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A Rolling Stone-Kirkus Best Music Book of 2020 The definitive account of pop music in the mid-eighties, from Prince and Madonna to the underground hip-hop, indie rock, and club scenes  Everybody knows the hits of 1984 - pop music's greatest year. From "Thriller" to "Purple Rain," "Hello" to "Against All Odds," "What's Love Got to Do with It" to "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," A Rolling Stone-Kirkus Best Music Book of 2020 The definitive account of pop music in the mid-eighties, from Prince and Madonna to the underground hip-hop, indie rock, and club scenes  Everybody knows the hits of 1984 - pop music's greatest year. From "Thriller" to "Purple Rain," "Hello" to "Against All Odds," "What's Love Got to Do with It" to "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," these iconic songs continue to dominate advertising, karaoke nights, and the soundtracks for film classics (Boogie Nights) and TV hits (Stranger Things). But the story of that thrilling, turbulent time, an era when Top 40 radio was both the leading edge of popular culture and a moral battleground, has never been told with the full detail it deserves - until now. Can't Slow Down is the definitive portrait of the exploding world of mid-eighties pop and the time it defined, from Cold War anxiety to the home-computer revolution. Big acts like Michael Jackson (Thriller), Prince (Purple Rain), Madonna (Like a Virgin), Bruce Springsteen (Born in the U.S.A.), and George Michael (Wham!'s Make It Big) rubbed shoulders with the stars of the fermenting scenes of hip-hop, indie rock, and club music. Rigorously researched, mapping the entire terrain of American pop, with crucial side trips to the UK and Jamaica, from the biz to the stars to the upstarts and beyond, Can't Slow Down is a vivid journey to the very moment when pop was remaking itself, and the culture at large - one hit at a time. 


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A Rolling Stone-Kirkus Best Music Book of 2020 The definitive account of pop music in the mid-eighties, from Prince and Madonna to the underground hip-hop, indie rock, and club scenes  Everybody knows the hits of 1984 - pop music's greatest year. From "Thriller" to "Purple Rain," "Hello" to "Against All Odds," "What's Love Got to Do with It" to "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," A Rolling Stone-Kirkus Best Music Book of 2020 The definitive account of pop music in the mid-eighties, from Prince and Madonna to the underground hip-hop, indie rock, and club scenes  Everybody knows the hits of 1984 - pop music's greatest year. From "Thriller" to "Purple Rain," "Hello" to "Against All Odds," "What's Love Got to Do with It" to "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," these iconic songs continue to dominate advertising, karaoke nights, and the soundtracks for film classics (Boogie Nights) and TV hits (Stranger Things). But the story of that thrilling, turbulent time, an era when Top 40 radio was both the leading edge of popular culture and a moral battleground, has never been told with the full detail it deserves - until now. Can't Slow Down is the definitive portrait of the exploding world of mid-eighties pop and the time it defined, from Cold War anxiety to the home-computer revolution. Big acts like Michael Jackson (Thriller), Prince (Purple Rain), Madonna (Like a Virgin), Bruce Springsteen (Born in the U.S.A.), and George Michael (Wham!'s Make It Big) rubbed shoulders with the stars of the fermenting scenes of hip-hop, indie rock, and club music. Rigorously researched, mapping the entire terrain of American pop, with crucial side trips to the UK and Jamaica, from the biz to the stars to the upstarts and beyond, Can't Slow Down is a vivid journey to the very moment when pop was remaking itself, and the culture at large - one hit at a time. 

30 review for Can't Slow Down: How 1984 Became Pop's Blockbuster Year

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Schultz

    Read if you: Want a laser focused look at one explosive year in music history. 1984 represents a pivotal moment in music history: it saw the rise of Prince, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and many more. Pop music isn't the only thing covered--Matos also explores country, heavy metal, and rap artists. You will definitely want to make your own music playlist to listen to while (or after) reading this! Librarians/booksellers: Your pop culture and Gen X patrons/customers will love this! Man Read if you: Want a laser focused look at one explosive year in music history. 1984 represents a pivotal moment in music history: it saw the rise of Prince, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and many more. Pop music isn't the only thing covered--Matos also explores country, heavy metal, and rap artists. You will definitely want to make your own music playlist to listen to while (or after) reading this! Librarians/booksellers: Your pop culture and Gen X patrons/customers will love this! Many thanks to Hachette Books and NetGalley for a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    I turned ten in 1984, so this book couldn't help but hit a lot of my pleasure points, and I rarely found it less than interesting in the moment. That pleasure is undermined, however, by Matos' inability or unwillingness to keep himself from editorializing in distractingly snarky ways by squeezing in potshots at various artists, most of whom rank among the easier targets of the era (Journey, Starship, et cetera). Given that the mission he lays out for himself at the start of the book is to offer I turned ten in 1984, so this book couldn't help but hit a lot of my pleasure points, and I rarely found it less than interesting in the moment. That pleasure is undermined, however, by Matos' inability or unwillingness to keep himself from editorializing in distractingly snarky ways by squeezing in potshots at various artists, most of whom rank among the easier targets of the era (Journey, Starship, et cetera). Given that the mission he lays out for himself at the start of the book is to offer the world's first comprehensive overview of this watershed moment from the inside, Matos' sneering asides are generally as jarring as they are unnecessary; they often indicate a cynical remove from the culture he's supposedly trying to celebrate.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jay Gabler

    The subtitle of Can't Slow Down reflects a reality that's become increasingly clear as the decades pass: there was something special about that year. As Matos points out, when people think about how great music was in the '80s, they're overwhelmingly thinking about the peak period from 1983 to 1985, and especially 1984. Early '80s music was anodyne, argues Matos, so boring that the entire record industry slumped. The late '80s became almost a parody of themselves, with trends that were fresh in The subtitle of Can't Slow Down reflects a reality that's become increasingly clear as the decades pass: there was something special about that year. As Matos points out, when people think about how great music was in the '80s, they're overwhelmingly thinking about the peak period from 1983 to 1985, and especially 1984. Early '80s music was anodyne, argues Matos, so boring that the entire record industry slumped. The late '80s became almost a parody of themselves, with trends that were fresh in '84 played out and watered down. There have been other unusually great years in popular music: 1955, 1967, 1977, 1993, 2007, 2014. There was something towering about 1984, though. Consider all the absolute icons who were at their peak popularity and influence. Prince, Madonna, and Bruce Springsteen all released their signature albums that year; while Michael Jackson, David Bowie, and the Police toured behind smashes released in 1983 or late '82. Veterans of the '70s (Hall and Oates, Genesis, Foreigner, the solo Eagles) and even '60s (Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder) were finding fresh new sounds. Angular post-punks like Talking Heads and New Order were pushing pop, while grizzly blues acts like ZZ Top and all number of hair-metal outfits were bursting out of speakers. Hip-hop hit the mainstream, and alternative rock (R.E.M., U2) was starting to do the same. Dance music was booming, with even Springsteen delving into 12" remixes (though not before fortifying himself with a 12-pack, notes Matos); while country music unapologetically (and very literally) went Vegas. Somehow, 1984 became the year that everyone seemed to get together and push toward the mainstream...and the result was a pop music fan's dream, the likes of which we're not apt to live through again. I reviewed Can't Slow Down for The Current.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Shari Suarez

    If you're an 80's kid like me you will absolutely love this look into the music of 1984. According to the author, 1984 changed pop music forever. This book introduces us to all the favorite artists of the 80's and gives us great insights into their work and sometimes their personal lives. Madonna, Sting, Duran Duran, Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Lionel Richie, they're all there. I found it fascinating if a bit choppy in places. If you're an 80's kid like me you will absolutely love this look into the music of 1984. According to the author, 1984 changed pop music forever. This book introduces us to all the favorite artists of the 80's and gives us great insights into their work and sometimes their personal lives. Madonna, Sting, Duran Duran, Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Lionel Richie, they're all there. I found it fascinating if a bit choppy in places.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lovely Loveday

    Can't Slow Down: How 1984 Became Pop's Blockbuster Year by Michaelangelo Matos reflects a reality that's become increasingly clear as the decades pass. A book that does not feel like a rapid-fire shooting of fact after fact, but instead a real story. If you’re a fan of Billboard’s Hot 100, you need to read Can’t Slow Down.   Can't Slow Down: How 1984 Became Pop's Blockbuster Year by Michaelangelo Matos reflects a reality that's become increasingly clear as the decades pass. A book that does not feel like a rapid-fire shooting of fact after fact, but instead a real story. If you’re a fan of Billboard’s Hot 100, you need to read Can’t Slow Down.  

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bargain Sleuth Book Reviews

    For more reviews, visit www.bargain-sleuth.com. Music really is the soundtrack to our lives. I have six older brothers and sisters who were all into music. So were my parents. I love all kinds of music, but I grew up most definitely a part of the MTV generation. I was eleven years old in 1984, so obviously, I’m the perfect demographic for Can’t Slow Down: How 1984 Became Pop’s Blockbuster Year.. I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest opinion of this book, which is released December 8, 202 For more reviews, visit www.bargain-sleuth.com. Music really is the soundtrack to our lives. I have six older brothers and sisters who were all into music. So were my parents. I love all kinds of music, but I grew up most definitely a part of the MTV generation. I was eleven years old in 1984, so obviously, I’m the perfect demographic for Can’t Slow Down: How 1984 Became Pop’s Blockbuster Year.. I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest opinion of this book, which is released December 8, 2020 by Hachette Books. You don’t have to be a child of the 1980’s to enjoy Can’t Slow Down: How 1984 Became Pop’s Blockbuster Year. The book really isn’t just about 1984; there’s quite a good history of music-making and record and radio play of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. I worked in radio in high school and college and played all sorts of music on several different types of stations: A/C (Adult Contemporary), CHR (Contemporary Hit Rock) and AOR (Album Oriented Rock). This book covers them all and more. The reason 1984 was such a big year for music can be whittled down to one thing: Michael Jackson’s Thriller. It was released in 1983, but most of the singles and videos and awards came in 1984. The record in all forms sold more than 23 million copies in a few short years. And Michael Jackson videos did something else: the broke the color barrier on MTV. Before Jackson, there simply weren’t any African American (the author used the term Black because that was what we said at the time) artists on the hit-making music channel. In 1984, cassettes were the number one source of music for people in the United States and UK. And another, new format was making in-roads: the compact disc. Players sold for hundreds of dollars, and a disc could set you back $20 (as opposed to vinyl or cassette which were around $10). I had no idea CDs were that old; I thought we were early adopters when we got our first CD player in the late 1980’s. No band or artist of 1984 was left untouched. Everything from Duran Duran’s Seven and the Ragged Tiger and Arena to Willie Nelson’s duet with Julio Iglesias, to Wynton Marsalis’ Hot House Flowers to Run D.M.C.‘s crossover success, Can’t Slow Down covers the breadth of popular music in the United States and U.K. Once in a while the author reveals his opinions on artists, which I found jarring and unnecessary. He did not like Huey Lewis & the News, whose Sports would spawn four #1 hits. He also didn’t think much of Steve Perry from Journey's voice or Wham!’s Make it Big, even though it was a top seller that year. The author interviewed many of the artists. He seemed to like Van Halen a lot and spent a lot of time talking to “Edward.” Apparently sometime after fading from the spotlight, Eddie Van Halen wanted to make it clear he was grown up and preferred his formal name. The influence of Van Halen making heavy metal more accessible is covered in detail, as well as the spectacular exit of David Lee Roth after scoring big on the charts. Some other bands that are covered include Def Leppard, Bon Jovi (and the fascinating fact that all the members of Bon Jovi were, from the first contract signed, considered employees of Jon Bon Jovi), Phil Collins, who was everywhere that year, to Twisted Sister, Ozzy Osbourne, Prince’s breakthrough year with Purple Rain, both the soundtrack and the movie, R.E.M., Los Lobos, Culture Club, The Go-Go’s, Madonna, ZZ Top, Cyndi Lauper, Bruce Springsteen, Chicago, Don Henley & Glenn Frey’s solo success (Don Henley’s Boys of Summer has to be one of my all-time favorite songs and videos), Pat Benatar, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Lionel Richie’s monster year including performing at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, just to name a few. It was the year of soundtracks, besides Purple Rain there was Footloose and Ghostbusters, which were mega hits. There’s even mention that Ghostbusters ripped off Huey Lewis and the News’ I Want a New Drug, and there was a lawsuit. Twenty years later, the producers admitted they’d used Lewis and the News’ record as temp music and lobbied for the band to write the theme song, which they turned down. The suit was eventually settled out of court, quietly, by the end of the year. Nineteen eighty-four is also the year of Nikki Six of Motley Crue’s fatal car crash in which he was driving drunk and only suffered minor injuries, as well as Def Leppard’s drummer Rick Allen’s accident where he lost his left arm. The Beach Boy’s Dennis Wilson died while surfing, and the irony was not lost that he was the only Beach Boy who actually surfed. Can’t Slow Down also talks about the more socially-conscious efforts of Band-Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas, and continued into 1985 to cover USA for Africa’s We Are the World and Live Aid in the summer of 1985, but the author discounted all the older groups, calling Live Aid’s primary legacy was “this veritable golden parachute, putting the media spotlight back on acts with nothing to contribute to the present day,” which I thought was a rather cynical take on the day. If you’re a fan of Billboard’s Hot 100, you’d be wise to pick up Can’t Slow Down to get a look at what radio and record playing was like in the mid-1980’s. If you’re Gen-X like me, it’s a great trip down memory lane, with mentions of groups long-forgotten.

  7. 5 out of 5

    JennieWithTheBooks☮️(◕‿◕✿)

    In a way, I was one of those privileged kids back in 1984 ... in 1984, I had a cassette deck that could record straight off the radio!! My parents bought me a top of the line Panasonic boombox for my 16th birthday ... pop stars really were our royalty in 1984.  Music historian Michaelangelo Matos’ book, doesn't just highlight one artist, nor one scene, nor one genre, but rather a moment itself ... a very long moment to be sure. As Matos readily admits in his introduction, his story frequently spi In a way, I was one of those privileged kids back in 1984 ... in 1984, I had a cassette deck that could record straight off the radio!! My parents bought me a top of the line Panasonic boombox for my 16th birthday ... pop stars really were our royalty in 1984.  Music historian Michaelangelo Matos’ book, doesn't just highlight one artist, nor one scene, nor one genre, but rather a moment itself ... a very long moment to be sure. As Matos readily admits in his introduction, his story frequently spills outside the boundaries of the calendar year in question, but it works. He no doubt rigorously researched the material for all 400+ pages. What the reader winds up with is a vivid picture of the very moments when pop was remaking itself, and the culture at large ... one hit at a time!! Somehow, 1984 became the year that everyone seemed to get together and push toward the mainstream...and the result was a pop music fan's dream, the likes of which we're not apt to live through again. Can’t Slow Down is a sweeping, roundtable history, at which Duran Duran sit alongside the Judds, who sit alongside the Minutemen, who sit alongside Rubén Blades, who sits alongside Metallica … you get the picture?? It’s also a carefully researched and remarkably ambitious work that immediately takes a place on the shelf of indispensable books about music in the 1980's. It’s become increasingly common to look back on the music of the era as the sound of bygone consensus, especially following the deaths of 1980's icons. I'm left feeling rather nostalgic tonight ... I do think a trip down "memory 🎶 music 🎶 lane" might be in store ... the kids might not be too happy with me ... 4 SOLID GOLD ⭐⭐⭐⭐ on this one!!  

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kera (featherboundbooks)

    I would first like to point out that I had not yet been born in 1984, instead coming into this world a whole three years later in '87, so that would make me more of a '90s kid... But, that didn't impact the enjoyment I had while reading this. This is a very in-depth and fun look at the impactful year of 1984 and all it brought to the world in the way of music and how that year's music has gone on to impact so much more. In this meticulously researched book (which is pretty big, by the way) we get I would first like to point out that I had not yet been born in 1984, instead coming into this world a whole three years later in '87, so that would make me more of a '90s kid... But, that didn't impact the enjoyment I had while reading this. This is a very in-depth and fun look at the impactful year of 1984 and all it brought to the world in the way of music and how that year's music has gone on to impact so much more. In this meticulously researched book (which is pretty big, by the way) we get a deep dive into everything American pop through the course of the year and how that has gone one to change the game. This year was so effectual in pop culture that we still hear echoes of it today. This is going to put you in such an 80's pop music mood. I suggest you set yourself up with a 1984 music playlist to enjoy while you read this. Some of my favorite highlights were the origin story of Run-D.M.C., the focus on Michael Jackson and sections about Prince, the ultimate legend!! One thing I really liked about this book was it didn't feel like a rapid fire shooting of fact after fact after fact, but instead a real story... Matos does a great job keeping you engaged and present inside the year of 1984. This was a really enjoyable book that I will admit took me some time to get through. But it was so worth it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Meeya Awbay

    3.5 stars So much of nostalgia is rooted in popular culture, particularly in the music that encapsulates this time. The 1980s was certainly a fascinating decade for music with a rise in new genres, the death of old ones, and of course, the rise of MTV and concurrently, some of the world's biggest superstars. I wasn't even born in 1984 (but came along two years later, so I grew up with a lot of the music/artists mentioned in this book). I learned so much from reading this; little nuances, funny sto 3.5 stars So much of nostalgia is rooted in popular culture, particularly in the music that encapsulates this time. The 1980s was certainly a fascinating decade for music with a rise in new genres, the death of old ones, and of course, the rise of MTV and concurrently, some of the world's biggest superstars. I wasn't even born in 1984 (but came along two years later, so I grew up with a lot of the music/artists mentioned in this book). I learned so much from reading this; little nuances, funny stories about performers, fast facts about who wrote and recorded what with who, etc. In that regard, this thoroughly-researched book was a lot of fun to read, especially for a music fan like myself. At times however, this book was almost too detailed, trying to accomplish far too much. I zoned out during some parts that rambled on a bit too long. I also found that the structure, which in itself was unique and intricately planned, did lend itself often to unnecessary repetition of facts and ideas, and was a bit disorienting. If you are into pop culture history, most definitely read this. It's overall interesting, in-depth, and even if you're even a *little* bit of a music snob, you'll appreciate Matos' acerbic wit. Having said that, be warned that it is dense and can definitely feel disorienting.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I graduated college, met the man I was going to marry, and moved thousands of miles to live with him in 1984, so the music of that year is very near and dear to my heart. I had high hopes for this book, but was disappointed to find it wasn't much more than a summary of numerous articles written about the key artists of the year. Matos does set the beginning of each chapter at a specific events of the year, cataloging them in chronological order. But despite the stories (mostly well known) about I graduated college, met the man I was going to marry, and moved thousands of miles to live with him in 1984, so the music of that year is very near and dear to my heart. I had high hopes for this book, but was disappointed to find it wasn't much more than a summary of numerous articles written about the key artists of the year. Matos does set the beginning of each chapter at a specific events of the year, cataloging them in chronological order. But despite the stories (mostly well known) about artists like Prince, Madonna, Springsteen, Run DMC, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Duran Duran, Culture Club, Van Halen, etc. etc., there's not really a through line, or a thesis that explains why 1984 was such a high water mark for many of these artists. It took me several weeks to read this book and I don't feel like I learned much, although it did send me down the rabbit hole several times to find songs I had long forgotten. Recommended only for Boomers like myself who want to escape the dreary reality of 2021 for a while and remember when our biggest concern was whether MTV would play our favorite video before we fell asleep on the couch.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Martin Maenza

    This book centers around the music scene of 1984, though it actually starts the summer before and culminates with Live Aid the summer after. This two year period corresponds directly to my freshman and sophomore years of college, a time where music played a big part in my world. It was a time for growth, discovery, freedom, re-invention and more for me - and that was very much mirrored by the music. The author frames each of the chapters around a music event, and then skillfully brings in the ban This book centers around the music scene of 1984, though it actually starts the summer before and culminates with Live Aid the summer after. This two year period corresponds directly to my freshman and sophomore years of college, a time where music played a big part in my world. It was a time for growth, discovery, freedom, re-invention and more for me - and that was very much mirrored by the music. The author frames each of the chapters around a music event, and then skillfully brings in the bands and artists related to each one. He gives a brief history of how they got to that moment and then how that moment played into 1984, a year of music culmination. The book is very well-researched. The bibliography notes are nearly 100 pages unto themselves. The author clearly did his homework, and the end product reflects that. As a music nerd myself, this book did not contain as many “new” revelations for me as others have - however, it did weave the tapestry across all the genres to show who was who and what was what during the milestone year of music.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Terrance

    Incredibly well-researched, organized, and balanced. I wanted to set myself against this book at its outset for several reasons: Matos has written about the things I have always wanted to write about (Prince, 80's music, etc.), and my favorite year of music is 1985, not 1984. However, Matos won me over when I was fully able to see his meticulous methodology. He zooms in and out to give both the microscopic and the telescopic viewpoints. I also realized that 1984 was the boom year of pop music, w Incredibly well-researched, organized, and balanced. I wanted to set myself against this book at its outset for several reasons: Matos has written about the things I have always wanted to write about (Prince, 80's music, etc.), and my favorite year of music is 1985, not 1984. However, Matos won me over when I was fully able to see his meticulous methodology. He zooms in and out to give both the microscopic and the telescopic viewpoints. I also realized that 1984 was the boom year of pop music, whereas the reason that 1985 is my favorite is that it was a year of deviance from the mainstream in myriad ways. A book well worth exploring, not only for nostalgia's sake, but also for historical merit.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    I was so excited to receive a copy of Can't Slow Down for review from NetGalley and Hachette. Not just about pop, Can't Slow Down is a insanely well researched book, delving into rap, country, metal, reggae and other genres. 1984 was just about the time I started discovering music on my own, and I definitely enjoyed this educational trip down memory lane. To be honest, I probably could have read this a lot faster if I hadn't been compelled to head to YouTube to queue up a few dozen music videos I was so excited to receive a copy of Can't Slow Down for review from NetGalley and Hachette. Not just about pop, Can't Slow Down is a insanely well researched book, delving into rap, country, metal, reggae and other genres. 1984 was just about the time I started discovering music on my own, and I definitely enjoyed this educational trip down memory lane. To be honest, I probably could have read this a lot faster if I hadn't been compelled to head to YouTube to queue up a few dozen music videos during each reading session -- not that I'm complaining! If you're not a music nerd this may not be the book for you, but if you're a fan, definitely check it out. I would love to read more books like this about other years.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    There's lots of great information in this look at pop music in 1984. However, it is often organized in such a scattershot fashion, it's a bit of a chore to read. For example, a chapter set at the Grammy Awards flits about as if there were some literary equivalent of ADHD. I think there's a really good case to be made for 1984 being a truly signpost year in pop music history, and this book offers plenty of exhibits. But this book doesn't effectively find a way to build this evidence (so to speak) There's lots of great information in this look at pop music in 1984. However, it is often organized in such a scattershot fashion, it's a bit of a chore to read. For example, a chapter set at the Grammy Awards flits about as if there were some literary equivalent of ADHD. I think there's a really good case to be made for 1984 being a truly signpost year in pop music history, and this book offers plenty of exhibits. But this book doesn't effectively find a way to build this evidence (so to speak) into a coherent summation that brings this premise home. Of course, this might just be a choice made by the author, but it made the book a slight disappointment, in some respects. Still, I'm glad I read it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    1984 was the year I fully committed to "rock" music (really Top 40 radio, which gloriously had all types of music), so I was predisposed to find this book interesting. I wasn't prepared for how interesting it was, though. I learned a bunch of new things and thought the format of weaving the stories of dozens and dozens of artists around bigger events worked very well. It even ends (smartly) with the coda of "We Are the World" and Live Aid. I turned 13 that year and got my Sony Walkman for Christ 1984 was the year I fully committed to "rock" music (really Top 40 radio, which gloriously had all types of music), so I was predisposed to find this book interesting. I wasn't prepared for how interesting it was, though. I learned a bunch of new things and thought the format of weaving the stories of dozens and dozens of artists around bigger events worked very well. It even ends (smartly) with the coda of "We Are the World" and Live Aid. I turned 13 that year and got my Sony Walkman for Christmas along with my first 5 tapes, but I bought some albums and a ton of 45s that year, while listening to WLS in Chicago as much as possible. Just more context for why I quite enjoyed dipping in and out of this book for a couple weeks.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Gentile

    What a ridiculously comprehensive look at the most definitive year in pop music. Each chapter provided a vivid snapshot of the industry trends, technological innovations, and larger-than-life personalities that ruled the MTV-era and shaped the social, economic and cultural landscape for decades to come. And it often uncovered some non-obvious insights on everything from shifting radio formats to ticket sales and concert promotion and broader, changing views of race, gender and sexuality.. More b What a ridiculously comprehensive look at the most definitive year in pop music. Each chapter provided a vivid snapshot of the industry trends, technological innovations, and larger-than-life personalities that ruled the MTV-era and shaped the social, economic and cultural landscape for decades to come. And it often uncovered some non-obvious insights on everything from shifting radio formats to ticket sales and concert promotion and broader, changing views of race, gender and sexuality.. More books like this please!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nan O'Leary

    The central idea of this book is that the year 1984 was one of the most influential years in music history. And the author more than proves it. From Pop to Rock, World Music, Country, R&B, Rap the rise of Compact Disc, MTV, this book encompasses everything. Matos has done an incredible of research, the footnotes pages number well over a hundred. Plus the way he frames his narrative, centering on one event each month for different musical formats, covering the musicians, the songs and their impac The central idea of this book is that the year 1984 was one of the most influential years in music history. And the author more than proves it. From Pop to Rock, World Music, Country, R&B, Rap the rise of Compact Disc, MTV, this book encompasses everything. Matos has done an incredible of research, the footnotes pages number well over a hundred. Plus the way he frames his narrative, centering on one event each month for different musical formats, covering the musicians, the songs and their impacts. A great book for a child of the 80's, and just a great book in general.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    Can't Slow Down by Michaelangelo Matos is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late November. The moments and locations of music-related events in 1984 that Matos has researched and presented in a perhaps too well-rounded way. It's kind of like being led through a hall of mirrors by someone with very long arms and you've got to be deft in what you read before getting lost in the glint and misdirection. Can't slow down, indeed. Can't Slow Down by Michaelangelo Matos is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late November. The moments and locations of music-related events in 1984 that Matos has researched and presented in a perhaps too well-rounded way. It's kind of like being led through a hall of mirrors by someone with very long arms and you've got to be deft in what you read before getting lost in the glint and misdirection. Can't slow down, indeed.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This is my favorite type of nonfiction, where you keep having to stop reading to look stuff up and watch videos (see also: Sunny Days by David Kamp, Feel Free by Zadie Smith, Chuck Klosterman X). If you were a preteen in 1984, you are the perfect audience for this--it's a weird and fun mix of learning and remembering. Matos and I will just have to agree to disagree about Journey. This is my favorite type of nonfiction, where you keep having to stop reading to look stuff up and watch videos (see also: Sunny Days by David Kamp, Feel Free by Zadie Smith, Chuck Klosterman X). If you were a preteen in 1984, you are the perfect audience for this--it's a weird and fun mix of learning and remembering. Matos and I will just have to agree to disagree about Journey.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. An amazing nostalgic trip for someone who lived through and started owning cassettes in 1984. Yet there's no through-line or theme to the book other than chapter by chapter vignettes of the bands or events of 1984. The names of producers and session musicians overwhelm the narrative and offer too many people to focus on. I loved the Minnesota references and in-person interviews but the book feels disjointed. An amazing nostalgic trip for someone who lived through and started owning cassettes in 1984. Yet there's no through-line or theme to the book other than chapter by chapter vignettes of the bands or events of 1984. The names of producers and session musicians overwhelm the narrative and offer too many people to focus on. I loved the Minnesota references and in-person interviews but the book feels disjointed.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Keljo

    While there was a little repetition of some facts and stories, this detailed overview of the music scene around the year 1984 was fascinating, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has an attachment to any music from that time. You will learn something new and enjoy hearing stories you have heard before. The reader of the audiobook did a fantastic job as well.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jodi

    Bleh. Boring, redundant, disjointed, and spends more time talking about Phil Collins' "Against All Odds" than it does about The Go-Go's the first all-woman band to write, record, and play the instruments on a Billboard #1 song, but yes please tell me again where that one guy who produced that one record went to high school. Bleh. Boring, redundant, disjointed, and spends more time talking about Phil Collins' "Against All Odds" than it does about The Go-Go's the first all-woman band to write, record, and play the instruments on a Billboard #1 song, but yes please tell me again where that one guy who produced that one record went to high school.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Patti

    Before ever hearing about this book, I had long decided that 1984 was the best pop culture year of the 1980s, especially the movies and the music. This book gave me a behind the scenes look at the music of the year. I really enjoyed the trip back to the 80s!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lydia Wallace

    The Great New Book About the Year That Changed Pop Michaelangelo Matos’ Can’t Slow Down tells music history the way it’s actually lived. This bought all the memories of my young years back to me. I still listen and love this memory. Great pictures.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chris Pippin

    A better subtitle for this book would be "Everything That Happened in Music in the Early 80s." It is way too long and goes into detail on such artists as Wynton Marsalis, Husker Du, and obscure bands like the Style Council. A better subtitle for this book would be "Everything That Happened in Music in the Early 80s." It is way too long and goes into detail on such artists as Wynton Marsalis, Husker Du, and obscure bands like the Style Council.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    DNF @ chapter 6. There's nothing inherently wrong with this book, it's just if you don't already have an interest in the music or grew up in the era, this book is not for you. The facts and information was detailed, but it didn't really drag me in and get me excited about this world. DNF @ chapter 6. There's nothing inherently wrong with this book, it's just if you don't already have an interest in the music or grew up in the era, this book is not for you. The facts and information was detailed, but it didn't really drag me in and get me excited about this world.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sherry Brown

    This book was educating,and fun! I enjoyed the pictures and reminiscing the past!! I really enjoyed it a lot!!!!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Well written account of that musical era, but there does seem to be a tad of sentimental bias (which is alright).

  29. 4 out of 5

    Melisa Quick Little Reader

    Such a fun book for pop culture fans of the 80’s! So juicy!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ives Phillips

    Stopped at 17% because I just simply could not keep an interest in this book.

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