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Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 [Paperback]

Simon Reynolds
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Book Description

21 April 2005
Punk's raw power rejuvenated rock, but by the summer of 1977 the movement had become a parody of itself. RIP IT UP AND START AGAIN is a celebration of what happened next: post-punk bands like PiL, Joy Division, Talking Heads, The Fall and The Human League who dedicated themselves to fulfilling punk's unfinished musical revolution. The post-punk groups were fervent modernists. Experimenting with electronics and machine rhythm or adapting ideas from dub reggae and disco, they were totally confident they could invent a whole new future for music.

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 (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 713,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"'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

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME
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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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating collage 7 Jun 2005
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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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Rip up:
1. The idea that the best period for Pop was the Sixties. Simon Reynolds' elegantly and urgently written survey of post-punk puts that complacent baby boomer myth to rest once and for all. All of Reynolds' books have been essential reading for anyone serious about Pop, and this is no exception. If you are at all interested in how Pop could be challenging, weird and yet compulsive, you really will not be able to put this book down. 'Rip it Up' eloquently and exhaustively makes the case that the 1978-84 period was a pop cultural treasure trove. Reynolds lets us see the usual suspects (PiL, Joy Division, The Fall, The Raincoats, The Slits, Throbbing Gristle, Gang of 4, Cabaret Voltaire) from unusual angles (the anecdote about Martin Hannett making Steve Morris record each drum separately is a wonderful insight into the way in which Joy Division's sound was produced, for instance), as well as re-focusing attention on the forgotten or barely remembered (This Heat, Tuxedomoon).
2. The idea that Pop is essentially to do with music. Reynolds demonstrates that this was a period in which politics, theory and sonic innovation fed into each other in a now scarcely imaginable cocktail of mutual intensification.
3. The idea that Pop has to be entertainment. Reynolds' analysis of postpunk is an implicit broadside against contemporary pop's compulsory trivialization. Pop then was a way of living, not simply a style of consuming.
...and start again:
The book inevitably poses the question - could we ever have it so good again? Can Pop ever return to a Now this urgent, or will it always be yesterday once more? Well, part of what made post-punk so powerful was its unashamed intellectualism.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical marterpiece of post-punk
Complete, comprehensive, compelling reading.
A long-lasting document of the beginning of rock music as we hear it today. Read more
Published 16 days ago by paulo
4.0 out of 5 stars great stuff
well written and good value. easy to read and scroll etc. would recommend to like minded tastes. very good buy
Published 3 months ago by Paul
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Rip it up, Read this!!
Post Punk had a multitude of dimensions, which spurned many bands, not all good, but it shaped music after the massive void left behind when Punk became accepted , packaged and... Read more
Published 4 months ago by sexpistols77
1.0 out of 5 stars Rip it up (Literally)
Supposed to be a book about music but it's just some clever author trying to get as many big, long words into a sentance, paragraph, page etc; as he can. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Mr. Stephen D. Price
2.0 out of 5 stars Ripped it up
Not quite what I was expecting, it turned out to be just a list of who was in what band before they moved to another. Read more
Published 16 months ago by ian jones
5.0 out of 5 stars This is Pop? A review of Rip it up and Start again by Simon Reynolds.
I have had a paper version of this book for a number of years, and thought it would be useful to have on my Kindle Fire alongside Jon Savage's excellent England's Dreaming, which I... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool
It was all perfect. No complaints! Thanks so much! Happy costumer! ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^
Published 19 months ago by kurten
3.0 out of 5 stars Being honest
HMV are selling these Reynolds books at 2 for 10 and after glancing at a few pages I noticed Vic Godard who I have about 10 CDs of and as he never got much covearage I thought I'd... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Richard
3.0 out of 5 stars SIX FORM
There is absolutely no doubting the brillance and genius of this period of music,some genius bands.But in contrast to most of the reviews i found Rip It Up ultimately to be a bit... Read more
Published on 25 May 2012 by mister joe
3.0 out of 5 stars RIP IT UP: the gentrification of punk and pop colonialism.
Rip it Up is a frustrating book. The interviews and history bits are fine, but wading through Reynold's pontificating and buzz phrases is tedious. Read more
Published on 1 Oct 2011 by Nelson Viper
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