Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut by Rob Sheffield

With each chapter titled by a song, music critic Rob Sheffield uses this memoir to tells stories about his sisters, their influence on his listening (and fashion), and his ongoing affection for 1980s pop music.

His summer as an ice cream truck driver (titled not with Van Halen's "Ice Cream Man" but with Prince's "Purple Rain"), his almost-seduction by a former teacher, his love of cassingles, a season in the discos of Spain, his high school wrestling career - these are all stories told with nostalgia through their links to songs of the 1980s.

You don't have to love the music to understand the book, but it helps (it also helps that I'm roughly the same age as the author with a similar familiarity to John Hughes movies and MTV) But Sheffield is a guy who writes about music and its effect on our emotions in a really accessible way (see also Love is a Mixtape). This is really a series of stories about growing up and figuring things out.

He's a brave man to admit some of his more bubblegum proclivities, to sing the praises of recreational karaoke, and to analyze what it is about Duran Duran that makes them so irresistible (along with their baffling career longevity). Also, it's adorable the way he dotes on his sisters.

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