From New Wave to No Wave #2: New Wave, Same Old Whiteness
New Wave and No Wave are both part of the post-punk rock and pop scene of the late 70s and early 80s. They are each heterogeneous genres; sometimes their boundaries (what bands get included or excluded) are more the result of convention (what critics, fans, and radio programmers treat as belonging in the genre) than of actual stylistic, aesthetic, or socio-political similarity. Simon Reynolds’s Rip ItUp & Start Again is a really good introductory overview of both scenes, their intermingling and their divergences. Theo Cateforis’s new book, Are WeNot New Wave?, also looks like it will be a great resource (I can’t wait to read it!). I’ll be using Cateforis’s previously-published account of Devo’s work below; there’s an interview with him about his new book here on the IASPM-US blog.
OH, and!: At some point I need to think more carefully and extensively about the relationship btw this Devo cover of “Satisfaction,” the Benny Benassi “Satisfaction” track, and the ways that “Swagger like Mick Jagger” gets dropped in postmillennial electro-influenced tracks with AutoTuned vocals. Is this indicative of some recognition, by whites, that black music is techy and futuristic, not just “authentic” and roots-y? Basically, it seems like the traditional associations–among race, masculinity, aesthetics, authenticity, subjectivity, etc–are all scrambled, or something. Something interesting is going on and I want to think more about it.