Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to its Own Past

Front Cover
Faber & Faber, Jun 2, 2011 - Art - 496 pages

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 cultural-ecological 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?

What people are saying - Write a 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

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - TheAmpersand - LibraryThing

Fittingly, there's a lot in "Retromania" that will strike many readers as pretty familiar. Reynolds engages in some righteous boomer-hating, asking if we'll ever be free of sixties-era musicians and ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2011)

Simon Reynolds is the author of Energy Flash: A Journey through Rave Music and Dance Culture, Blissed Out: The Raptures of Rock, The Sex Revolts: Gender Rebellions and Rock and Roll (co-written with Joy Press), Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 and, most recently, Bring The Noise: Twenty Years of Hip Hop and Hip Rock.

Bibliographic information