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Rip it Up and Start Again

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  6,963 ratings  ·  323 reviews
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 dedicated themselves to fulfilling punk's unfinished musical revolution. The post-punk groups were fervent modernists;
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Hardcover, First Edition, 577 pages
Published April 21st 2005 by Not Avail
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  6,963 ratings  ·  323 reviews


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Brandon
Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
David
Nov 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Paul
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Tracy Reilly
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So, this book probably was written for me. Those are my years, this is my music. I was a bit surprised at how differently this was written from the usual rock journalism stuff,usually full of that overly cute jargon, with the writer's personality in flamboyant display. Well in a monthly, vying for the short attention span of the audience, this is perhaps a necessary evil. Seminal!!!

This book, however, is presented in a less frenzied, leisurely pace. It tends to look at niches of time and place,
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Drew
Mar 18, 2008 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 ...more
Andrew
May 25, 2008 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Lily
Jun 18, 2009 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
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Paul
Mar 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Kate
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fuck! I loved it. Thank you, Simon Reynolds.

It is PACKED with an overwhelming amount of information. It encompasses so much and is written in a compelling way that left me often wishing I could have slowed down, exhibited more self-control, to listen to bands or just generally absorb a scene before tumbling into the next.

So comprehensive and vivid. Pointed me to so much great music, I watched the movie Kes, I want to read J.G. Ballard. Blah etc. I even enjoyed learning about disturbing little
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Jeni
Feb 15, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music-books
This book reads like an MA thesis. It reminds me of every boring man, boring on about music I am too young (or too female) to listen to. I got lost in a bit of the guitar/sound wankery but it was pretty cool to read about the shows. Part fanboy, part mansplainer (sorry not sorry) but it made me feel as if I should give up listening to music as nothing can be so good as the halcyon days of the post punk genre. Also, I was massively irked to find a bunch of quotes in place of stylised prose for ...more
J.S.
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
"I never bought old records during that period. Why would I have? There were so many new records to buy that there was simply no earthly reason to investigate the past." Simon Reynolds

Somewhere I heard that the music you're listening to when you're 14 years old is the music that you love the rest of your life. Well, I was 14 in the early eighties, and I'm still listening to that same music. While my friends were playing air guitar and air drums to the music of Journey, Boston, and REO
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Stephen McQuiggan
May 03, 2018 rated it liked it
How punk came to reinvent itself, to conform and deform. Whenever the bands speak for themselves the book becomes interesting, but otherwise it's more jargon than prose. It is hard to describe music in words, but this gets pretentious very quickly; irritatingly so. The author dismisses the likes of Crass whilst praising others for having less innovation. Scritti Politti take up far too much room here, way beyond their actual worth. It is clear that Reynolds loves the subject, I just wish he ...more
Harry McDonald
Giving this anything other than 5 stars feels like a cop out.
Agata
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Libby Greene
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
greatly enjoyed. i don’t read much music criticism or history, but i found the context and editorial input that simon reynolds employed here quite engaging— i learned a lot! my favorite way of reading this book was with my phone open to youtube, pulling up singles as he mentioned them and having an interactive soundtrack of the scenes/epochs as reynolds discussed them. definitely wiled away several very pleasurable and edifying mornings in this way. happy to have this book on my shelf for
future
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Eric
Mar 06, 2008 rated it liked it
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)
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Gabe
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 ...more
Ryan
Aug 18, 2009 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
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Alena Katarzyna K
Wonderfully covers everything from post-punk's birth out of the punk scene, all the way to its association with other genres such as new-wave and goth.

Provides a great in-depth analysis of what drove these musicians and fueled their music, such as the political climate of the time, their various creative philosophies, and the works of literature which inspired them (and often provided their band-names).

As a huge fan of all of these aforementioned genres I had a blast reading about about some of
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Bernard O'Leary
May 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's such a challenge to document the musical landscape after punk, which really was a cultural Year Zero, especially in the British alternative scene. Reynolds takes the correct (imho) approach here of breaking it into two sections: the immediate aftermath, with bands like PiL, Joy Division, Devon and others experimenting with futurism; and the early eighties explosion of new forms like goth, industrial, two-tone and the all-conquering New Pop, with Thatcher's re-election as a natural cultural ...more
Khris Sellin
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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!
Tosh
Oct 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.'
Amy
May 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, music
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.
Kiri
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music-history
Augh, I left this on an airplane and didn't get to finish it! But the part I managed to read was amazing, the sort of intellectual analysis of post-punk music that I never knew I wanted. Must obtain and finish reading at some point in the future!
J.T. Wilson
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great; too long and suffers from repetitive formula and "and this band on the other hand were like this" structure, but well-informed, well-researched and written by an obviously passionate author.
shannon
Jul 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
two chapters on scritti fucking politti vs. a measly four pages on mission of burma? seriously?
Greg Orme
Dec 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This went a lot more in-depth than I was expecting, but in the best way.
Baal Of
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steak-tartare
One of the best books about music I've read. Exhaustively researched, the huge amount of material is organized and presented with a structural narrative that helps expose the links between the amazingly disparate bands that were spawned during this time period, in the aftermath of punk. The one chapter I didn't like as much was chapter 20 about mutant disco and punk-funk, which was a series of extended quotes form various band members and producers; I preferred the regular prose of the rest of ...more
Jake
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the perspective of the author for his detailing of the UK postpunk scenes of which he had a bird’s eye view. I do feel, however, that aside from his chapter on New York’s No Wave scene, Simon Reynolds was either uninterested or uninformed about what was happening in America throughout this time period. An entire chapter about Wire ends with two paragraphs about Mission of Burma.

I get that he had to mention American bands for indie cred or whatever, but between that and the
...more
Hamish
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Very entertaining and thoughtful. Did a wonderful job of giving a greater sense of social and historical context for many records I've loved, as well as many I will be looking into. I think Reynolds falls a bit into the trap of viewing his youth (i.e. the time when he was most receptive to and excited about new things) as a kind of cultural golden age, and I found him to be a bit overly dismissive of what came before (e.g. punk) and what came after (I scoured my collection to confirm that, yes, ...more
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ALL IS LOVE : January Read: Rip it Up and Start Again by Simon Reynolds 19 25 May 07, 2019 12:23PM  
U.K. Version 2 20 Nov 04, 2012 07:57PM  

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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