Simon Reynolds

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Simon Reynolds
Simon Reynolds.jpg
Born 1963 (age 51–52)
London, UK [1]
Occupation Music journalist
Nationality British
Period 1986–present
Spouse Joy Press

Simon Reynolds is an English music journalist. In addition to writing for publications such as Melody Maker and Spin, Reynolds has published books on topics ranging from post-punk and electronic dance culture to gender and sexuality in popular music.[2] Over the course of his career, he has contributed freelance writing to Melody Maker, The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The Wire, and others.

History and career[edit]

Reynolds was born in London in 1963.[3] While attending the University of Oxford, Reynolds and his future Melody Maker peer David Stubbs founded Moniter, a short lived music magazine.[4] By 1986, he had joined Melody Maker and begun to establish himself as a mainstay of the British music press. He was an early proponent of the wave of neo-psychedelic groups that emerged in England in the late 80's, and much of this writing would be the focus of the retrospective collection Blissed Out: The Raptures of Rock, published in 1990.[5]

In 1990, Reynolds left 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 subsequently became a writer on electronic dance music and its surrounding culture.[6] In 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 published Energy Flash: a Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture, a history of what became rave music, and became a senior editor at Spin magazine in the US. In 1999, he went back to freelance work and published an American version of Energy Flash in abridged form, titled: Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture. In 2005, Reynolds published Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978–1984, a comprehensive 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 ten years of dance music following the appearance of the first edition. He contributed a chapter to Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture (The MIT Press, 2008), edited by Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky. In 2011, Reynolds published Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past, an indictment of and investigation into what he perceives as the current situation of chronic retrogression in pop music.[8]

Reynolds has continued writing for magazines, as well as his blog, Blissblog. He resides in Los Angeles.[9]

Critical style[edit]

Reynolds has often made use of critical theory in his analysis of music, deriving particular influence from theorists such as Georges Bataille, Julia Kristeva, and Deleuze and Guattari.[10] He has written extensively on gender, class, race, and sexuality, and their relationship with music. He has on occasion used the Marxist concepts of commodity fetishism and false consciousness to describe attitudes prevalent in hip hop music.[11] 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".[12] Reynolds has also written about drug culture and its relationship to and effect on music. In his book, Generation Ecstasy, Reynolds traces the effects of drugs on the ups and downs of the rave scene.[13]



  • Rip It Up and Start Again : Post Punk 1978-1984 - CD compiled by Simon Reynolds, 15 May 2006, V2 label


External links[edit]