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Mad World Book Review

Mad World Book

“Mad World” is an engaging piece of 80’s nostalgia.

Written by Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein, “Mad World” is a tribute to the New Wave music movement from the 1980’s. The book spotlights numerous bands and artists from this genre including: Adam and the Ants, Gary Numan, Duran Duran, New Order, ABC, Devo, Echo and the Bunnymen, Spandau Ballet, The Human League, Heaven 17, Dexys Midnight Runners, Bow Wow Wow, The Waitresses, The Normal, Kajagoogoo, Thomas Dolby, The Psychedelic Furs, Depeche Mode, Yaz, Kim Wilde, Howard Jones, Berlin, A Flock of Seagulls, Modern English, Soft Cell, A-ha, Joy Division, The Smiths, Tears for Fears, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Ultravox, INXS, Thompson Twins, Simple Minds, Animotion, and Band Aid.

Before delving into the heart of the book, “Mad World” (which refers to the classic “Tears For Fears” song) begins with a foreword by “Duran Duran” band member Nick Rhodes. The foreword touches on 70’s and 80’s music trends, music technology, electronic music, “Duran Duran” and New Wave music. After that, the book devotes an entire chapter to each of the above listed bands/artists. Each chapter contains band member interviews, a then and now piece, mixtape suggestions and the authors’ comments about the artists/bands. Additionally, readers can expect to find mini bios, hundreds of pictures, fashion tidbits, and lists of musical contributions.

The book concludes with a thoughtful afterword by Moby who talks about how much New Wave music meant to him.

If you go into “Mad World” expecting a detailed history about each and every band listed here, you shouldn’t. This music book is very much a respectful tribute to New Wave artists. Granted, the book could have used more written material (especially since bands like “The Human League” declined to be interviewed), but there’s so much to pour over here that I doubt many New Wave buffs will mind. Whether learning about Adam Ant’s hiatus, Thomas Dolby’s vast accomplishments, A-ha’s honest thoughts on the success of “Take On Me,” or Devo’s thoughts about songs in commercials, “Mad World” comes off as an educational slice of music history.

Perhaps the most refreshing aspect of this book is that it enlightens readers. A lot of these artists have been unfairly written off as 1 hit wonders while others may not be known by name at all (even though they had a were huge hit single). In other words, it’s admirable to see this book setting the record straight in regards to certain misinformation.

Overall Thoughts: Even though the New Wave music scene may have peaked in the 80’s, “Mad World” is proof positive that the genre is still alive and well in the hearts of many.


December 18, 2014 - Posted by | Book review | , , , , , , , , , ,

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