There has long been a fashion in writing about popular music to argue the significance of a single year as a pivotal moment in music history. The most convenient metaphor to capture its impact has been that of the explosion, a practice that most notably dates to Caroline Coon’s 1988: The New Wave Punk Rock Explosion (1977), which despite its title is actually about a year spanning the summers of 1976 and 1977, whose influence the author believed would still resonate even a decade later (a thesis that has certainly proven correct). More recently Jon Savage’s 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded (2016) and David Hepworth’s Never a Dull Moment: 1971 The Year that Rock Exploded (2016) have similarly evoked the explosion’s sense of dynamic rupture to underscore the power of popular music reverberating out from a single year. Michaelangelo Matos’s excellent Can’t Slow Down, however, eschews this well-worn...

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