Features | Retconning

IX :: New Wave I (Grab Bag!)

By Mark Abraham | 1 July 2007

Congratulations to Alfredo Ortega who won the first ever Retconning contest! I hope "I Am Sitting in a Room" is freaking you out right this second! Less congratulations to everybody else who wrote in. Snarky congratulations who anybody who thought I liked Radiohead. Ew! I’ll try to do a better planned contest in the coming months.

So, what’s new wave? If post-punk furthered the stripped-down punk aesthetic by making forays into dub, funk, and disco, new wave groups on both sides of the Atlantic dropped the sneers and took the punk ethos as a mandate to produce the kind of music punk was rebelling against in the first place. Pub rock, new romantic, electropop, power pop, goth rock; all exist uncomfortably together under the umbrella of “new wave,” especially since new wave simultaneously birthed some of the most excrutiating pop music that defined the ‘80s at the same time that it laid the groundwork with post-punk for modern indie-rock. This column presents some of my favorite new wave albums with the caveat that I’ll get more in-depth with specific genres in future issues. Especially since parsing the Joy Division/New Order/New Order-as-a-singles-band conundrum probably requires its own column.