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Simon Reynolds

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Simon Reynolds
Reynolds in 2011
Reynolds in 2011
Born (1963-06-19) 19 June 1963 (age 57)
London, England
OccupationMusic critic, author
Alma materBrasenose College, Oxford
SpouseJoy Press

Simon Reynolds (born 19 June 1963) is an English music journalist and author who began his professional career on the staff of Melody Maker in the mid-1980s, and has since gone on to freelance and publish a number of full-length books on music and popular culture, ranging from historical tomes on rave music, glam rock, and the post-punk era to critical works such as Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past (2011).[1]

He has contributed to Spin, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Guardian, The Wire, Pitchfork, and others.


Early life and Blissed Out (1990)

Reynolds was born in London in 1963[2] and grew up in Berkhamsted.[3] Inspired by his younger brother Tim, he became interested in rock and specifically punk in 1978.[4] In the early 1980s, he attended Brasenose College, Oxford. After graduating, in 1984 he co-founded the Oxford-based music journal Monitor with his friends and future Melody Maker colleagues Paul Oldfield and David Stubbs along with Hilary Little and Chris Scott.[2]

In 1986, Reynolds joined the staff of Melody Maker, where his writing was marked by enthusiasm for a wave of neo-psychedelic rock and hip hop artists that emerged in the mid-1980s (including A.R. Kane, My Bloody Valentine, Public Enemy, Throwing Muses and The Young Gods). During this period, Reynolds and his Melody Maker colleagues set themselves in opposition to what they characterized as the conservative humanism of the era's indie rock, soul, and pop music, as well as the unadventurous style and approach of most music criticism.[5] Pieces from this late Eighties era would form the remixed collection Blissed Out: The Raptures of Rock, published in 1990.[1]

Freelance and Energy Flash (1998)

In 1990, Reynolds left the staff of Melody Maker (although he would continue to contribute to the magazine until 1996) and became a freelance writer, splitting his time between London and New York. In the early 1990s, he became involved in rave culture and the electronic dance music scene, particularly that of the UK, and became a writer on the development of what he would later conceptualise as the "hardcore continuum" along with its surrounding culture such as pirate radio.[1] Much of this writing was later published in Energy Flash: a Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture (1998), a history of the hardcore, house, techno and later rave genres like jungle music and gabber. The book was published that same year in America in abridged form, with the title Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture.

During this time, he also theorized the concept of "post-rock", using the term first in a Melody Maker 1993 feature about Insides and then in a more developed form in a May 1994 thinkpiece for The Wire and in a review of Bark Psychosis' album Hex, published in the March 1994 issue of Mojo magazine.[6] In late 1994, Reynolds moved to the East Village in Manhattan. In 1995, with his wife, Joy Press, Reynolds co-authored The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion and Rock 'n' Roll, a critical analysis of gender in rock. In 1998 Reynolds became a senior editor at Spin magazine in the US. In 1999, he returned to freelance work.

In 2013, a second expanded update of Energy Flash was published, with new material on the rise of dubstep to worldwide popularity and the EDM or Electronic Dance Music explosion in America.

Rip It Up and Start Again (2005) and Retromania (2011)

In 2005, Reynolds released Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978–1984, a history of the post-punk era.[7] In 2007, Reynolds published Bring the Noise: 20 Years of Writing about Hip Rock and Hip Hop in the UK, a collection of his writing themed around the relationship between white bohemian rock and black street music. In 2008, an updated edition of Energy Flash was published, with new chapters on the decade of dance music following the appearance of the first edition. In 2009, a companion volume to Rip It Up and Start Again was published, Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews and Overviews, containing interview transcripts and new essays.

In 2011, Reynolds published Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past, a critical investigation into what he perceives as the current situation of chronic retrogression in pop music, with a focus on the effects of the internet and digital culture on music consumption and musical creativity.[8]

Shock and Awe (2016) to present

Reynolds's eighth book, a history of the glam rock era, Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy, was published in October 2016.[9]

In addition to writing books, Reynolds has continued freelancing for magazines, giving lectures, writing liner notes, and appearing in music documentaries. He also operates a blog, Blissblog along with various satellite blogs such as the book-focused outlets Energy Flash, Retromania and Shock and Awe, and the drivel blog Hardly Baked. Reynolds also maintains an archive for his writing, the blog ReynoldsRetro. He resides in Los Angeles.[10]

Critical style

Reynolds' writing has blended cultural criticism with music journalism.[11] He has written extensively on gender, class, race, and sexuality in relation to music and culture. Early in his career, Reynolds often made use of critical theory and philosophy in his analysis of music, deriving particular influence from thinkers such as Roland Barthes, Georges Bataille, Julia Kristeva, Michel Foucault, and Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.[1] He has on occasion used the Marxist concepts of commodity fetishism and false consciousness to describe attitudes prevalent in hip hop music.[12] In discussing the relationship between class and music, Reynolds coined the term liminal class, defined as the upper-working class and lower-middle-class, a group he credits with "a lot of music energy".[13] Reynolds has also written about drug culture and its relationship to various musical developments and movements.[14] In the 2000s, in tandem with fellow critic and blogger Mark Fisher, Reynolds made use of Jacques Derrida's concept of hauntology to describe a strain of music and popular art preoccupied with the disjointed temporality and "lost futures" of contemporary culture.[15]

Year-end critics' polls

Reynolds has voted in a number of year-end critics' polls, most often for The Wire's Rewind and for The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop. Since 2011, when The Wire renamed its year-end poll from Records of the Year to Releases of the Year, Reynolds has cast several votes for songs rather than album-length releases. Reynold's full voting ballots and year-end commentaries for a variety of magazines, going back to the late 1980s, can be found at Reynolds's Faves/Unfaves blog.

Year Artist Release Source
1991 World of Twist Quality Street Reynolds's blog (ballot for The Wire)[16]
1994 Tricky "Aftermath" Reynolds's blog (ballot for The Wire)[17]
1995 Tricky Maxinquaye Reynolds's blog (ballot for The Wire)[18]
1999 Position Normal Stop Your Nonsense Reynolds's blog (collecting writings from The Village Voice and Uncut)[19]
2000 Isolée Rest The Wire[20]
2001 Pulp We Love Life The Wire[21]
2002 The Streets Original Pirate Material The Wire[22]
2003 Dizzee Rascal Boy in da Corner The Wire[23]
2004 Dizzee Rascal Showtime The Wire[24]
2005 Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti Worn Copy The Wire[25]
2006 Scritti Politti White Bread Black Beer The Wire[26]
2007 Black Moth Super Rainbow Dandelion Gum The Wire[27]
2008 Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend The Wire[28] and Pazz & Jop[29]
2009 Tie: Micachu and the Shapes / Dirty Projectors Jewellery / Bitte Orca In Pazz & Jop, Reynolds allocated equal points to both albums.[29] In The Wire, which does not allow tie votes, he voted for Jewellery only.[30]
2010 Tie: Rangers / Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti Suburban Tours / Before Today In Pazz & Jop, Reynolds allocated equal points to both albums.[29] In The Wire, he voted for Suburban Tours only.[31]
2011 Metronomy The English Riviera Pazz & Jop[29]
2012 Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti Mature Themes The Wire[32]
2013 Sage the Gemini featuring Iamsu! "Gas Pedal" The Wire[33]
2014 Tinashe featuring Schoolboy Q "2 On" The Wire[34]
2015 Future "Fuck Up Some Commas" The Wire[35]
2016 eMMplekz Rook to TN34 The Wire[36]
2017 Travis Scott "Goosebumps" The Wire[37]
2018 Migos Culture II The Wire[38]
2019 Baron Mordant Mark of the Mould The Wire[39]

Selected publications


Book contributions

"Published in collaboration with Dia Center for the Arts."

Music compilations


  1. ^ a b c d ReadySteadyBook - Simon Reynolds Interview
  2. ^ a b Rock's Backpages - Simon Reynolds
  3. ^ Worth Their Wait | Features | Pitchfork Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  4. ^ Reynolds, Simon (2006). Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978–1984. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-21570-6.
  5. ^ Reynolds, Simon (1990). Blissed Out: The Raptures of Rock. Serpent's Tail. ISBN 1-85242-199-1.
  6. ^ Reynolds, Simon (March 1994). "Bark Psychosis: Hex". Mojo. Retrieved 8 July 2008.
  7. ^ The A.V. Club, Inventory: 17 Essential Books About Popular Music
  8. ^ Adam Harper, "Record Recollection", Oxonian Review, 2 June 2011
  9. ^ Faber Social. Shock and Awe by Simon Reynolds. 18 July 2016.
  10. ^ M3 - Simon Reynolds Interview
  11. ^ Berman, Judy. "From Bowie to Gaga: How Glam Rock Lives On". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  12. ^ Simon Reynolds: Review of JAY-Z, Vol. 3... Life and Times of S.Carter / DMX, And Then There Was X / JUVENILE, Tha G-Code /THE LOX, We Are The Streets Uncut, May 2000 (online copy at Reynolds "Bring The Noise" blog)
  13. ^ Perfect Sound Forever: Simon Reynolds interview on post-punk
  14. ^ Simon Reynolds: High society - Irvine Welsh's film 'Trainspotting'. Artforum, Summer 1996
  15. ^ The Guardian - Hauntology: A not-so-new critical manifestation
  16. ^ Reynolds, Simon (14 December 2008). "The Wire, 1991". Blogger.
  17. ^ Reynolds, Simon (14 December 2008). "The Wire, 1995 - End of Year Comments and Votes". Blogger.
  18. ^ Reynolds, Simon (14 December 2008). "The Wire, 1995 - End of Year Comments and Votes". Blogger.
  19. ^ Reynolds, Simon (16 December 2008). "Faves and Unfaves of 1999". Blogger.
  20. ^ "Rewind 2000: 50 Records of the Year". The Wire. No. 203. London. January 2001. p. 43 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  21. ^ "2001 Rewind: 50 Records of the Year". The Wire. No. 215. London. January 2002. p. 49 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  22. ^ "Rewind 2002: 50 Records of the Year". The Wire. No. 227. London. January 2003. p. 55 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  23. ^ "2003 Rewind: 50 Records of the Year". The Wire. No. 239. London. January 2004. p. 49 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  24. ^ "2004 Rewind: 50 Records of the Year". The Wire. No. 251. London. January 2005. p. 49 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  25. ^ "2005 Rewind: 50 Records of the Year". The Wire. No. 263. London. January 2006. p. 51 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  26. ^ "Rewind 2006: 50 Records of the Year". The Wire. No. 275. London. January 2007. p. 49 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  27. ^ "2007 Rewind: Records of the Year Top Ten". The Wire. No. 287. London. January 2008. p. 49 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  28. ^ "2008 Rewind: Records of the Year Top Ten". The Wire. No. 299. London. January 2009. p. 37 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  29. ^ a b c d McDonald, Glenn. "Pazz & Jop Statistics: Simon Reynolds". Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  30. ^ "2009 Rewind: Records of the Year Top Ten". The Wire. No. 311. London. January 2010. p. 49 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  31. ^ "2010 Rewind: Records of the Year Top Ten". The Wire. No. 323. London. January 2011. p. 49 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  32. ^ "2012 Rewind: The Electorate". The Wire. No. 347. London. January 2013. p. 35 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  33. ^ "2013 Rewind: The Electorate". The Wire. No. 359. London. January 2014. p. 35 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  34. ^ "2014 Rewind: The Electorate". The Wire. No. 371. London. January 2015. p. 37 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  35. ^ "2015 Rewind: The Electorate". The Wire. No. 383. London. January 2016. p. 37 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  36. ^ "Rewind 2016: The Electorate". The Wire. No. 395. London. p. 35 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  37. ^ "Rewind 2017: The Electorate". The Wire. No. 407. London. January 2018. p. 37 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  38. ^ "2018 Rewind: The Electorate". The Wire. No. 419. London. January 2019. p. 37 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  39. ^ "2018 Rewind: The Electorate". The Wire. No. 431. London. January 2020. p. 34 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  40. ^ Energy Flash (1998). Compiled by Simon Reynolds. Not on Label [EF001CD].
  41. ^ Rip It Up and Start Again (Post Punk 1978-1984) (November 17, 2006). Compiled by Simon Reynolds. V2 Music [VVR1040352].

External links

This page was last edited on 4 June 2021, at 04:17
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