Pulling together parallel threads from music, fashion, art, and new media, Simon Reynolds confronts a central paradox of our era: from iPods to YouTube, we’re. the hype about RETROMANIA: Pop Culture’s Addiction To Its Own Past By Simon Reynolds Dummy magazine’s “The 10 Best Modern Music Books”: #1. Buy Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to its Own Past Main by Simon Reynolds (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and.

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At the very least it’s an interesting time we’re living through for culture. You just kind of assumed in that pop music would be so freaky and weird and interesting that no-one would be bothered watching old episodes of Top Of The Pops which, even at the best of times, were going to be half ropey.

Are revivals necessarily bad? See, I also have a theory. Please whitelist our site in order to continue to access The Quietus. So I’m wondering what’s going to come out of that. Acid had roots — there were warehouse parties before rave — but the whole apparatus of the clothes, the rituals… the idea of having the massive ones in the country… there was a whole across-the-board newness thing, and then dubstep inevitably entered a field that had already been opened up which did diminish its shock effect quite a bit.

But there is this sort of redundancy that leaks in as well. Reynolds’ writing has blended cultural criticism with music journalism. And also in a different sort of age group, there’s a kind of aesthetic they have in their houses of things from old diners, old bottles that were actually mass-produced, like Coke bottles or whatever.

Reynolds’s eighth book, a history of the glam rock era, Shock and Awe: In the first few chapters alone Reynolds manages to make a number of very striking observations regarding the way music is consumed nowadays, the autodidactic way we all turn into little curators trying to make sense of the limitless amount of music out there, using the internet as a overflowing smorgasbord of aaaaaargh; observations about the way we collect and arrange our collections, fetishizing the past and following strands of neglected micro-genres, overlooked exotica, curiosa from ‘foreign’ cultures, and turn that knowledge into a fullblown cornucopia of expertise and cut-and-paste aesthetics, looking for common bonds between bits of music developed in complete isolation from one another and creating associative links that follow a certain kind of logic that was impossible to establish in a pre-internet-age.

I’m arguing here from my misplaced nostalgia, not from the political realities of the time, though I do not think my misplaced nostalgia is wholly without truth. This one has confirmed for me that I need simin switch down, switch off, listen to and engage with music properly. Is this retromania a retfomania knell for any originality and distinctiveness of our own?


This would be a future of wage repression and the general removal of government as a support mechanism for its citizens. Better accessibility and more and instant availability. Even over the last few weeks I’ve been conscious — particularly having just read your book — of the fact that most of the records I’ve been listening to recently are ones I’ve had for a long time, and though I might listen to new things that I think are good… I don’t think I’ve gone through a stage of ever furiously downloading everything I could do, actually, because of what you’re talking about.

Having been conscious of and interested in music as this powerful tool, this stimulus, from not long after it last possessed that power, and becoming conscious of the afterglow of all that activity and then waiting for the next big movement… well, it seems not to have happened.

One of whom has a theory I like: I wonder if I just hold on to records I can’t be parted from and never want to move forward from them. There are so many resources available to people… because there’s so much available of the past, and other countries’ pasts as well, it’s very hard to get that pure hit of innovativeness, even from very clever groups. Support The Quietus Make a Contribution. How do you think that sits with this stuff? Previously Reynolds’ books have se It was odd reading a book by Simon Reynolds that wasn’t positive and excited, as with Rip It Up and Energy Flash, but there was still a lot of brain food and enjoyment to be gleaned.

If I had physical copies I’d want to tear out several chapters and push them on friends who have the relevant interests, knowing they may not be interested in the whole book: Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Reynolds manages to weave an exhaustive and comprehensive narrative around practically all areas of popular and alternative music of the past years, connecting the dots from doo-wop to dubstep to paint a retromaania thorough picture of recurring musical trends and ideas throughout the development of popular music, and what that tells us about the future of music and of society at large.

Noticing that a few reviewers didn’t expect a music book, I wonder if publishers rreynolds only on Reynolds’ name to signal that it was about music, which wouldn’t work for readers not already familiar with him. That seems like it could be a possibility, in the sense that those countries seem to be at a stage where we were a while back. Being in my mid-twenties Retnolds sometimes wonder if I’ve ever heard anything that sounds like such a break with the past.

In the analogue world we had different ways, which were probably daydreaming or vandalism To exist in Time is to suffer through an endless exile, simob successive severing from those precious few moments of feeling at home in the world. Reynolds describes a pattern that reyolds such a familiar and slightly uncomfortable chord that it almost turned a book on pop culture into therapy.


This page was last edited on 31 Octoberat I guess that my generation was always looking at music as the soundtrack of our lives a feeling i find now again in Reynolds book.

Simon Reynolds – Wikipedia

And the needle-scraping ending of such records figures prominently as a metaphor for his relationship with Mia winding down as well.

I know and like Demdike Stare dark ambient hauntology, from a scene which has used several witty titles referencing to dark bits of northern English reyolds, as here, the Pendle witch trials – but was reminded here that I’d never systematically listened to enough other hauntology, although I love the idea of it.

If i get a I think “Retromania” is the best music book of the 21st Century so far. I think the argument that we have very few of either anymore, though, is valid regardless of which track sijon choose to take. Reynolds’s mapping of today’s pop environment is often witty; his account of the way in which so many artists position themselves as curators is spot-on, as is his description of internet users — himself included — gorging on illegal downloads. If you’re going to resurrect the lost golden age then you have to compete with Singin’ in the RainHigh Society reynlds West Side Storyon the toon and tap front Hauntology, Reynolds favorite “new” genre to fill the void, is a perfect example.

A lot of the examples he gives on why music has become so fixated on the past instead of the future the way it used to be are known to me, but I’be never put them in perspective nor could I have done that.


Alice Coltrane The Spiritual Eternal. I suppose another album would be the Moby album Play — using old gospel, soul and blues and doing something with it. It’s something to do with the passage of time, and the gradual divorce from current commercialism makes these things seem recuperable in some way.

Reynolds want to write a music history which he does really well, retrommania he stuck to that this would have been a 4 star review and at the same time a philophical essay on the themes of this age. Songs for Soho Blondes is wonderfully camp. Topics Music books The Observer. The individual under neoliberalism is above all a consumer. It’s just this feeling that there should be something that’s really foreign or unprecedented-seeming.

But that was only a matter of weeks or months, and he still had the bloody things. This End Of Dayz mentality that assumes no-one’s creating anything new any more: He’s not only an inventive musician some of whose work I enjoy, some of which is too noisy for my ageing earshe has many of the best insights in the book: