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The Encyclopedia of New Wave Paperback – May 1, 2012

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Review

*"This colorful and wildly entertaining look at the New Wave era in pop music (roughly, late 1970s through the end of the 1980s and defined within as “a straightforward songwriting approach relying heavily on synthesizers and other electronic equipment”) covers more than 150 artists and bands-from a-ha to Ze Popes. Best-selling acts such as Duran Duran, the Police, and the Smiths are included alongside one-hit wonders like the Flying Lizards, Kajagoogoo, and Q-Feel. Influential music-related personalities of the era, including Malcolm McClaren and Brian Eno, are also featured. A foreword by Gerald Casale, of the band Devo, and the introduction by the author serve to define New Wave and explain who was included as well as what was left out. Entries range from one column to three page spreads. The longer entries are made up of many photographs, with larger, well-known bands getting more coverage. The text is highly subjective and meant to be more for entertainment than research. A snarky-but amusing-tone is found throughout (e.g., 'Despite writing songs for uniformly despicable films, Go West has managed to keep a career going; In 1989, Cutting Crew released the appropriately named The Scattering, which sent record buyers running in all directions looking for somewhere-anywhere-to go in order to not buy it.' The eye-popping graphics-featuring a massive amount of photographs-will delight any fan of the music and the time period. Interesting sidebars are peppered throughout the text, such as 'Gender-Bending,' 'NY Clubs,' 'Heartthrobs,' 'Men's Fashion,' 'The Many Sounds of New Wave,' 'Music Videos,' 'Female Sex Symbols,' and 'Movies.' Appendixes include several 'Best of New Wave' lists, including 'Fifty Most Essential New Wave Singles,' 'Top Ten New Wave Bands with the Most Ridiculous Hair,' 'New Wave Timeline,' 'Ten Weirdest New Wave Singles,' and 'Top Twenty Essential New Wave Albums.' A bibliography and an index of artists and song titles round out the book..Cheeky yet incredibly informative, this is an inexpensive must-have for any music collection and will do especially well in circulation." --Booklist [STARRED REVIEW] 

About the Author

Daniel Bukszpan is a talented freelance journalist and music critic, but only a mediocre guitarist. He has written countless music reviews and feature articles for various newspapers, magazines, and online publications. Bukszpan is also the author of the best-selling Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal, with a foreword by Ronny James Dio. In his spare time, he performs heavy metal and occasionally produces records under his own label, Smoking in Bed Records. Bukszpan lives in New York City with his wife and son.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402784724
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402784729
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #905,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By W. Decker on November 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book has great photos. But the writing is bad and annoying, unless you like shallow magazines like Maxim. The tone is juvenile and glib, with much unnecessary snarkiness and profanity. The author comes off like a 50-year-old trying to sound young and hip. He sketches each band's career, and mentions their hits, videos, and how they looked, but rarely says anything about the music. I also caught several factual errors and anachronisms.
Maybe someday there will be a second edition that is better-edited and less frivolous.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Malteseterp on June 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
I found this to be very enjoyable - it takes me back to my college days. The book provides encyclopedia style entries for a large number of new wave artists and bands, including a listing of band members and a discography. The books also contains a number of short articles on such topics a new wave fashions, videos, movies, etc. Some of the topics are suspect - do we need an article on gender bending in new wave? That topic is as old as rock n' roll itself and hardly unique to the new wave era. Still, I think the author has done an excellent envoking the overall era with the articles. Special praise should be given to the book's graphic designer. It is stunning. The graphics are top notch and the photos are amazing. If you are a fan of this era of music, you will enjoy flipping thru the book.

That being said, I have two complaints that prevent me from giving the book 5 stars. First, the author used a "smart aleck" tone to many of his write-ups. I found it off-putting. That is only a minor complaint.

I have major complaint with some of the bands that the author selected for inclusion/exclusion. The books does NOT include entries for any of the following artists: U2,The Bangles, Pat Benatar, Television, The Blasters, Marshall Crenshaw, The Modern Lovers, The Violent Femmes, The Replacements, The Clash, or Nick Lowe. However, he does have entries for Peter Gabriel and Madonna(?!). I realize that reasonable people can disagree on what should have been included as "new wave" but some of this just doen't make sense. In his introduction, the author declares that U2 is arena rock, The Bangles are a guitar group, and Pat Benatar is rock. However, he really gives no reason for this.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By NazzNimrod on January 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a terrible book; it offers nothing of interest, no insight into the genre/era, is badly written and full of factual errors. It's a glorified fanzine article that appears to have been written in weekend and shelved for two years.

To give you an idea of how badly written / edited this book is, there are (many) references to "Upcoming albums" that are going to be released in 2010 - but the book was published in 2012!!

Bios are minimal (and that's being generous), and precious space that could be filled with more information is wasted on the writer's unfunny, smarmy comments that add nothing to the text. In fact, they're downright embarrassing - the writer isn't funny and the tone of the book is "weak bitchy."

Pictures are largely second rate and not reproduced well and the design of the book recalls the worst of the era - with eye-killing color choices and stereotypical imagery.

Discographies are full of inaccuracies. The fact that they list Phantom Import Distribution as a record label (for multiple records!) shows they did no more research than looking up an album on Amazon - even though this info is easily available online.

Bottom line; Wikipedia has better, more accurate info on all of these bands and more. Don't waste your money on this - buy a Trouser Press Guide instead.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. C. Cotham on April 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a encyclopedia, this definitely is not one. It's a lot closer to one of those coffee table books, largely there as a breezy and brief look-in for you guests, accompanied by some nice pictures. It's eye-catching, and can be dipped in and out of occasionally. (I find it hard to believe that people read books like this straight through like a novel). If you think of it like that, it's closer to being successful - though some of the pictures do leave a little to be desired. There's some sub-sections about hairstyles, movies, etc, which were definitely part of what made the new wave experience fun. Cultural movements don't exist strictly through the speakers, so small sections about how it affected culture are welcome.

As far as bands/artists included, it's pretty comprehensive, and there are few obvious omissions. It generally doesn't include bands more associated with "punk" - the Sex Pistols are absent, but John Lydon's subsequent band Public Image, Ltd. are here, if that gives you an idea what to expect. I was a bit disappointed that they didn't include Blancmange, but for me personally, the only major omission is David Bowie. Even if by the 80s, Bowie had largely moved past his most outre work, he's certainly mentioned enough times as an influence on the bands included that his own entry is called for. There's a special section dedicated to Brian Eno, justifiably, so the lack of one for Bowie just stands out. This book seems aimed specifically for people who remember the 80s (which is possibly why Nick Lowe, best known for his own 70s work, is also absent), so that may be why anything without a notable MTV presence seems skipped over.
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