21 April 2005
Written by Simon Reynolds
Published in 2005
From the publisher:
"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: postpunk bands like PiL, Joy Division, Gang of Four, Talking Heads, The Fall and Cabaret Voltaire, who dedicated themselves
to fulfilling punk's unfinished musical revolution. The postpunk groups were fervent modernists. Experimenting with electronics and machine rhythm
or adapting ideas from dub reggae and disco, they were totally confident they could invent a whole new future for music. Confronted by a time of
enormous dislocation, tension, and dread - the resurgence of the Far Right, the election of Thatcher and Reagan, and the final spasm of the Cold War
- the postpunks also tried to build an alternative culture with the birth of independent labels like Rough Trade, Factory, Mute and SST, and the
proliferation of the do-it-yourself ethos.
'Constant change' was the watchword of the postpunk era, with endless brilliant innovations not just in music but in lyrics, performance, style,
and design. This spirit continued and mutated with the New Pop of the early eighties - Human League, Adam Ant, ABC, Madness, Dexy's Midnight Runners,
Frankie Goes to Hollywood - all of whom originally came out of punk, but who playfully embraced glamour and video in order to propel their bright
ideas into the heart of the mainstream.
As a distinct epoch, 1978-84 rivals the sixties for the sheer amount of fabulous music created, the spirit of adventure and possibility that infused
it, and the way the sounds felt inextricably connected to the political and social turbulence of the day. In this, the first book to take a big
picture view of the entire postpunk period, Simon Reynolds, acclaimed author of Energy Flash, recreates a time of tremendous urgency and idealism
in pop music. Rip It Up and Start Again also offers a shadow history of the Thatcher-Reagan era, that massive backlash against the countercultural
sixties and the permissive seventies, in the process capturing the poignancy of a generation radicalised by punk only to find themselves struggling
against the grain of an increasingly conservative culture."