Home / Arts / Books / Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs that Defined the 1980s (Abrams), by Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein
Friday, April 4, 2014

Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs that Defined the 1980s (Abrams), by Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein

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New wave may have been a phrase coined by record labels as a commercially viable answer to punk rock, and some of the groups featured in Mad World were plastic factory-produced goods. But not most. As Moby reminisces in his afterward, for American suburban kids in the early ’80s, new wave was a glimpse of a more sophisticated world where men wore suits, women were gorgeous and synthesizers hummed like the Paris Metro. Onetime Spin writers Lori Majewski (a Yank) and Jonathan Bernstein (a Brit) share their often insightful and sometimes overlapping impressions in between interviews with major players from Adam Ant through Yaz (X was not new wave and Zs were hard to find). Many of the discussions with significant groups such as Heaven 17, Devo and New Order are fascinating. A Flock of Seagulls? Well, they were already an old joke when Samuel L. Jackson made that crack about them in Pulp Fiction.