I’m a huge fan of Simon Reynolds‘ writing on music and popular culture. Rip It Up and Start Again and Energy Flash are definitive accounts of the emergence and development of the post punk and rave scenes. Each book does a superb job of highlighting the socioeconomic backdrop for these exciting new musical forms in turn helping the reader understand and appreciate the music for what it was really all about. So it was with a dash of despondency that I came to the end of his most recent book Retromania. The disappointment didn’t come from the quality of the writing, which was as brilliant as always, nor the quality of the argument, which was considered and on point, but rather the conclusion which the book leaves you with. That message in a nut shell is that modern music has run its course, and that in the last 15-20 years, with the arguable exception of dubstep, we’ve done little but recycle old music forms in an endless youtube– and reissue-fueled stranglehold of the past.