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What Is Post-Punk?: Genre and Identity in Avant-Garde Popular Music, 1977-82
by Mimi Haddon
University of Michigan Press, 2020
Cloth: 978-0-472-13182-2 | eISBN: 978-0-472-12655-2
Library of Congress Classification ML3534
Dewey Decimal Classification 781.66

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ABOUT THIS BOOK
Popular music in the US and UK during the late 1970s and early 1980s was wildly eclectic and experimental. “Post-punk,” as it was retroactively labeled, could include electro-pop melodies, distorted guitars, avant-garde industrial sounds, and reggae beats, and thus is not an easily definable musical category.

What Is Post-Punk? combines a close reading of the late-1970s music press discourse with musical analyses and theories of identity to unpack post-punk’s status as a genre. Mimi Haddon traces the discursive foundations of post-punk across publications such as SoundsZigZagMelody Maker, the Village Voice, and the NME, and presents case studies of bands including Wire, PiL, Joy Division, the Raincoats, and Pere Ubu. By positioning post-punk in relation to genres such as punk, new wave, dub, and disco, Haddon explores the boundaries of post-punk, and reveals it as a community of tastes and predilections rather than a stylistically unified whole. Haddon diversifies the discourse around post-punk, exploring both its gender and racial dynamics and its proto-industrial aesthetics to restore the historical complexity surrounding the genre’s terms and origins.

 

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