music notes · stuff I read

Talking to Girls About Duran Duran

I found Rob Sheffield a couple years ago when his first memoir, Love is a Mix Tape, hit B&N’s Discover Great New Writers display.  I loved it and sobbed my way through it on a lonely Valentine’s Day.

Rob has a new book, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran.  I have a friend, Beth, who works at the Park Slope B&N where Rob was doing a signing.  She got me a signed copy – score!

Like Love is a Mix Tape, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran is organized around a musical theme.  Each chapter progresses through the 1980s using a group or song Rob related to during his formative years. [Rob is about ten years old than I am; he’s at the beginning of the GenX/MTV generation and I’m at the tail end.]  He talks about how his four sisters (especially his youngest sister, Caroline) shared his musical explorations and even led him to new groups as they taped back and forth.  Rob looks at the New Wave one-hit-wonder phenomenon using groups like Haysi Fantayzee (singers of “Shiny, Shiny”).  The fun of singing eighties hits at karaoke bars is discussed.  He leaves off after looking at the rise of NKOTB and rap in the early 1990s.

I really like Rob’s writing style on the Pop Life blog at Rolling Stone and it carries over into his books.  If you love the eighties, please, please read Rob’s book.

After I finished Duran Duran I spent an entertaining afternoon putting together a playlist on iTunes using the songs from the chapter headings of Duran Duran.  I wasn’t able to come up with a couple of songs (“Shiny, Shiny” being one of them) but I rounded out the list with a few extra Duran Duran songs.  Appropriately enough.

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