Sunday, July 25, 2010
Book Review: "Talking to Girls About Duran Duran" by Rob Sheffield
Rob Sheffield and I have a few things in common. Music is a defining characteristic in both of our lives (although he's a writer for Rolling Stone and I just have 15,000+ songs on my iPod) and we're both children of the 80s. (Ok, so the similarities end there.) Both topics are at the forefront of his funny new book, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut.
Sheffield, who wrote the absolutely fantastic Love is a Mixtape (one of the best books I've read this year), truly loves music. While that book chronicled his ultimately tragic relationship with his first wife, told through mix tapes (remember them?), this book paints a completely accurate picture of teenage angst, the need to be "cool" and the desire to find true love, all against a backdrop of some of the most (and least) memorable bands of the 70s and 80s. From Sheffield's obsession with all things David Bowie to his passion for "new wave" bands like The Human League and Flock of Seagulls, this book even has a chapter dedicated to "cassingles" (cassette singles), which I had more than my share of! And as a reviewer said in Entertainment Weekly, how many books do you know that have a chapter dedicated to Haysi Fantayzee? Of course, given the title of the book, he often touches on the enduring popularity of Duran Duran, and how they are a band that seems to have an unending supply of female fans. (Sheffield's theory is that while they appreciate their male fans, they cater to girls and women. And most of the men who follow their music do so for the women in their lives.)
If you enjoy music commentary as well as a healthy share of humor, pathos, anxiety and angst, pick this book up, especially if you're a conoisseur of 70s and 80s music. And definitely read Love is a Mixtape too, as that one will make you laugh, cry and want to download a ton of songs from iTunes!