Retromania Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past
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?
Could it be that the greatest danger to the future of our music culture is ... its past?
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.