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Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980s Paperback – April 15, 2014


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Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980s + VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (April 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419710974
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419710971
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Holy Human League! Mad World professes to not be a definitive history of New Wave, but its authors could've fooled me. Every fantastic detail of the era pops back to life via the vivid tales of its top titans, from Adam Ant to Kajagoogoo (that's right! Kajagoogoo!). Getting lost in story after story made me never want to return to the world of twerking, texting and soy lattes. Come on, Eileen — can't we just whip it good forever?"
(Ian Drew, Entertainment Director, Us Weekly)

Mad World is an exhaustive, revelatory history of one of the most important eras of modern pop music. Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein lived it, breathed it, and loved it — and make you want to relive it all over again. In a word: awesome.”
(Shirley Halperin, Music Editor, The Hollywood Reporter)

"Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein take us behind the hairspray and eyeliner to reveal the inside stories of the songs that defined an often-overlooked era — tales of inspiration, ambition, tension, and, of course, hairspray and eyeliner.”
(Alan Light, former Editor-in-Chief, Spin and VIBEmagazines)

“Here it is—the whole glossy, gory, glorious story of the 1980s new wave revolution, in one addictive chapter after another. These are the artists who lived it all out, whether it’s Duran Duran making the “Girls on Film” video or Kim Wilde finally explaining the “East California” enigma. Mad World captures the wild enthusiasm of the moment, evoking a time of perfect songs, innovative style, and lipstick cherry all over the lens.”
(Rob Sheffield contributing editor to Rolling Stone and author of Talking to Girls About Duran Duran)

“If you thrill to the sight of the MTV flag waving on the moon, if camera-click sounds make your heart skip a beat in anticipation of Duran Duran’s “Girls On Film,” and you know precisely what killed the radio star, then you’ll melt with Mad World! Interviews with artists (Adam Ant, Kim Wilde, Howard Jones, Morrissey!) provide inside scoop on the MTV Generation hits we love.”
(Martha Quinn co-author of VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave and DJ, SiriusXM)

“Remember the feeling you had in your youth, when you’d meet a stranger who had your obscure favorite band’s pin on their jacket? Reading Mad World feels exactly like that, except your new friend is charming, much smarter than you, shockingly well connected, and ready to dish. My one problem with the book is my one problem with the New Wave era: that it had to end.” 
(Dave Holmes New York Magazine's Vulture and former MTV VJ)

Mad World is an exhaustive, revelatory history of one of the most important eras of modern pop music. Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein lived it, breathed it, and loved it—and make you want to relive it all over again. In a word: awesome.”
(Shirley Halperin Music Editor, Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter)

“Co-authors Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein interviewed all of the bands and uncovered many tidbits that blew my mind. I called Lori to reminisce about the ’80s—and dang, I’d love to have 12 more conversations with her, because we didn't even touch upon INXS or Depeche Mode.”
(USA Today's Pop Candy Blog)

“The book tells the tale of some of the decade’s most unforgettable songs . . . in fascinating detail, letting the architects of these memorable records shine a light on how the sound of a generation came to be.”
(The Hollywood Reporter Online)

“In the book Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980s, journalists Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein interviewed some of the most memorable musicians of the genre to find out how it came to be.”
(New York Post)

“Many tomes about Rock and Roll exist, but Mad World is one of the first to give artists from the 1980s another day in the sun.”
(The Huffington Post)

“If you miss the days when the world was made of mesh and lace, you’ll want to check out Mad World . . . hugely entertaining.”
(RollingStone.com)

“While Mad World is a must-have for the formerly frosted bangs set, it serves as a useful primer for anyone curious about the oft-maligned new wave era.”
(The Los Angeles Review of Books)

“A really informative and insightful read.”
(People.com)

“It’s a book that pays due to an overlooked generation.”
(Adam Ant)

“I want to plug a book that I have nothing to do with but that I’m reading and loving and recommending to friends. It’s called Mad World. If you’re a big fan of 80s new wave music, they take all of those songs, and each chapter is a behind-the-scenes about the song, like “Come On Eileen,” “Take on Me,” [“True” by] Spandau Ballet. I am fascinated by this book.”
(Gary Dell'Abate, aka Baba Booey executive producer of the Howard Stern Show, on the post-Stern Wrap Up show)

“As a good overview of new wave, this title should appeal to a wide audience of pop music lovers.”
(Library Journal)

About the Author

Lori Majewski was a cofounder and editor-in-chief of Teen People. She was also an executive editor of Entertainment Weekly and Us Weekly. She lives in Weehawken, New Jersey.
 
Jonathan Bernstein is a Los Angeles–based writer. He is the author of, among other titles, Pretty In Pink: The Golden Age of Teenage Movies, and has contributed to publications such as The Guardian, Spin, Rolling Stone, and The Face.

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Customer Reviews

Update: I have finished reading the book.
N. Ying
It is not sugarcoated and full of self-deprecating and sarcastic comments, along with praise to the artist as well.
David Reid
If you are a fan of the 80's New Wave, by all means, snatch this gem.
Mike

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Elisa Lorello on April 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was honored to be given an advanced copy of MAD WORLD, and I wasn't disappointed.

MAD WORLD is more than a mixtape for a generation—it’s the story of a period of musical innovation, told by the musicians themselves and put into perspective by two of many whose lives were set to its soundtrack. Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein perfectly blend credibility, humor, style, and nostalgia as they present over thirty songs that changed the pop musical landscape in the early-mid 1980s. Each song is accompanied by first-person reflections from the artists who made them, including their origins, triumphs and tragedies, and present-day contexts. Better yet, Majewski and Bernstein provide the reader with recommended playlists to accompany each song (like pairing the best wines with each course of a meal), which will have readers scrambling to their iTunes or dusting off their vinyl records.

By the end of each chapter of MAD WORLD, the songs stuck in my head, and in a good way. One mention of WLIR (from Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes, no less!) sent me back to my bedroom on Long Island, where I had kept my stereo programmed to the radio station mostly responsible for introducing me to many of these bands (MTV and my friends did the rest). As the sister of professional musicians, I appreciate the elite production, the breakthrough synthesizer technology, and the musical influences that proceeded them, ranging from the Beatles to Bowie to Chic to the Sex Pistols. They still serve as the soundtrack to my life, and especially to my writing.

The visual presentation of MAD WORLD is just as appealing as its textual content.
Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Tekkrokk on April 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a well written "compilation" of some of the best 80's new wave singles. The authors made a smart decision to avoid a broad history of new wave, and instead provided "snapshots" of some of the best songs of its genre. Some of the songs were one-hit wonders, others were the most recognizable tracks in the artist's careers. Although there were a few questionable song choices ("Being Boiled" instead of "Don't You want Me",, and Depeche Mode's "New Life"), this was obviously due to certain artists being unavailable (or declining) to be interviewed. There were also some notable absences like The Cure, Alphaville, and Siouxsie & the Banshees. With that said, the book brought back many fond memories for this former WLIR listener. I'm hoping that this is the first book in a series!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By David Reid on April 16, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I received the book yesterday and ended up losing sleep last night due to reading half the book. i.e. I couldn't put it down. Its an interesting read and well done. Great job to the authors! It is not sugarcoated and full of self-deprecating and sarcastic comments, along with praise to the artist as well. I like it. I'm in a 80s New Wave cover band ( velcrolove.com ) and it was interesting to see the original artist comments on the songs. We all have our own interpretations of the music of 80s new wave and those who were in the dance clubs and listened to college radio during that time knew this style of music has staying power. Great job again on publishing this book. I recommend it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brian Greenspan on April 28, 2014
Format: Paperback
I can't believe how much I am so thoroughly enjoying this book. Each chapter is just such a pleasure to read, and the chapters on the groups I don't care for are often the most interesting. The book is like a box of assorted chocolates: you know you're gonna eat 'em all, so you pick 'em greedily one at a time. "I think I'll try Howard Jones. Mmmm! Let's see, how about The Normal next? Delicious!" Each chapter is filled with just such interesting material; Lori M. really outdid herself. Her interviews whisk you into the culture, jar you at times, and above all, compel you to run to your nearest media player so you can listen to the songs being discussed. If you enjoy this era of music, you will enjoy this book. It's that simple. I was having lunch in a cafe the other day reading the Tears for Fears chapter, and Corey Hart "Never Surrender" came on the radio. Between the book's layout, the chapter I was reading, and the music in the room, I swear I was suddenly 14 again, reading a "new, 1985" 300pg. issue of Smash Hits.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nicolas Lacroix on April 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well researched, fun, fascinating book that will instantly bring you back to the 80's (mostly for the good parts... and yes there were many). Although the authors' aim is not to pen a definitive, thorough history of the musical genre, that is more or less what they achieve nonetheless.

The similarly-themed playlists are a great addition.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ouida herriford on April 25, 2014
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I love this book. I saw the advertisement on the Adam Ant facebook fan page and thought "Had to have it". I got the book on tuesday and almost done with it today (Friday). This book covers the era and music that i grew up with in High School. And the World Famous KROQ is the station i listened to in Southern Cali. Excellent book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steven Bakos on June 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Engaging, honest and insightful. I'm hoping for a second book to feature some other influential bands that were not included in this edition.
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