Part of the reason I am here today, ladies and gentlemen, is because of one Mister Rob Sheffield.
You may have read his work in Rolling Stone or his first book, “Love is a Mixtape.” You’ve probably seen him on one of those VH1 countdowns, like the top one-hit wonders, best songs of the 80s or the best break-up songs Taylor Swift has written about whatever guy just looked at her.
For years I watched him on those shows and read his reviews. I wanted to know as much as he knew about pop music and pop culture and be as witty about it as he was. So when he released “Love is a Mixtape” – which chronicles the love story between himself and his first wife, who died tragically young, and how music was part of their relationship and his grief – I read it immediately and loved it.
But his new book, a collection of essays called “Talking to Girls About Duran Duran,” is probably my favorite. It’s been out for a while but I’ve just finished it, and I love it.
In it, he uses songs and artists to talk about different aspects of his life.
Duran Duran and his relationships with girls – from girlfriends to crushes to how he relates with his sisters – is a focus, but doesn’t take up the whole book.
For instance, there are chapters on his Catholicism and Madonna’s “Crazy for You”; karaoke adventures and Chaka Khan’s “I Feel For You”; Prince’s “Purple Rain” and his job as an ice cream truck driver; Big Daddy Kane’s “Ain’t No Half Steppin” and his relationship with his grandfather (a favorite chapter of mine); his relationship with his first wife and L’Trimm’s “Cars with the Boom.”
In just a few words, he can make you laugh out loud, shed a tear and agree with whatever insanely true point he’s making about a song, or a John Hughes movie, or MTV, or whatever. He opens the door to all of these memories by way of this music, and it’s cool to see how someone else relates to a band or song you love – or maybe even hate. I like Madonna, but his chapter about her made me see her in an entirely new light. I can definitely appreciate that.
I bought “Talking to Girls About Duran Duran” for my Nook, but you best believe I plan on buying a physical copy so I can highlight favorite phrases and paragraphs, dog-ear favorite chapters, sleep with it under my pillow every night and re-read it as often as possible.
If you love music and pop culture, this book is a must-read.