Retromania, By Simon Reynolds


This knowledgeable if mannered book explores the unoriginal notion that pop feeds off itself. Though Simon Reynolds declares, "Generally speaking, I avoid [band] reunions", he devotes six pages to the reunions of the Gang of Four and the New York Dolls. The latter was "one of the saddest spectacles I've ever witnessed", which must have been galling since the poor chap "walked the six blocks from my apartment".

Loquacious and highfalutin' (there are detours for Harold Bloom and Le Corbusier), Reynolds's epic rant ends with a druggy cheer for originality, exemplified by "Morrissey, Björk, Jay-Z...": "It's a much purer, harder hit. It's the same scary, euphoric rush that the best science fiction gives: the euphoria of limitlessness." So why bother writing this book?