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Rip It Up And Start Again: Postpunk 1978 1984

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,870 Ratings  ·  241 Reviews
Document exhaustif sur une période de l'histoire du rock, entre la séparation des Sex Pistols et l'explosion de MTV, représentée par des artistes comme Pil, Devo, Joy Division, les Talkings Heads, Gang of Four ou Cabaret Voltaire. Ces groupes des deux côtés de l'Atlantique, envisagent leur travail comme comme un instrument de lutte contre l'idéologie culturelle et esthétiq ...more
Published 2007 by Ed. Allia (first published 2005)
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Feb 18, 2012 Brandon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: listmakers, review-heads
Recommended to Brandon by: Wiggins
Here is a band. They put out a great record. Here's why it was great. Then they became less great and broke up. Here is another band. They put out a great record. Here's why it was great. Then they became less great and broke up. Here is another band. They put out a great record. Here's why it was great. Then they became less great and broke up. Here is another band. They put out a great record. Here's why it was great. Then they became less great and broke up. Here is another band. They put out ...more
Jun 24, 2008 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The standard narrative of the pop music history of the late 70’s and early 80’s has the bracing musical revolution of punk quickly degenerating into the more commercial and co-optable form of New Wave. Punk is the honest, authentic voice of political and aesthetic revolution, while New Wave is the watered down, corrupted, commercialized version of that impulse. Now there’s a grain of truth to this interpretation, but it misses a few things about punk that were quickly to drive it into an aesthet ...more
Apr 01, 2009 Drew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is what happened: I bought the US edition of this book back when it was released, read it, loved it. Six months or so later, I learned that the original UK edition had been cut all to hell for its US release. Something like 200 pages had been removed in order to pare the US edition down to its 400 page final length. I was shocked and appalled, but never knew quite how to get myself a copy of the UK edition, short of doing an international order through Amazon UK, which I told myself would b ...more
A thorough and intellectual (sometimes a little too thorough and intellectual) overview of British and American post-punk art rock and pop. The first half of the book explains the lofty intellectual and musical ideals the drove bands such as Public Image Ltd., Pere Ubu, Joy Division, Gang of Four, and the Pop Group, while the more fractured second half explains how this post-punk movement spawned goth, neo-psychedelia, synth pop, 2-tone, the new romantic scene, and finally the New Rock and New P ...more
Jan 26, 2013 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Warning: do not read this book unless you have ready access to Spotify or some other music subscription service that allows you to listen to entire albums without purchasing them, or else you will go bankrupt trying to catch up with the Fall, James Chance and the Contortions, the Associates and a hundred other bands with which you were vaguely familiar but suddenly find fascinating thanks to Simon Reynolds' writing. This is the best work of music history, and one of the best history books, I hav ...more
Endlessly exhaustive and meticulously researched history of one of the most fertile and creative periods of music since rock and roll expropriated the black blue. There is an interesting parallel in which Reynolds compares the synth-pop Second English Invasion of the early 80s to the original 60s English Invasion - rather than UK bands taking black blues and selling back to the white Americans, it was UK bands taking the recent black innovations of disco and R&B, remaking them in their own i ...more
Sep 23, 2012 Jesús rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mastodóntico, enciclopédico, imprescindible. El libro de Reynolds pone orden en aquello que el punk dejó patas arriba y hace que nos preguntemos no ya qué es el post-punk, sino: ¿qué no es post-punk? Es música disco, es reggae, es dub; es negro, es blanco y es africano; es de Nueva York y es de Manchester; es autogestión, es independencia, es política y es baile; es ruido, furia y mierda, pero también es artístico, limpio y minimalista; es frío y es calor; es carne y es metal; es antirock y anti ...more
Aug 26, 2009 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book as an ideal airplane book - potentially interesting, but not likely to be particularly taxing. And it was pretty much as a I expected. I'm not a post-punk disciple (born a little late), and know the music mostly from a "looking-back" perspective. Coming from this point of view, the beginnings of the book were pretty interesting, starting with PiL and moving forward. I've always wondered about the story of PiL, and it was well explained by Reynolds.

The major problem with this b
Lily Rojo
Jun 30, 2009 Lily Rojo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great read, but definitely meant only for those with previous knowledge of or respect for this era of music history. Newcomers to this genre will most likely be put off by the sheer amount of obscure information that Reynolds includes, while post-punk nerds such as myself will revel in it.

However, it should be noted that the US version is highly censored and cut by almost 200 pages, and does not include the original photos of the UK release. Take some time to seek out the original UK
Oct 27, 2007 Tosh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: music obsessives
Simon Reynolds is a great critic/historian. The 80's! On the surface it seems to be dull time, but alas, not true! Great music works were produced in that era, everything from Adam Ant (Yes!) to Pere Ubu. Public Image, The Slits, Scritti Politti - and lots more are covered in this book. A fascinating read to a world that doesn't exist anymore. That's the nature of 'pop.'
May 16, 2013 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I loved it...I feel like I know everything about post-punk now! This book hits pretty much every one of my all-time favorites: Talking Heads, Devo, Orange Juice, Gang of Four, Joy Division, the Raincoats, etc etc. I've enjoyed reading Simon Reynolds in the past, and this seems like his main passion, so it does not disappoint.
Jan 20, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music, reviewed-by-me
This is certainly the best single book so far on post-punk, but it is significantly impaired, firstly by Reynolds' refusal or inability to decide what he means by 'post-punk', and secondly, by his decision to try to include musical developments after punk in the US. He ought to have decided what 'post-punk' meant for him and stuck with it. Similarly, he ought to have limited the ambit of the book to the UK, Ireland & Germany, because his treatment of developments in those countries is genera ...more
Apr 29, 2012 Phil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plus-half-a-star
I would have given this book five stars if it had a more cohesive sense of continuity, but with the sheer amount of ground Reynolds covers, I don't know if that would have been possible. Each individual chapter, typically covering a group of stylistically or otherwise related artists, usually in a particular city or region, reads more like a standalone article, though the chronological ordering of the chapters and the web of mutual influence among the artists made it inevitable that certain name ...more
Jan 05, 2013 Aaron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's no secret amongst my friends that I pretty much obsess over the post-punk era. This books seemed short at 500+ pages while containing more information and insight into the scene, how it came about, mutated and ended than seemed possible. Sure there's a million other stories to tell... There's a wealth of information that could be gotten from the artists mouth's themselves (as this book seemed light on direct contact). As the first book I am aware of that tried to broach this topic with any ...more
Ian Mathers
Jun 17, 2013 Ian Mathers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Technically this was a reread, but I don't have it in Goodreads, my first read was years ago and the UK edition instead of the US, and I _did_ read it this year, so I'm counting it for the reading challenge (so there). I'd probably give the UK edition with the three extra chapters and other missing material five stars, not because it's perfect and not because I agree with Reynolds on everything (and you can definitely spot the roots of some of his errors circa Retromania in the afterword), but i ...more
Mar 06, 2008 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Music Lovers (particularly English music lovers)
Okay, I was the kid who ate, drank and dreamed music. Music was always around from the Red Hot Chili Peppers in a small club, being the the midst of FEAR riot in downtown L.A., watching Grand Master Flash at the Palace, to catching Love and Rockets on their first tour in the U.S.

Yeah, I was that guy who was suspended for sneaking out of class to go stand in the line to get tickets for The Who (with the Clash opening) and swore he would never wash his cheek after Suzanne Hoffs (from the Bangles)
Jun 25, 2011 Bunnyhugger1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews, read-2011, music
Update 2
I've just finished reading my copy of the US edition which covers a lot of ground despite being 200 pages shorter than the original UK version. Simon Reynolds gives a detailed account of this time period and is enjoyably opinionated which made the text less dry than it could have been. Inevitably, I found some chapters more interesting than others, and felt that he gave some genres too much attention while overlooking others (although this may have been affected by the cuts to this editi
Wes Freeman
Dec 03, 2008 Wes Freeman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book divided between the underground and mainstream bands of the post-punk era/ethos. Most of 'em are British. I once saw a Yardbirds' documentary where former 'birds guitarist Eric Clapton said, "I just don't think you can start a band on a drawing board." Here is 400 pages of bands that did; highly conceptual bands, all of which seem to have wandered in through the doors punk opened, none of which seem to sound like Eric Clapton. If punk was the Year Zero (author maintains it's not) then these ...more
Scott Holstad
Aug 29, 2013 Scott Holstad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an exhausting book to read, in part, because the author was so exhaustive in his research and, thus, the book is a thorough overview of British, and to a lesser extent, American post-punk rock. It's also a strangely intellectual book, and at times, it felt like I was reading a modern history textbook.

Early on, Reynolds discusses the demise of punk and the (odd) opinion that The Sex Pistols' "Never Mind the Bollocks" actually signaled the end of punk -- not the height of its glory. He sh
Jan 01, 2008 Autumn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Americans who listen to BBC6, teenagers who like Bloc Party
Shelves: anglophilia
This incredibly detailed, but very readable, history of the late 70s/early 80s British music scene is a revelation. Simon Reynolds covers all the important (and obscure) postpunk bands and creates a coherent narrative from it. Do you want to know about the leftist roots of Scritti Politti? Does it delight you to know that Echo and the Bunnymen were incredibly scornful of U2 because they were both trying to attract bereft Joy Division fans? Do you want to know exactly how industrial music was inv ...more
Aug 19, 2013 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Punk has gotten too many histories and This Band could be your Life gave a history of the American Post hardcore, but my favorite moment in the history has been relatively undocumented until Reynold’s brilliant book. The collision of some of my favorite literature (Kafka, Ballard, Burroughs, New Worlds Science fiction), and music (Krautrock, Roxy Music, Bowie, Captain Beefheart, dub reggae, Parliament/Funkadelic,) the energy and DIY aspects of punk, and the pessimistic political situation of the ...more
Mar 05, 2009 Jesse rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: them, him
It would have been easier to read this as it was originally published (serially by chapter and illustrated with photos). Reading the thing through, I was bored by the chapters that focused exclusively or primarily on musicians. The sections that gave a more balanced insight into the workings of the management/artist/journalist triumvirate were more successful, particularly the chapter on ZTT and those that dealt with Malcolm McLaren's various projects.

P.S. I have heard that the UK edition is il
Sara Cervantes
Aug 21, 2013 Sara Cervantes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lucid and entertaining accounts of the various musical subgenres, ideological movements, albums, and people who populated post-punk. Exhaustive in scope and well-organized, despite the messily overlapping genres, bands, and movements of the period. Essential reading for anyone who wonders what happened in music and culture between the self-combustion of the Sex Pistols and the rise of Nirvana (1977 - 1984). Reynolds, as a music journalist, comes across as extremely knowledgeable while retaining ...more
Gregarious cline
Jun 05, 2013 Gregarious cline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: elizabeth mollo, joe nozemack, thomas gage
Easily one of the best music books ever written. Fascinating, detailed and insightful look at evolution of the indie music scene that happened as a direct result of Punk rock's DIY shattering of musical conduct and mindset (from 1978 until 1984. I love Reynolds assessment that this was the year that bands stopped looking unabashedly forward in their vision and started looking backwards for nostalgic inspiration i.e. Paisley Underground etc...).
Like Last Night a DJ Saved My Life, I will reread th
Sep 22, 2015 Debra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Books about rock and roll are not supposed to be boring. Especially not books about these bands - some of my favourite bands, bands I carried around third-hand cassette tape copies of their lost albums all throughout my teenage years. But somehow this book manages to take this anarchic crew and give them - all of them - The Rock Journalist Treatment. So, every chapter is a formula: band forms, plays some shows, maybe founds its own record label, puts out a record or two, songs from said record o ...more
Kelsey Haddorff
Aug 14, 2015 Kelsey Haddorff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never write reviews on here but I feel that this book is worth a review. I've always been a fan of music but never before have I been pushed to look so deeply into it. Reynolds reveals that music, which I often have just considered to be a hobby or interest of mine that wasn't necessarily that important, can actually be just as interesting and intellectually engaging as any other form of art (literature, painting, theory/criticism). The period in music covered in this book is often overlooked, ...more
Feb 28, 2015 Roxy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[Vague spoiler imminent !]

Starting with the last dregs of spark in punk as it was mutating either towards generic dross or experimental genius, "Rip It Up..." is a superb compilation of tales of the exciting musical and cultural period of 1978-1984.

One of the most interesting things about the post-punk movement is that it wasn't centred around just one or two cities - it happened in many places, and each city had its own unique scene. Each chapter documents different scenes within different resp
Feb 24, 2015 Howard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although it took me eight months to finish this book, reading it on and off, I rate it as excellent and thoroughly enjoyed it (apart from chapter 20 about the New York scene, which, for some reason, is structured in the form of snippets of interviews, and left me completely cold).

The post-punk period itself is fascinating. I caught just the tail end of it. Its legacy continued into the mid and late 1980s, when I used to read Simon Reynolds’ articles in Melody Maker. Whereas his writing then tend
Khris Sellin
Jun 08, 2012 Khris Sellin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me FOREVER to finish this book, only because I was having such a great time going back & forth between it and YouTube to listen to some of the old favorites from the postpunk era, and some I'd never even heard of before. Lots of interesting stories and great insights about how some of these bands came together and what was going on behind the scenes and their "philosophies" about music and art, etc. So much fun going down memory lane!
Oct 28, 2015 Robby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think that Reynolds almost went too broad in his history. Whereas a book like ENGLAND'S DREAMING only covered about a year or so, this covers almost a decade and the rise of several genres (not just post-punk, but also industrial, goth, New Romantic, and the U2-esque stadium rock). Reynolds has clearly done his research and unearths some interesting connections between bands and the art world, but his scattershot approach does a disservice to some bands who became most interesting outside of t ...more
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U.K. Version 2 17 Nov 04, 2012 07:57PM  
  • Ranters and Crowd Pleasers: Punk in Pop Music, 1977-1992
  • From the Velvets to the Voidoids: A Pre-Punk History for a Post-Punk World
  • England's Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond
  • No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980.
  • We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk
  • Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records, the Indie Label That Got Big and Stayed Small
  • Turn the Beat Around: The Secret History of Disco
  • Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991
  • Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader
  • Goodbye 20th Century: A Biography of Sonic Youth
  • Punk Rock: An Oral History
  • Passion Is a Fashion: The Real Story of the Clash
  • Facing the Other Way: The Story of 4AD
  • The Dark Stuff: Selected Writings On Rock Music
  • Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital
  • Head On/Repossessed
  • Bass Culture: When Reggae Was King
  • Margrave Of The Marshes
Simon Reynolds is one of the most respected music journalists working today, and his writing is both influential and polarizing. He draws on an impressive range of knowledge, and writes with a fluid, engaging style. His books Rip it Up and Start Again and Generation Ecstasy are well-regarded works about their respective genres, and RETROMANIA may be his most broadly appealing book yet. It makes an ...more
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