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 Againre creates the idealism, urgency, and excitement of one of the most important and challenging periods in the history of popular music....
|Title||:||Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984|
|Publisher||:||Penguin Non Classics February 17, 2006|
|Number of Pages||:||432 pages|
|File Size||:||977 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 Reviews
I wasn't a big fan of many of the bands in this history, even though it covers all my teenage years, and I was definitely into music then. But I loved many bands that came before and after them, so I thought it would be good to know about the 'bridges' between. The book is very well written and thorough, and written from a UK and European perspective that differs from my own of the time. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it filled in some gaps in my knowledge, and prompted me to go back and relisten to some old favorites, maybe even make a new one or two.
Let me admit right up front that I am not a fan of 95% of the music chronicled in this book. But several of my friends are, so I thought I'd dip into it to see if it would make a nice gift. With that in mind, I read the one chapter that covers music I really love, the chapter about the rapid rise and fall of the 2-Tone ska movement. Those twenty pages were enough to convince me that Reynolds is best kind of music writer, able to write evocatively about the music itself while providing the social, economic, and political context for its creation. He hits the nail firmly on the head in his analysis of The Specials' songs as "cheerless" -- tying them to social-realist cinema and the bleak post-WWII concrete jungle of their native Coventry. Reynolds also does a nice job of describing the origins of ska, it's development in England, and rather complicated ties to the mod and skinhead subcultures. He's also brimming with details about the major bands and why it all fell apart so quickly. Two quibbles do present themselves. One is that some of the transitions are a bit choppy, and I later learned that the US edition I read is an abridged version of the UK edition (nowhere is this obviously stated on the US edition). Some 300+ pages were cut, which would explain some of the choppiness I found, and I have to say that I'll be buying the more expensive UK version for my friends. The second reservation I have with the book is the total lack of documentation. It's great to quote Dammers, Hall, Staple, and all these other musicians, but it would be nice to know where these quotes came from so that one could do follow-up reading or research -- there's not even a bibliography! These cavaets of abrdigement and referencing aside, this appears to be an excellent, well-written account of an overlooked era of music history and should stand as the definitive work for many years to come.
Apparently, the US version is ~200 pages less than the UK version (which was the first copy I read). Though it seems rather blasphemous to excise chapters/portions about Einsturzende Neubauten, SST Records, Magazine, and (reducing) The Buzzcocks, I think it could also be argued that it streamlined the narrative (how punk influenced post-punk which was then co-opted into the mainstream), even if reading about those other acts/labels was interesting. The UK version was definitely enjoyable, but I felt it was a little bloated (i.e. following up the formation of PiL with... some guy who has a cult following, even by the standards of others in this book) My only real complaint is that I would've switched the last two chapters around. (Frankie Goes to Hollywood and the Goth/Neo-psychedelia chapters, respectively)
Simon Reynolds, who previously wrote the definitive early history of electronica,
This has been one of my favorite books for years. Simon Reynolds finds a way to tie the disparate threads of independent experimentation and unbridled newness of the Postpunk era (1978-1984, formally) into an acceptable narrative thread that's as engaging as it is informative. I cannot recommend this book any higher.