Wednesday, August 15, 2007
the hype on The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion and Rock'n'Roll by Simon Reynolds and Joy Press
"Some couples do crosswords or home remodeling projects, but imagine Simon Reynolds and Joy Press whiling away the connubial evenings of 1994 and 1995 with this unsparing dissection of ‘rock’s psychosexual underpinnings’. The Sex Revolts was hardly the first book on gender and rock, but like nothing before it proved how rich and accessible an analysis rooted in critical theory could be. In these proceedings, ‘more like an interrogation than a trial,’ the bad cops all have footnotes. Here is Gilles Deleuze, Gramsci, and The Clash’s soldier-boy posturing; Lacan, Lydia Lunch, and Julia Kristeva; the Freikorps, the Orb, the Beats, and body horror. For plenty of readers, this callow youth among them, following Reynolds and Press down ‘the path of critical awareness’ made the contradictions of rock’s rebellion permanently unignorable, and made rock itself never sound the same way again." - Andrew Holter, The Quietus Top 40 Books About Music.
"A monumental addition to the rock-crit canon"---VILLAGE VOICE
"This is rock criticism on the high slopes, brave, rigorous and endlessly well-read. The book's grand themes are sustained throughout and the authors are endlessly interesting, even about the many marginal and extreme figures on whom much of their arguments rest...This book is ultimately a landmark in rock and gender criticism precisely because it's a beacon of coherence that's also hip enough to convey the fact that rock is often at its most profound when it appears to be talking in tongues."--Mojo
"What Simon Reynolds and Joy Press are offering us is not a guide to the distaff side of pop music but a startlingly acute reading of rock through the lens of gender...One of the only really important books yet written about popular music culture...What [Reynolds and Press] have achieved with The Sex Revolts is formidable: we may never be able to listen to rock music in the same way again.
--Barney Hoskyns, Observer
"Easily the most ambitious work of music criticism since, well, since Reynolds' incendiary debut, 1990's Blissed Out....ultra-readable, ultra-argumentative and pro-woman....The Sex Revolts is thought made dangerous." -- i-D
"Both as an account of bohemian sexism and as an exploration of how sex roles inflect musical form, 'The Sex Revolts' is thorough yet highly idiosyncratic....Unabashed fans of male chauvinists from Jim Morisson to the Australian cult favorite Nick Cave, [Reynolds and Press] are also eloquent in their praise of a more womanly 'oceanic' aesthetic they discern in figures as diverse as the German avant-garde group Can, the punk poet Patti Smith, and Joni Mitchell's far-flung heiresses. Let's hope that this is not the last cross-disciplinary work that owes it ambitions to the cultural studies movement while refusing to succumb to academic provincialism and jargon."--Robert Christgau, New York Times
"...Revolts emerges as the only complete analysis of gender in rock music. The writing is intelligent, evocative, and engaging, rich in thought without becoming ponderous. Even those readers who question the authors' nervy paradigms will find this an authoritative, comprehensive history of rock. Thorough, unique, and challenging, Revolts belongs in almost every academic and public collection. Highly recommended."--Library Journal
"The Sex Revolts is co-written by Reynolds--revered in many quarters as the greatest rock theorist of his generation--and ostensibly seeks to address the ways in which gender roles have been used in rock music. In doing so, however, Reynolds and Press tell an engaging version of the entire history of rock."--Time Out (London)
"For sheer compulsive readability, and its cogent examination of the late 80s surge in female rock activity, The Sex Revolts is a credit to all concerned."--NME
"Endlessly enlightening.... The Sex Revolts is a 400 pages discussion document for a lifetime's debate and consideration. More than that, it's written with the intelligent passion that highlights the best rock criticism, and it will send you scurrying in search of music you never thought you'd want to hear... It's key achievement is to make you question all your theories about rock history and sexual roles, and force you take nothing on trust. Great read, too." -- Record Collector.
"In Sex Revolts the history of rock...becomes indeed much more than that. It becomes a history of postwar culture.... possibly the best book ever on 'rock'."--Angela McRobbie, Media, Culture & Society
"With The Sex Revolts music critics and sonic psychoanalysts Simon Reynolds and Joy Press delve deep beneath glib exteriors to forage among rock's dank sociosexual underpinnings...It is an analysis, not a polemic--but they do articulate the issues with a high degree of lucidity." --Neva Chonin, San Francisco Bay Guardian
"An absolute delight...The most stimulating, provocative, enjoyable and intelligent book on rock and its relation to our world since Greil Marcus's Lipstick Traces."
"Possibly the best analytic/critical tome this decade...Charged, challenging, and essential for anyone who still believes pop deserves to be approached with a little intelligence"--Melody Maker
"Press and Reynolds range freely and effectively outside the narrow definition of rock culture. Their persuasive analysis of rebel misogynies starts with the phenomenon of 'postwar mom-ism', and proceeds via Look Back in Anger, On the Road, Ken Kesey and Timothy Leary to a clear understanding of how Jimi Hendrix came to 'remember a city by its chicks'...One of the most impressive things about The Sex Revolts is the way it manages not to lose its moorings...in a sea of erudition...Reynolds and Press have opened up a new frontier of critical dissension and contumely. For that, all those who love rock should salute them.
--Ben Thompson, New Statesman & Society
"Joy Press and Simon Reynolds display a breadth of knowledge and research that ought to be demanded from Cultural Studies books, a range of examples from the most mainstream to Godflesh and Hugo Largo, with every prominent figure in between...The Sex Revolts is right up there with the best tomes on Rock--Greil Marcus's Lipstick Traces or Savage's England Dreaming--and deserves a place on the shelf of anyone who cares passionately about the Rock discourse.
--Nick Terry, The Lizard
"The language is punchy and erudite throughout. Phrases like 'invertebrate goo' resonate. Students of modern mythmaking should consider this required."
"Reynolds and Press's provocative and insightful The Sex Revolts should be read by everyone concerned with rock culture's impact. What differentiates this book from previous efforts...is its serious treatment of the central theme--the complex relationships among gender, rebellion, and rock music...It is the confluence of carefully considered text, numerous footnotes, and a broad-ranging bibliography that shape and support the critical analysis. This timely volume adds reasoned understanding to a high profile-issue. It is strongly recommended" --Choice