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Bring the Noise Paperback – 3 May 2007
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Bring the Noise by Simon Reynolds features writing on rock and hip-hop, and the creative tensions between the two, from the best-selling author of Rip It Up and Start Again.
About the Author
Simon Reynolds is the author of Energy Flash: A Journey through Rave Music and Dance Culture, Blissed Out: The Raptures of Rock, The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellions and Rock and Roll (co-written with Joy Press), Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978 - 1984 and, most recently, Bring the Noise: Twenty Years of Hip Hop and Hip Rock.
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Top customer reviews
"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.