Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Jul 19, 2011 - Music - 496 pages

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?

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - arewenotben - LibraryThing

4.5 - Reread of this. Reynolds goes a little too much into music nerddom at times and parts are slightly dated now, but this is still an excellent piece of academic yet highly accessible work. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - KateSherrod - LibraryThing

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) Read full review

Contents

Part Two Then
181
Part Three Tomorrow
309
Acknowledgements
429
Bibliography
431
Index
441
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About the author (2011)

Simon Reynolds is a music critic whose writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Village Voice, Spin, Rolling Stone, and Artforum. He is the author of five previous books, including Rip It Up and Start Again.

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