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89 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book is cut!
A definitive history of post-punk has been long in coming. Though this may or may not be that definitive history (one book can't possibly fully address this fertile era), it is well worth a read.

True fans of post-punk should read this book, however they should read the UK version and not this shortened US version. Three chapters have been cut in their entirety...
Published on February 23, 2006 by Matt Bailey

versus
78 of 78 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rip Up the US Edition and Start Again
Don't make the mistake of buying the US version
Get the whole story and buy the UK version. It contains chapters on US bands on the SST label, 2nd Gen. Industrial bands (Foetus, Test Dept.) a very important part of the post-punk aural landscape.

Ironic (or maybe typical) that a book on the highly political post-punk era is as cut up and censored as the US...
Published on March 27, 2008 by MEK


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78 of 78 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rip Up the US Edition and Start Again, March 27, 2008
By 
MEK (city boy) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 (Paperback)
Don't make the mistake of buying the US version
Get the whole story and buy the UK version. It contains chapters on US bands on the SST label, 2nd Gen. Industrial bands (Foetus, Test Dept.) a very important part of the post-punk aural landscape.

Ironic (or maybe typical) that a book on the highly political post-punk era is as cut up and censored as the US edition is.

from Simon Reynold's blog:

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE UK AND US EDITIONS

* the chapter sequence is different from the UK version

* three chapters are cut for reasons of space: the Devoto/Subway Sect chapter; the Conform to Deform Second Wave of Industrial chapter; and the SST/Blasting Concept chapter

* two chapters compressed into one for reasons of space, the Goth chapter and the Glory Boys/Big Music chapter

* Timeline is absent for reason of space

* in the US edition, the Appendix on MTV and the Second British Invasion is folded into the chapter on New Pop's peak

* no illustrations in the US edition

* the Mutant Disco chapter is written up as proper historical prose in the US edition, as opposed to the oral history in the UK edition

* no bibliography in the US edition

I don't understand this "reason of space" explanation. Wonder if they cut out some words from the dictionary for "reason of space"?
Approximately 200 pages missing from the US edition.

Very Very Lame

Don't waste your money. Get the UK edition and skrew the US publishers.
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89 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book is cut!, February 23, 2006
By 
Matt Bailey (Northfield, MN) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 (Paperback)
A definitive history of post-punk has been long in coming. Though this may or may not be that definitive history (one book can't possibly fully address this fertile era), it is well worth a read.

True fans of post-punk should read this book, however they should read the UK version and not this shortened US version. Three chapters have been cut in their entirety and portions of other chapters have been cut or shortened. In total, the US version of the book is nearly 200 pages shorter.

The cover of the UK edition is also much cooler.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seems Great, September 22, 2006
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This review is from: Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 (Paperback)
Let me admit right up front that I am not a fan of 95% of the music chronicled in this book. But several of my friends are, so I thought I'd dip into it to see if it would make a nice gift. With that in mind, I read the one chapter that covers music I really love, the chapter about the rapid rise and fall of the 2-Tone ska movement. Those twenty pages were enough to convince me that Reynolds is best kind of music writer, able to write evocatively about the music itself while providing the social, economic, and political context for its creation. He hits the nail firmly on the head in his analysis of The Specials' songs as "cheerless" -- tying them to social-realist cinema and the bleak post-WWII concrete jungle of their native Coventry. Reynolds also does a nice job of describing the origins of ska, it's development in England, and rather complicated ties to the mod and skinhead subcultures. He's also brimming with details about the major bands and why it all fell apart so quickly. Two quibbles do present themselves. One is that some of the transitions are a bit choppy, and I later learned that the US edition I read is an abridged version of the UK edition (nowhere is this obviously stated on the US edition). Some 300+ pages were cut, which would explain some of the choppiness I found, and I have to say that I'll be buying the more expensive UK version for my friends. The second reservation I have with the book is the total lack of documentation. It's great to quote Dammers, Hall, Staple, and all these other musicians, but it would be nice to know where these quotes came from so that one could do follow-up reading or research -- there's not even a bibliography! These cavaets of abrdigement and referencing aside, this appears to be an excellent, well-written account of an overlooked era of music history and should stand as the definitive work for many years to come.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and Essential... Just Avoid the US Edition!, December 16, 2010
This review is from: Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 (Paperback)
Simon Reynolds' Rip it Up and Start Again is an engaging look at the British side of the collective of genres we call "post-punk": the dub reggae experimenters, the Burundi-beat-plundering New Romantics, the "angular" guitar-wielding do-it-yourselfers.

However, my purpose in writing this review is not to discuss the book. It suffices to say that despite the two-star review, this is really a four-star book, and is highly recommended to anyone with post-punk listening experience who wants to understand the sociopolitical, economic, and musical histories of post-punk. Instead my purpose of this review is to advise you against buying the US edition, since it is an abridged version of the longer (and more comprehensive) UK edition.

What's been cut from the US edition is a little over a hundred pages of material, including three complete chapters. Off the top of my head, there's a chapter on Magazine that got cut, a chapter on industrial music that got cut, and a chapter on the American SST scene that got cut. I'm also told, though I didn't get the chance to do the comparison myself, that there are bits and pieces of the chapters themselves that have been cut out of the US edition.

In short, don't be afraid to spend a couple extra bucks on the UK version for the complete experience.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant look at post-punk, but buy the UK version, November 3, 2007
Heard about this book in a review in Wire magazine, and my girlfriend kindly ordered the book from amazon.co.uk for me for Christmas. When the book came to the States it had lost about 200 pages and any sections on music that wasn't "as popular" on this side of the ocean. In the day of global information and the lowering of borders, this is just absurd. Buy the full book (a 5 star proposition), it's worth it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Post-Punk Encyclopedia, March 22, 2006
This review is from: Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 (Paperback)
"Rip It Up" is the rarest kind of rock and roll book: You are a smarter person for having read it. While reading about, say, Liquid Liquid, it became clear that I understand much better not just how popular music evolved but how popular culture itself was warped and evolving during the late seventies and early eighties.

If punk music represented the death of the popular music of the era (disco, easy listening, ELO-style orchestration)what would emerge in its wake? In short, what could possibly follow the "Blank Generation?" Reynolds book shows us the highs and lows of what emerged. In addition, he provides enough information on, for example, Thatcher-era Britain and how their musicians responed to it, to give the book some historical interest as well.

As such, I was surprised that the previous reviewer found Reynold's book to be anything less than definitive; it seems that every story Reynolds tells, from the evolution of Joy Division into New Order to (my favorite) the rise and fall of Postcard Records, is full of the kind of detail you practically would have to be in the studio to know. One hopes that after Reynolds' book certain bands (such as criminally neglected Feelies) will finally come back into print.

That aside, perhaps what I enjoy best is the level of detail within the book. "Rip It Up" (which covers some many bands and genres within this era of music) is the kind of resource you want to have around at all times for its reference material alone. If you are the kind of person that goes into a record shop with a pages-long list of albums to look for this is a must-have book.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Incomplete and flawed, October 7, 2010
As a general point I like the book and would recommend it. It's well written, although some of Reynold's ideas get repetitive. He is at times uncritical about the bands he discusses and has a tendency to overvalue unconventionality as a virtue in itself, the result of trying too hard to intellectualize the subject. But the book is informative about the bands he chooses to write about and the overall point about the richness of the music of this era is one I agree with.

However in a book that purports to be a comprehensive survey of the music of this era, there are some strange omissions. Bands such as the Clash, Blondie, the Police, the Jam, etc., all of which contributed to the "postpunk" music of this era, are essentially ignored. What is presented is instead an incomplete history. But in writing a history of a subject, be it a musical history or otherwise, an author does not just get a free pass in omitting key details. Rather the author must be held to account for these omissions and the good faith of the author questioned. In reading this book, it is therefore helpful to be aware that you are getting an incomplete story.

Which raises the question of why these omissions occurred. My initial suspicion, and one I still think is valid in part, is that Reynolds simply liked certain bands above others. This results in the standard fanboy favoritism that music writers seem prone to of crediting the bands they like while neglecting bands that they don't. Anyone familiar with Clinton Heylin's book on the US punk scene will recognize the symptoms.

Yet there seems also to be a deeper aspect to these omissions. Reynold's thesis after all is that while "punk" was allegedly backward-looking and negative, "postpunk" was forward looking and constructive. He wants to draw a sharp line between them. Yet the history of first wave "punk" bands, none of which embraced the label that the media was imposing upon them, belies such a simplistic view. Bands such as the Clash, Blondie, the Jam, etc., while starting out in varying degrees in a back to basics mode, quickly branched out to a wider spectrum of music, incorporating the same diverse elements that Reynolds identifies with "postpunk". The same could be said for a band Reynolds does discuss, the Talking Heads, although Reynolds insists that the Talking Heads were supposedly misfits in the NYC punk scene. (The degree to which Reynolds attempts to revisionistically remove supposedly "postpunk" bands like the Talking Heads and Suicide from the NYC punk scene to promote the supposed punk/postpunk distinction goes so far that when he discusses an early article about the NYC punk scene by James Wolcott that describes what that author perceives as a conservative impulse in the scene [specifically the attempt to reestablish rock as a communal activity and not as Reynolds implies a hidebound fidelity to rock traditionalism; later Reynolds without seeing the contradiction quotes Ana Magnuson lamenting the loss of a similar communal sense in the supposedly progressive NYC post-CBCBs scene], Reynolds falsely pretends that the article does not apply to the Talking Heads even though Walcott definitely includes them in his description and even quotes members of the Talking Heads in his article). Even the distinction that Reynolds starts his book with, the supposed distinction between the "punk" Sex Pistols and John Lydon's next band, the "postpunk" Public Image, Ltd., elides over the point that Lydon began formulating the music that became Public Image, Ltd. while the key lyricist for the supposedly regressive Sex Pistols. So too, didn't bands identified with postpunk, like Joy Division, start with a much more basic, "punk" sound? (The debt that many of the bands surveyed owe to punk is something they acknowledge outright on numerous occasions throughout the narrative).

What is presented here therefore is not so much a history but a history written to support a specific partisan view. This view is a revisionist history that seeks to downplay punk as Reynolds defines it while building up the "postpunk" bands that allegedly follow (and that coincidentally Reynolds just happens to like). This alternative history is that punk, narrowly defined, magically ended in 1978 with the demise of the Sex Pistols, and that the postpunk bands then "started over" from scratch. The purpose here is to deny "punk" any credit for what follows. Rather, as seen by Reynolds misrepresentation of the Wolcott article in what was the skeptical Village Voice, Reynolds is all too keen on equating punk with nostalgia. Yet putting aside that all music, including "postpunk", is derivative to some degree and therefore necessarily looks back (for example, postpunk bands did not exactly invent funk or dub or disco), wasn't the process by which the first wave punk bands sought to return to rock's essential roots and away from the mainstream (the alleged "looking back"), a necessary springboard to moving forward? Wasn't the experimentalism that emerged into music in the late 70s/early 80s the direct consequence of that initial act of wiping the slate clean and returning to fundamentals (the energy, rebelliousness and immediacy of early rock and roll) represented by punk? That bands that were at the forefront of "punk", those discussed and those ignored, would go on to experiment with funk, ska, disco, electronic music and so forth seems conclusive. [It's worth adding that the author Theo Cateforis in the recent book "Are We Not New Wave?" makes the insightful point that looking back past the immediate present to earlier sources and inspirations is not mere "nostalgia" as Reynold's believes, but is a much more creative position that involves the critical rejection of contemporary norms. If we see punk's taking inspiration from pre-1967 music sources as a critical and creative act, the same point I made here, then Reynold's seriously misunderstands the initial creative impetus for punk, and in doing so underestimates how punk and post-punk are actually interconnected].

The point is that punk in its origins was not merely negative, and the break from the mainstream reflected by the first wave "punk" bands, far from a negative and backward looking act, was actually a creative and constructive action, setting the stage for subsequent innovation which they themselves participated in. In trying to malign punk to bolster the importance of "postpunk"-just to give a sense of his motivations, while bands like the Clash and Blondie don't even make the index of the book, Reynolds seriously quotes that "noted authority" Nancy Spungen as to punk rock's alleged "true" meaning-Reynolds cannot refrain from distorting the early history of punk rock, artificially separating bands like the Talking Heads and Suicide from their punk association by ahistorically labeling them as "postpunk" while ignoring the Bohemian and experimental aspects of many of punks early practitioners. A particularly amusing example of this occurs in the chapter about No Wave where Reynolds discusses the disco leanings of some of the No Wave bands as a supposedly radical break from the earlier CBGBs bands, a potentially interesting theory if Blondie had not already recorded the Disco Song (later the hardly obscure Heart of Glass) in 1975! Just to focus on the NYC scene, the NYC punk scene was very diverse-again "punk" was a media invented label just as "postpunk" is-spanning bands as varied as the Dead Boys, the Talking Heads, Blondie, Patti Smith, Suicide, etc., and is resistant to overly glib efforts at generalization. What Reynolds refuses to acknowledge or cannot comprehend in his need to finely classify the music of the period was how organically interrelated "punk" and "postpunk" were, especially in NYC, to the point that distinguishing the two isn't meaningful or realistic and becomes a completely academic exercise. (An earlier book about the scene, Art After Midnight by Steven Hager, establishes this very effectively). Bands like the Contortions could not have existed without the independent rock scene that the first wave "punk" bands created and the independent, creative spirit they instilled it with at the onset. In fact those bands Reynolds identifies as postpunk were an extension of what those first wave bands started and would also continue, to the point that "postpunk" is on many levels a misnomer. Rather than a fractured scene, punk and postpunk, so-called, represented a single progression, interacting seamlessly in places like the Mudd Club, Hurrahs, TV Party, and yes, CBGBs, and the distinction that Reynolds wants the reader to perceive in writing off "punk" as he understands it (he seems to equate it to its hardcore variant) is not accurate. In actuality the supposedly simple demarcation between punk and what followed is not so easy to draw, and the omission of a number of bands gets less difficult to explain when it's recognized that these omitted bands, if included and seriously discussed, would play havoc with the thesis of the entire book. In that sense this history is not merely incomplete, but is substantially less thoughtful and honest than it should have been. By over-selling his argument while ignoring details that would complicate the narrative he wants to promote, Reynolds hurts his own credibility.

Finally, just to note an admittedly nitpicking point, Reynolds speculates that Madonna may have been inspired to use the phrase "Material Girl" from a statement by Ari Up of the Slits. Actually Madonna didn't write "Material Girl"; it was written by Peter Brown and Robert Rans. Whether they were inspired by the Slits I can't say. But trivial in isolation or not, it hints at a general carelessness with details that, as I've noted, can also be seen in his presentation of the larger themes of the book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book with only a few omissions...., April 14, 2006
This review is from: Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 (Paperback)
Wow, a book that actually means something! This has been quite an enjoyable read, picked it up last Monday and was finished by Thursday morning. Reynolds is quickly becoming my fave writer of the last ten years... he truly does his homework and included some fascinating interview snips and historical anecdotes that really makes this era come alive. I feel those years were the best for quality experimental music too and it was a blast getting a chance to experience it firsthand or secondhand, it doesn't really matter... and in my opinion it is simply the best era for music hands down. I have only one nitpick, after my first read I didn't find anything about Shriekback (formed from members of XTC, Gang of Four, etc.). They were the quintessential post-punk band and if there ever was a group that said "post-punk sounding" besides PIL, early Shriekback was that sound. I also felt like the Cure got short shrift in the book, only a paragraph, but we all know they place an important role in the history of this style of music.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Condensed version of UK classic, February 1, 2011
By 
Brett Lloyd (Newport News, Virginia United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 (Paperback)
Apparently, the US version is ~200 pages less than the UK version (which was the first copy I read). Though it seems rather blasphemous to excise chapters/portions about Einsturzende Neubauten, SST Records, Magazine, and (reducing) The Buzzcocks, I think it could also be argued that it streamlined the narrative (how punk influenced post-punk which was then co-opted into the mainstream), even if reading about those other acts/labels was interesting. The UK version was definitely enjoyable, but I felt it was a little bloated (i.e. following up the formation of PiL with... some guy who has a cult following, even by the standards of others in this book) My only real complaint is that I would've switched the last two chapters around. (Frankie Goes to Hollywood and the Goth/Neo-psychedelia chapters, respectively)

I was a bit annoyed that SST were barely mentioned in the UK version, and excised entirely from the US version, but in retrospect it makes more sense as they didn't really fit into the above narrative (at least in the years covered. "Michael Azerrad's "Our Band Could Be Your Life" covers them, among others, more succinctly). So in all, it's definitely a great book, even if it does leave out otherwise interesting acts.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for the newbie - frustrating for the fans..., August 14, 2008
This review is from: Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 (Paperback)
It's hard to find fault with one of the few documents of post-punk's history. The book is essential reading if you want to learn about the music and how critics have tried to write it off for more than 20 years. The problem with the book is in the details - how do you write about post-punk and gloss over a band like The Sound (one mention)? Quite possibly one of the most loved bands from that era. Also, no Comsat Angels or Chameleons, let alone any mention of cult acts Lowlife (Cocteau Twins) or Sad Lovers and Giants. Some of these bands might seem like mere blips on the radar, but their importance to the current scene grows every year. Otherwise, I still found tons of information that was new to me and more reasons than ever to believe that after the original British invasion, this was the 2nd greatest time for music ever!

P.S. Buy the UK version of the book - better cover, more pages, pictures - better in every way.
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Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984
Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 by Simon Reynolds (Paperback - February 17, 2006)
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