Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to its Own Past, By Simon Reynolds

Pop, deprived of fresh meat, feeds on itself

Simon Reynolds's thesis is that rock music is now simply feeding off its own past; it's not a novel argument, but it is dauntingly well supported.

Karaoke, iPods, cover versions, The X Factor, remixes and mash-ups, Greatest Hits albums, world tours by ageing rock stars, tribute bands, the cult of collecting and the instant download accessibility of all the music of the past 50 years: all are hauled into the witness stand to testify that contemporary music has no space left for innovation. Reynolds decries this state of affairs, yet seems to enjoy his trawl through rock's past and present. Paradoxically, there is more here to charm the nostalgia buff than to support Reynolds' optimistic conclusion that music will find a way to reinvent itself.