Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past

Retromania Pop Culture s Addiction to Its Own Past We live in a pop age gone loco for retro and crazy for commemoration Band re formations and reunion tours expanded reissues of classic albums and outtake crammed box sets remakes and sequels tribut

  • Title: Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past
  • Author: Simon Reynolds
  • ISBN: 9780571232086
  • Page: 149
  • Format: Paperback
  • We live in a pop age gone loco for retro and crazy for commemoration Band re formations and reunion tours, expanded reissues of classic albums and outtake crammed box sets, remakes and sequels, tribute albums and mash ups But what happens when we run out of past Are we heading toward a sort of culturalecological catastrophe where the archival stream of pop historyWe live in a pop age gone loco for retro and crazy for commemoration Band re formations and reunion tours, expanded reissues of classic albums and outtake crammed box sets, remakes and sequels, tribute albums and mash ups But what happens when we run out of past Are we heading toward a sort of culturalecological catastrophe where the archival stream of pop history has been exhausted Simon Reynolds, one of the finest music writers of his generation, argues that we have indeed reached a tipping point, and that although earlier eras had their own obsessions with antiquity the Renaissance with its admiration for Roman and Greek classicism, the Gothic movement s invocations of medievalism never has there been a society so obsessed with the cultural artifacts of its own immediate past Retromania is the first book to examine the retro industry and ask the question Is this retromania a death knell for any originality and distinctiveness of our own

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    About " Simon Reynolds "

  • Simon Reynolds

    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 argument about art, nostalgia, and technology that has implications for all readerswhether diehard music fans or not Its an important and provocative look at the present and future of culture and innovation.

  • 164 Comments

  • 5 stars doesn't mean I agree with everything Reynolds says about retro and the state of contemporary music - instead I agree with Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) whom he interviews extensively, and who speculates about music having shifted from ‘its Renaissance period of recording’ (i.e. the last hundred years) and entering a period of ‘evaluation’ and reprocessing. ‘If music is recessing into some kind of archival period, I don’t think it’s bad. It’s just natural.’ I th [...]


  • I think "Retromania" is the best music book of the 21st Century so far. But of course I am not including the great rock n' roll memoirs, but just talking about "music books" as a cultural thing. And this is a very important book to me, with respect to how music fans react to pop in general. If you are like me, a long term fan of pop music and its trends, and you are middle-aged, one thing comes to mind. There is nothing new happening in contemporary music. In fact its a shocking fact. If i get a [...]


  • Though the subtitle of this book refers to "pop culture's addiction to its own past," it's really about 95% about music. Mileage may vary depending on how interested in music the reader is, but I would recommend this without hesitation to anyone with even a general interest in the arts or culture (everyone, probably?). The one caveat would be to skip section two, which essentially catalogs selected musical genres/styles and the various retro tendencies of same, and which was slow going even for [...]


  • With some editing, this would easily have been a five-star book. The subtitle is a little inaccurate. It's really about pop music. Other aspects of popular culture are introduced, but only by way of making points about the relentless recycling of ideas in current vernacular music. Reynolds is an astute thinker with astonishing rock and roll erudition and a terrific prose style - he manages a tone that successfully combines academic respectability and hipster elan. I told a friend I was reading R [...]


  • Simon Reynolds defines his modernist aesthetic as a "belief that art has some kind of evolutionary destiny, a teleology that manifests itself through genius artists and masterpieces that are monuments to the future." For me, that simultaneously asks too much and too little from pop, but Reynolds' previous books, where he's argued for the importance of that aesthetic in driving post-punk and electronic music forward, have encouraged me to pay attention to music that I may under-appreciate.Here, t [...]


  • 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.Having been born in '78 and become a music fan/fanatic/know it all in my teens, most contemporary music has always been recombinant and more aware of its past than its future, but Reynolds is right in saying that that mode has become more total and more acceptable in the last decade.Previously Reynolds' books have se [...]


  • Or really, 3.5 stars. Reynolds is a very good writer, and a very good thinker on music and popular culture. Here, he tackles the current state of pop music: pop is essentially eating itself, digging into the past and endlessly recycling old tropes rather than coming up with something new. Some don't see a problem with this state of affairs; Reynolds laments it.The book is knee-deep in examples of this kind of recycling, so much so that it almost becomes simply another cog in the retromanic machi [...]


  • I really did not like this book. I wanted to. Many of the points that the author was attempting to make had solid foundations in truth and reality. However, I was disappointed by the fact that the book makes well-worn “Old Man” arguments that I’ve heard a million times and that disappoint every time I hear them. He makes the familiar argument that the internet is degrading the value and quality of music by deemphasizing the album and separating the aural from the physical. He accuses all o [...]


  • In my youth i was reading Melody Maker, NME, Sounds, Rolling Stone and nearly every book i could get on the topic of Pop/Rock-Music. Sometimes i was reading so much about it that i got to make room for the books and mags; names like Lester Bangs, Greil Marcus, Roy Carr, Ingeborg Schober or Franz Schöler were the writers who brought me to the right albums and artists. But after the 80s it seemed to me that the change of the music and the media in the 90s reduced the importance of the written cri [...]


  • Thought provoking and trivia-studded exploration of retro culture from Simon Reynolds, who I'd count as one of the most intelligent and considered music writers. I mean intelligent without descending into the florid, convoluted self-indulgence that makes some music writers borderline unintelligible. Naming no names (PAUL MORLEY cough cough). Occasionally this was very smart, but it peaked with the prologue and intro and was a bit conflicted thereafter. This End Of Dayz mentality that assumes no- [...]


  • I'm not 100% convinced by Reynolds' arguments. He makes the case that pop has been eating itself perfectly well, but he didn't convince me it's bad. This was, however, a great history lesson, and I discovered some new-to-me music, so it gets back one of the stars it would have otherwise lost 8)


  • I see rose-tinted glasses on the cover. Presumably, these are meant to convey the effect nostalgia has on us, barring out the bad times, remembering the good, and even remembering the bad as good. But to me, they represent Reynolds himself, a man who - I ultimately think - projects his own jadedness about pop music onto the scene as a whole. He admits as much at the end - that he misses the feeling of newness in music. And while he makes various interesting arguments and analyses, I think the la [...]


  • Even if I didn't agree with the author all the time, this book was fun to engage with. There are a lot of interesting points brought up regarding the evolution of modern music and the changes in the way we consume it (and how this feeds back into the music itself.) Part of what makes this book work so well is that Simon Reynolds is so knowledgeable. Knowing his writing mainly from his excellent earlier book, Rip It Up And Start Again, about the late 70s early 80s post punk scene, I wasn't expect [...]


  • Difficult to review, this one. Reynolds is obviously an intelligent author with a lot to say on the subject. 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). Or connected these dots. He does in a well written manner and comes to the conclusion that the noughties were a decade where nothing new happened, musically. He calls it a situation [...]


  • Very timely book tackling some big issues in culture, technology and society today. In fact, it is as much a book about the technology as it is about pop music. The questions of medium / message pops up very heavily and illustrates some of the discussions in the likes of Carr or Lanier.The second half of the book slacks somewhat. Partly because it loses bit of a balance. Good thing is that he comes up with an interesting critique of sample-based music. But you feel that he just pours too much sc [...]


  • Ich habe gefühlt noch nie so lange an einem Buch herumgekaut, wie an diesem. Nach über einem Monat habe ich das Namedrop-Dauertrommelfeuer des Hrn. Reynolds nun überstanden.Wirklich gefallen und angesprochen hat mich dabei eigentlich nur der Teil 3 "Morgen" und da insbesondere Kapitel 10 "Die Geister der vergangenen Zukunft - Sampling, Hauntology und Mashups". In diesem Kapitel arbeitet er recht gut den Begriff "Hauntology" auf und geht auf aktuelle Strömungen wie Chillwave ein.Besonders gen [...]


  • As a 22 year old man I may not seem like the target audience for this book. But its premise seemed interesting enough that I'd pick it up for my Kindle (which is decorated with Apple stickers defaced with slogans I believe in, Banksy and Beatles Yellow Submarine stickers because desecrating the slick digital items of today is punk rock maaannn).It's a decent analysis of where pop music is headed, and considering I don't like much auto tuned atrocities hurled at us from the radio like those damn, [...]


  • One of the best books on music I've ever read by one of the finest writers on the subject around today. Reynolds manages to weave an exhaustive and comprehensive narrative around practically all areas of popular and alternative music of the past 50-60 years, connecting the dots from doo-wop to dubstep to paint a pretty 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.This i [...]


  • Clear eyed, depressing overview of the current situation in popular music and pop culture altogether. I had to read this book because I've been thinking and feeling that pop culture is in the doldrums for years now, so I was very interested to get Simon Reynolds take on it. I thought Rip it up and Start Again was superb and this book confirms Reynolds as my favourite music writer since Lester Bangs. He points to phenomena such as endless re-issues, classic bands reforming and the wholesale recyc [...]


  • This is a rare example of too much information, not enough theory. Reynolds' knowledge is certainly expansive; he takes the reader on a cultural tour of every backward-looking music fad from the 1950s until 2005. It's interesting for about 150 pages, and then it starts to feel like he's just showing off; it's a lot of detail without a lot of direction. He seems principally concerned with cataloging so-called 'Retromania' (which is ironic, considering his disdainful dismissal of pop culture 'cura [...]


  • Another weighty dredging into recent and not-so-recent pop-culture by Simon Reynolds. Quite enjoyable a read although I did find some of his Analogue vs Digital arguments a bit well 'bullshit' and also his tendency to overplay the 'newness and originality' of his favourite genres. (ie according to Reynolds Grime and Dubstep are the only non-retro genres of the 2000sm then why does Dubstep just sounds like slow drum and bass Otherwise it was quite a thoughtful stab at understanding the role of re [...]


  • Simon Reynolds is probably my favourite music critic, and this book doesn't disappoint. Or rather it does, but not because of its writing but it's central thesis: music is eating its own past rather than forging into the future Reynolds writing is exhilarating and erudite though, full of references to music and other art-forms. A self-confessed 'modernist' he still believes cultural theory can be cool, and he proves it (again) here.


  • Una lectura importantísima para entender la experiencia social en relación con la música que describe procesos sociales que explican la supervivencia de una pieza, artísta o género y suelta líneas a seguir de la experiencia de todos como consumidores de música "ajena" a nuestro tiempo. Una joya.


  • My favorite music writer puts his thoughts on shuffle. I don't feel, when I read simon Reynolds, as if I'm reading grand pronouncements, but rather just theories and thoughts and conversation starters. And I learn more about music than I could have ever imagined.



  • se qualcuno cerca qui il reynolds storico musicale di "post punk" o "energy flash" ha sbagliato libro: qui c'è il reynolds giornalista a prendere il controllo. e scrivo "giornalista" e non "giornalista musicale" perchè se è vero che la musica è l'argomento principale del libro la mentalità descritta è diffusa anche in altri ambiti. l'oggetto è lo stato della musica (sia dei musicisti, sia degli ascoltatori) adesso, il suo guardarsi continuamente indietro, l'ansia di "archiviare" tutto, il [...]


  • The title here is misleading. It’s not really about pop culture, but about pop music.All in all, this was an interesting read about the nature of retro in music. It’s all wrapped up in a little bit of a “back in my day/technology is teh devil” bitching but still a solid study on how the past and technology have changed music over the years.(But, for real, what is the author’s problem with Jack White and the White Stripes in particular?)


  • I dissagree with some of the other commenters, who give bad rating. Maybe it's not for everyone, sometimes the text is quite intricate, but all in all there are some very interesting insights and also there are so many interesting historical facts, connections, etc. that I would say it's worth to be read.At the end the book leaves you with a kind of depressing feeling (at least it was for me) but that is good, I guess, because what author says most likely is truth.


  • Music critic Simon Reynolds is perhaps best-known for his coining of the term, “post-rock.” He is also regarded for his incorporation of critical theory in his analysis of music. His 2011 book, Retromania was my first encounter with his writing. “I recently read Simon Reynolds’ Retromania and it was so spot-on as far as our current attitude to music and its history. For my money he’s one of the most intelligent music writers in the last two decades” — DJ FoodRetromania turned out t [...]


  • Il libro di musica più bello e stimolante che io abbia mai letto.Simon Reynolds ha una visione ampia, una passione che trasmette sinceramente, fa critica culturale e filosofia restando un eccellente divulgatore.Libro eccezionale.


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