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Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 Paperback – 21 Apr 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 577 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber (21 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571215696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571215690
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.5 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 698,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"'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 text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984, by Simon Reynolds, is the essential book on post-punk music, a must for any serious pop music fan. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By 3 Mugs on 28 July 2010
Format: Paperback
An excellently written and painstakingly researched book, and the author's enthusiasm about the era shines through. Like me, your interest in the various chapters will differ depending on how you felt about the years and bands contained within them.
The 'pop' chapters of the early 80's left me glazing over a bit, but only because the music represented here I disliked then and I still do. It was still interesting to see how the personnel linked back to unexpected roots.
However the bits you'll like, which will be different for everyone, you will really enjoy. You can't fault the writing, and actually, it is perfectly easy to skip chapters and cherry pick the bits you want from it. The only patchiness of this book will be down to it's readers' tastes, and Reynolds again proves his substancial worth as a music journalist.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Richard E. Ashcroft on 7 Jun. 2005
Format: Paperback
I loved this book. The coverage is incredibly broad, and the sheer fascination of the music really comes alive through Reynolds's writing. The other reviewers sum up the great things about this book well, and I agree with what they said. So here are a couple of criticisms: he doesn't contextualise the music in the political and cultural context of the day as well as Jon Savage did for punk 1976-1978 in "England's Dreaming". That's not a surprise, since he is covering so many different, overlapping musical scenes in the UK and the UK, with nods to Germany and Australia. But it does make it more of a music fan's book and less of a cultural history than it promised to be. A second related criticism is that this is definitely a history of the producers of music, not of its consumption. So we get very little insight into the subcultures formed around these musical scenes (such as round Two Tone or Gothic), and the interpretation of the music is very much from the point of the switched on 20 something who went to gigs, rather than the bulk of the record buying or radio listening publics aged 10 to 30. The sheer excitement of hearing "Gangsters" or "Pretty Vacant" or "Sensoria" on your little transitor radio for the first time doesn't quite come across. Nor do you get much of a feel for why, when the Human League or Depeche Mode popped up on Top of the Pops or Radio 1, it felt just like the obvious way to make pop records and nothing would need to change again now we'd got it right! Related to this, thirdly, this is a guy in his late 30s (maybe a shade older) telling us that music was better in his day (and I know he has written about 90s rave culture too, but he says that has gone off as well). Hence the historicising.Read more ›
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By 2cleverbyhalf on 30 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
I guess it depends on how old you are. From my early 40s I can still look back at the glory of Post Punk as a true golden age. I suppose you youngsters out there just can't believe anything important happened 20 years ago.(Plus, how many kids today want to know anything about the Lemon Kittens ?)
Sadly, the best bits in the book are the descriptions of the now mind boggling amount of dissention and sheer aggro that went along with this 'scene'. I can't see anything today (maybe some aspects of rap) which challenge the prevailing status quo either politically or culturally like these bands did at the time. The descriptions of the Associates and Scritti Polliti alone are worth the price of the book for any aspiring musician. How refreshing to remember there were once 'artists' who didn't think - How can I copy someone and make money ? but did think 'At this point I don't care how to make money, but I don't like anything else so I'll make something new.'
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME on 3 May 2005
Format: Paperback
Reynolds' prior books 'Blissed Out' & 'Energy Flash' were both excellent and the epitome of the kind of music journalism we lack these days (though like some great music journalism, the writing was sometimes more exciting than some of the records described- notably in 'Energy Flash.')Reynolds has found a niche to write about - what came after punk on both sides of the Atlantic and how that mutated into what was termed 'New Pop' & ultimately fizzled out in the horrific decade that would champion Phil Collins, Thompson Twins & Duran...
It's a vast area Reynolds writes about, choosing to get a handle on it by presenting the book in (i) two halves: Post-Punk and New Pop/New Rock & (ii) writing a chapter on related acts - so we move back and forth, and round and about (there's a great timeline, though sadly a discography in the style of 'Energy Flash' is not in the book- it's on the publisher's website!)Reynolds writes, as his features in 'Uncut' & in prior publications, interestingly and intelligently, taking in such names as PIL, Throbbing Gristle, Wire, Devo, The Slits, The Raincoats, Pere Ubu, Joy Division, The Fall, Cabaret Voltaire, Scritti Politti, Gang of Four, Magazine, Subway Sect, The Pop Group, No-Wave (and in what came after post-punk, such names as Dexys, The Specials, Associates, Malcolm McClaren, Soft Cell, Depeche Mode, Foetus, Mission of Burma, Husker Du, Meat Puppets and so on...) The only problem with this is that you read about one band, go and put one of their records on, turn a few pages and you're with another band, whose record you go and get and put on (and so on!!!) The answer to this would be a Nuggets-style box-set compiled by Mr Reynolds!
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