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Explores the inventive and innovative music created in the years following the heyday of punk, looking at the contributions of such bands as Talking Heads, Devo, Joy Division, and Gang of Four to the evolution of modern music.
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.
'A fantastic tribute to an amazingly creative musical period . . . An instant pop classic, worthy of a place on your shelves beside the handful of music books that really matter.' John McTernan, Scotland on Sunday Punk revitalized rock in the mid-seventies, but the movement soon degenerated into self-parody. Rip It Up and Start Again is the first book-length celebration of what happened next: post-punk bands who dedicated themselves to fulfilling punk's unfinished musical revolution. 1978 - 1984 rivals the sixties for the sheer amount of fabulous music created, the spirit of adventure and possibility that infused it, and the way the sounds felt inextricably connected to the political and social turbulence of the day. Simon Reynolds, acclaimed author of Energy Flash, recreates a time of tremendous urgency and idealism in pop music. Packed with anecdote and insight, populated by charismatic and maverick characters, Rip It Up and Start Again stands as one of the most inspired and inspiring books on popular music ever written. 'I had never expected there to be a book on this subject; had I done so, I would never have dared to hope it could be as good as this.' Nicholas Lezard, Guardian Book of the Week 'This remarkable and perfectly timed cultural history is required reading.' Q Magazine
One of The Telegraph's Best Music Books 2011 We live in a pop age gone loco for retro and crazy for commemoration. Band re-formations and reunion tours, expanded reissues of classic albums and outtake-crammed box sets, remakes and sequels, tribute albums and mash-ups . . . But what happens when we run out of past? Are we heading toward a sort of culturalecological catastrophe where the archival stream of pop history has been exhausted? Simon Reynolds, one of the finest music writers of his generation, argues that we have indeed reached a tipping point, and that although earlier eras had their own obsessions with antiquity—the Renaissance with its admiration for Roman and Greek classicism, the Gothic movement's invocations of medievalism—never has there been a society so obsessed with the cultural artifacts of its own immediate past. Retromania is the first book to examine the retro industry and ask the question: Is this retromania a death knell for any originality and distinctiveness of our own?
NPR Great Read of 2016 From the acclaimed author of Rip It Up and Start Again and Retromania—“the foremost popular music critic of this era (Times Literary Supplement)—comes the definitive cultural history of glam and glitter rock, celebrating its outlandish fashion and outrageous stars, including David Bowie and Alice Cooper, and tracking its vibrant legacy in contemporary pop. Spearheaded by David Bowie, Alice Cooper, T. Rex, and Roxy Music, glam rock reveled in artifice and spectacle. Reacting against the hairy, denim-clad rock bands of the late Sixties, glam was the first true teenage rampage of the new decade. In Shock and Awe, Simon Reynolds takes you on a wild cultural tour through the early Seventies, a period packed with glitzy costumes and alien make-up, thrilling music and larger-than-life personas. Shock and Awe offers a fresh, in-depth look at the glam and glitter phenomenon, placing it the wider Seventies context of social upheaval and political disillusion. It explores how artists like Lou Reed, New York Dolls, and Queen broke with the hippie generation, celebrating illusion and artifice over truth and authenticity. Probing the genre’s major themes—stardom, androgyny, image, decadence, fandom, apocalypse—Reynolds tracks glam’s legacy as it unfolded in subsequent decades, from Eighties art-pop icons like Kate Bush through to twenty-first century idols of outrage such as Lady Gaga. Shock and Awe shows how the original glam artists’ obsessions with fame, extreme fashion, and theatrical excess continue to reverberate through contemporary pop culture.
The first book to look at rock rebellion through the lens of gender, "The Sex Revolts" captures the paradox at rock's dark heart--the music is often most thrilling when it is most misogynistic and macho. And, looking at music made by female artists, the authors ask: must it always be this way? Provocative and passionately argued, the book walks the edgy line between a rock fan's excitement and a critic's awareness of the music's murky undercurrents.
Presents a critical look at the history and cultural aspects of new wave music.

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