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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection of music journalism by that rarity: a music writer who can think!
I first switched on to Simon Reyolds' writing when he guided me throught the complexities of Jungle and Drum n Bass through the pages of The Wire (most of that work was recycled in his peerless history of dance music Energy Flash.) More recently his history of New Wave and post-punk Rip it Up and Start Again (its timeliness almost sinister in that it appeared when this...
Published on 7 May 2007 by R. Wilson

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28 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compelling but Flawed
Simon Reynolds' "Rip It Up & Start Again" was a heroic but ultimately uneven attempt to put the ENTIRE post-punk period in context. Coming at a time when popular interest was beginning to focus on this period, it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that the book served as a "Rough Guide" to the post-punk period for many bands who were about to embark on their own musical...
Published on 13 May 2007 by Steven Dedalus


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection of music journalism by that rarity: a music writer who can think!, 7 May 2007
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R. Wilson "RW" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bring the Noise (Paperback)
I first switched on to Simon Reyolds' writing when he guided me throught the complexities of Jungle and Drum n Bass through the pages of The Wire (most of that work was recycled in his peerless history of dance music Energy Flash.) More recently his history of New Wave and post-punk Rip it Up and Start Again (its timeliness almost sinister in that it appeared when this sound was being returned to by so many bands) has received acclaim. Reynolds is a gifted writer in that he can describe music and interview generously, but most importantly he's not afraid of searching for cultural meaning - he's at his best in his pure thinkpieces when he's using his vast range of musical knowledge and political and cultural nous to make startling connections. The reflections on the relationship between black and white music in this collection of his journalism from 1985 to the present day are compelling, and his tracing of oppositions such as authenticity and theatre, futurity and roots, through the music of indie, hip hop, rock, pop and grime make this book a delicious feast. You can make sense of your own musical history through his writing and its fun to see his contemporary self reflect on each piece and his own youthful passions.
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28 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compelling but Flawed, 13 May 2007
This review is from: Bring the Noise (Paperback)
Simon Reynolds' "Rip It Up & Start Again" was a heroic but ultimately uneven attempt to put the ENTIRE post-punk period in context. Coming at a time when popular interest was beginning to focus on this period, it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that the book served as a "Rough Guide" to the post-punk period for many bands who were about to embark on their own musical odyssey, generally misinterpreting the impetus behind the original artist's motivation to create music in the first place. In some small way, Simon Reynolds could lay claim to have influenced the course of British indie music over the last couple of years (not strictly for the better, either).

"Bring the Noise" is a compilation of his writings covering the period immediately after the chronology of "Rip it Up" ends, and carrying on until the present day. Interestingly, Reynolds has written an afterward to every piece, attempting to put it in some kind of contemporary context. There is some excellent writing in here, with pieces on Dinosaur Jr, the Beastie Boys, and Nirvana vs. Pearl Jam in particular being very satisfying, and the afterwards are frequently witty and informative, providing an effective full stop to every selection.

What really lets this book down is the theme of the collection, or lack thereof. Being an attempt to sum up the significant musical events of the last 20 years, there is a lot of ground to cover, and Reynolds' articles leap about from subject to subject, the subtext to which is the implication, "Hey man, hip-hop or noise rock; it's all music maaaan." which is a horrible homogenisation that frequently Reynolds' articles rail against.

As the articles continue, there reaches a point where Reynolds' consciously leaves `white' guitar dominated music behind, in favour of what he sees as the more authentic `black' music from the streets of England (London, really). This provoked startlingly uncomfortable feelings within me, as I struggled to make any connection to the narrative, and forced me to ask certain questions about the book. As a white Northern Irish person, I find it unsurprising that I have no connection or empathy with `black' American hip-hop music, viewing it as a world apart from my own experience and something I perceive myself to have nothing in common with. Reynolds' appears to be making the point that `black' music is BETTER than `white' music, and that anyone listening to all that awful, white-boy indie rubbish should get wise and dig that new hip `black' sound.

On the one hand, Reynolds' reasons for abandoning the `white' music, are interesting and thought provoking, but his continued and persistent celebration of `black' music smacks of while, liberal, middle class intellectualism. For me the implication was not that I COULD find `black' music interesting, but that I SHOULD find it vital and important.

I found by the end of the book, that I was unable to empathise with what Reynolds was writing about, having left all talk of music behind, and concentrating on socio-political content, that was neither relevant nor interesting.
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Bring the Noise
Bring the Noise by Simon Reynolds (Paperback - 3 May 2007)
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