Retromania by Simon Reynolds
Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past

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Synopsis

One of The Telegraph’s Best Music Books 2011  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 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?
 

About Simon Reynolds

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Simon Reynolds writes about music and popular culture for the "New York Times", "ArtForum", the "Observer", and "Melody Maker", and is the author of "Blissed Out: The Raptures of Rock".
 
Published July 19, 2011 by Faber & Faber. 497 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Retromania

Kirkus Reviews

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Noting that “there has never been a society in human history so obsessed with the cultural artifacts of its own immediate past,” Reynolds (Bring the Noise: 20 Years of Writing About Hip Rock and Hip Hop, 2011, etc.) offers cogent examples of the “lame and shameful” retromania in pop music, includ...

Jul 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Retromania: Pop Culture's Add...

The New York Times

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Simon Reynolds laments how pop culture feeds on its own history, borrowing from a past that is ever more immediate.

Aug 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Retromania: Pop Culture's Add...

The Guardian

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The book is not a lament for a loss of quality music – it's not like the well-springs of talent have dried up or anything – but it registers alarm about the disappearance of a certain quality in music: the "never heard this before" sensation of ecstatic disorientation caused by music that seems t...

Jun 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Retromania: Pop Culture's Add...

The Guardian

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How did you come to write Retromania?One day I realised that there was something strange going on in terms of rock and its relationship to its own past.

Apr 10 2012 | Read Full Review of Retromania: Pop Culture's Add...

The Guardian

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When he discusses Italian Futurist notions of total rejection of the past he concludes: "Maybe forgetting is as essential in culture as it is existentially and emotionally necessary for individuals."

May 27 2011 | Read Full Review of Retromania: Pop Culture's Add...

The Guardian

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Pop music, even though sales of vinyl and cassettes are going up, is less likely to exist in material form.

May 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Retromania: Pop Culture's Add...

The Wall Street Journal

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Or at least popular music: This book's subtitle is "Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past," but it focuses almost exclusively on music, paying scant attention to vastly more popular genres, including television, the movies or videogames (not to mention advertising).

| Read Full Review of Retromania: Pop Culture's Add...

The Wall Street Journal

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Michael Azerrad reviews "Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past."

| Read Full Review of Retromania: Pop Culture's Add...

The Wall Street Journal

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Or at least popular music: This book's subtitle is "Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past," but it focuses almost exclusively on music, paying scant attention to vastly more popular genres, including television, the movies or videogames (not to mention advertising).

Jul 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Retromania: Pop Culture's Add...

AV Club

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In his latest book, Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction To Its Own Past, veteran music journalist Simon Reynolds doesn’t limit his field of inquiry as neatly as he did in previous histories like Rip It Up And Start Again (post-punk) and Generation Ecstasy (raves).

Aug 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Retromania: Pop Culture's Add...

The Telegraph

Putting aside the question of whether new necessarily means better (music, after all, has been around since the dawn of time, and pop serves many more functions than providing novelty and excitement), Reynolds doesn’t seem particularly interested in what young people are actually listeni...

Jun 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Retromania: Pop Culture's Add...

Time Out New York

Elaborating on an afterthought that originated in his postpunk history, Rip It Up and Start Again, hyperanalytical cultural critic Simon Reynolds detects a "shameful" nostalgic trend in today's pop culture in his new book Retromania.

Aug 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Retromania: Pop Culture's Add...

The Weekly Standard

He is a critic of music, primarily engaged with the music itself: what it sounds like, what it’s made of, where it comes from, and, especially here, where it’s going (or not going).

Jun 11 2012 | Read Full Review of Retromania: Pop Culture's Add...

http://www.lareviewofbooks.org

Reynolds came into prominence in the mid-1980s as a writer for the music weekly Melody Maker, mostly focused on underground rock music, and writing "with a mix of scholarly scrupulousness and fan-boy enthusiasm," as the Guardian put it.

Jan 09 2012 | Read Full Review of Retromania: Pop Culture's Add...

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