
About the Author
Simon Reynolds is the author of Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture, Blissed Out: The Raptures of Rock, and The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion, and Rock nRoll (coauthored with Joy Press). A senior contributing writer for Spin, his pop culture writings have also appeared in many other major publications.
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