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Are We Not New Wave?


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About the Author

Theo Cateforis is Assistant Professor of Music History and Culture in the Department of Art and Music Histories at Syracuse University. His research is in the areas of American Music, Popular Music Studies, and Twentieth-Century Art Music. He is editor of the anthology The Rock History Reader.


Closely connected to the decline of punk, springing up independently in America and the UK, and with acts ranging from power pop revivalists to deadpan synthesizer ensembles, new wave is a notoriously tricky genre to define. Cateforis (music history & cultures, Syracuse Univ.) first sets out to trace the origins, evolution, and ultimate incorporation of the movement into the dominant musical paradigm of the late 1980s. He then explores several new wave themes, such as the deliberate "nervousness" of vocal and stage performances and the shifting role of the keyboardist in the synthesizer era. These explorations each focus on a small number of artists or groups. That narrow scope makes the work's thesis, that new wave was a fundamentally modern (as opposed to postmodern) movement, difficult to trace. Taken as a collection of "essays on" rather than a "history of," this book raises many notable points. VERDICT A -valuable addition to the scholarship of an often-neglected era. This will be of great interest to music or cultural historians as well as fans of Devo, Talking Heads, the B-52's, and Gary Numan.-Neil Derksen, Gwinnett Cty. P.L., Lawrenceville, GA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

"Are We Not New Wave? is destined to become the definitive study of new wave music."- Mark Spicer, coeditor of Sounding Out Pop;

""In carefully distinguishing the ways in which a genre is historically informed and discursively created, Cateforis has given us an exemplary treatise on an emergent historical phenomenon, a feat that can be appreciated by anyone interested in genre, even if they cannot distinguish their Kajagoogoo from their Spandau Ballet.""- James Paasche, Popular Music and Society

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