Pop Grenade

Pop Grenade

From Public Enemy to Pussy Riot - Dispatches from Musical Frontlines

Thrilling reportage from raves, riots and rebellions documents how rebels with a cause use music as a force for change.


An adrenalin-charged trip through some of the cultural flashpoints of the past few decades, Pop Grenade celebrates the power of music as a force for change. Based on first-hand, personal reportage from raves, riots and rebellions, it explores how music has been used as a weapon in struggles for liberation and attempts to create temporary paradises. From Berlin’s anarchic techno scene after the fall of the Wall to outlaw sound systems in wartime Bosnia, from Moscow during the crackdown on Pussy Riot to New York in the militant early years of hip-hop, it tells the extraordinary stories of some of the world’s most audacious musical freedom fighters, disco visionaries and rock’n’roll rebels with a cause.


Comment pieces would have you believe that protest music is dead. Matthew Collin's front-line dispatches prove otherwise... Having worked for music and youth culture magazines and also as a foreign correspondent, Matthew Collin has the perfect CV to explode this narrow definition of political music and, in this entertaining collection, he combines original reporting from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s with the wisdom of hindsight. ~ , New Statesman

The book is a fascinating journey into the worlds of social politics and popular music and the freedom fighter artists whose music and message inspired generations, the underground and movements to take effect. ~ , Louder Than War

Skilfully painted landscapes aren’t the grand total of Collin’s style - his storytelling is also dynamic, at times very witty, but always very entertaining along this vertiginous journey from one end of the musical world to another. ~ , SEEbiz.eu

Good, good stuff. Collin can write, no doubt, and evoke a scene with great mastery... What we have here are some great tales, told well. ~ Simon A. Morrison, Silent Radio

An inherently fascinating read from beginning to end, 'Pop Grenade: From Public Enemy to Pussy Riot - Dispatches from Musical Frontlines' offers a unique perspective that will prove to be as compelling as it is informed and informative. Very highly recommended for both community and academic library Pop Culture and Music History reference collections and supplemental studies lists. ~ Micah Andrew, Micah's Bookshelf, MBR Bookwatch: Midwest Book Review - July issue

Reveals how music has been a force for cultural change, rebellion and a way of creating temporary paradises… A unique insight. ~ Vice

Sparkles with a fan’s enthusiasm, yet without losing any of the critic’s astringency… The style is as arresting as the content. ~ i-D magazine

Matthew Collin has made something of a speciality of exploring and writing about places where popular culture is still a counter-culture, perceived as a threat by authorities, and therefore created and enjoyed at some risk by its practitioners and adherents… This is a smart, bracing and thoughtful book. ~ New Humanist

One of the greatest and most important books about music ever written. This is Apocalypse Now with a banging four-four beat and searing FX; an amazing collection of tales of inspirational courage and madness from the front line of popular culture. ~ Irvine Welsh

Matthew Collin has a reporter’s eye, a critic’s erudition and a fan’s passion. Whether embedded with ravers in Berlin and Bosnia or protesters in Istanbul and Moscow, he tells vivid and surprising stories about music’s capacity for resistance and change. ~ Dorian Lynskey, Author of 33 Revolutions Per Minute

Matthew Collin
Matthew Collin Matthew Collin has worked as a foreign correspondent for the BBC, Al Jazeera and Agence France-Presse, and as editor for The Big Issue, i-D ...
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