Synopses & Reviews
Growing up in the eighties, you were surrounded by mysteries. These were the years of MTV and John Hughes movies, the era of big dreams and bigger shoulder pads. Like any teenage geek, Rob Sheffield spent the decade searching for true love and maybe a cooler haircut. Talking to Girls About Duran Duran is his tale of stumbling into adulthood with a killer soundtrack. Inept flirtations. Dumb crushes. Deplorable fashion choices. Girls, every last one of whom was madly in love with the bassist of Duran Duran.
In his first book, the national bestseller Love Is a Mix Tape, Sheffield shared a heartbreaking true story of love and grief. With Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, he returns with a smart, funny, and emotionally pitch-perfect trip through the music and memories of the eighties. As a confused teenager stranded in the suburbs, mowing lawns, and playing video games, Rob had a lot to learn about women, love, music, and himself. But he was sure his radio had all the answers, whether he was driving an ice cream truck through Boston to "Purple Rain," slam dancing to The Replacements, or pondering the implications of Madonna lyrics.
From Bowie to Bobby Brown, from hair metal to hip-hop, he loved them all. Talking to Girls About Duran Duran is a journey through pop culture of an American adolescence that will remind you of your first crush, first car, and first kiss. But it's not just a book about music. This is a book about moments in time, and the way we obsess over them through the years. Every song is a snapshot of a moment that helps form the rest of your life. Whenever you grew up, and whatever your teenage obsessions, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran brings those moments to life.
"In this tuneful coming-of-age memoir, the glamorous New Wave band Duran Duran presides spiritually over the all-consuming teenage male efforts to comprehend the opposite sex. Music journalist Sheffield (Love Is a Mix Tape) chronicles his passage through the 1980s in a series of chapters in which period groups from headliners like Roxy Music and Prince to one-hit wonders like Haysi Fantayzee of 'Shiny Shiny' semifame provides musical accompaniment to his adolescent angst. They are the soundtrack to his fumbling attempts to dance or make passes at girls, to weather a winless stint on the high school wrestling team, to survive a summer job as an ice-cream truck driver. The relationship insights he arrives at chiefly, the imperative of unquestioning submission to female whims are no more or less cogent than the song lyrics he gleans them from. The book really shines as a collection of free-form riffs on the glorious foolishness of Reagan-era entertainment the movie E.T., he writes, was about 'a sad muppet who thought he was David Bowie' and its weirdly resonant emotional impact. The result is a funny, poignant browse from a wonderful pop-culture evocateur. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A handful of rock writers can explain what they think
about music, and lots of rock writers can explain what they feel about music. What makes Rob Sheffield different is that he understands how those feelings are generated. He can turn those abstract emotions into concrete thoughts. It doesn't happen often, but sometimes the smartest guy in the room is also the funniest guy in the room...and the nicest guy...and the tallest guy...and the most vocal Chaka Khan fan. Read Talking to Girls About Duran Duran
and enter that room.
-Chuck Klosterman, New York Times bestselling author of Eating the Dinosaur and Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs
"In Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, Rob Sheffield goes deep into the '80s, into his own adolescent heart. Sheffield uses music the way some people use scripture-to elucidate and sanctify the mysteries of life. He raises teen angst into high art that is funny, charming, and profoundly pleasurable."
-Darcey Steinke, author of Easter Everywhere
"[Sheffield]'s such a funny and insightful critic... After happily wallowing in this nostalgic journey, haul out your Go-Gos tunes, and you'll soon feel the same."
"... a lighthearted coming of age story about a music-addicted teen growing up in '80s Boston, driving an ice cream truck and gobbling up all things new wave. We all have songs that serve as emotional and biographical touchstones, but Sheffield has a gift for writing about such songs and bands in a way that brings his past to vivid life."
-Dallas Morning News
"Readers who were teens during the Eighties will love Sheffield's anecdotes, insights, and odd pop-culture trivia and will find themselves humming the tunes as they read. Those who don't remember this time period will be looking up the bands to find out more. An endearing coming-of-age story, perfect for music lovers and all who feel nostalgic for the music and moments that shaped their lives."
"Sheffield is back with the same encyclopedic knowledge of pop music and touching, resonant prose in Talking to Girls About Duran Duran...incredible, almost stream-of-consciousness commentary on 1980s music."
"Much like the '80s, this book is chock-full of pure, guilty-pleasure cheese ... [but] Sheffield's writing is deeply introspective and thoughtful, not just entertaining."
-Philadelphia City Paper
"Humorous, heartbreaking, and heroic."
-Entertainment Weekly on Love Is a Mix Tape
The author of the national bestseller Love is a Mix Tape returns, with a different-but equally personal and equally universal- spin on music as memory.
No rock critic-living or dead, American or otherwise-has ever written about pop music with the evocative, hyperpoetic perfectitude of Rob Sheffield.
So said Chuck Klosterman about Love is a Mix Tape, Sheffield's paean to a lost love via its soundtrack. Now, in Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, Sheffield shares the soundtrack to his eighties adolescence.
When he turned 13 in 1980, Rob Sheffield had a lot to learn about women, love, music and himself, and in Talking to Girls About Duran Duran we get a glimpse into his transformation from pasty, geeky hermit boy into a young man with his first girlfriend, his first apartment, and a sense of the world. These were the years of MTV and John Hughes movies; the era of big dreams and bigger shoulder pads; and, like any all-American boy, this one was searching for true love and maybe a cooler haircut. It all here: Inept flirtations. Dumb crushes. Deplorable fashion choices. Members Only jackets. Girls, every last one of whom seems to be madly in love with the bassist of Duran Duran.
Sheffield's coming-of-age story is one that we all know, with a playlist that any child of the eighties or anyone who just loves music will sing along with. These songs-and Sheffield's writing-will remind readers of that first kiss, that first car, and the moments that shaped their lives.
The author of "Love Is a Mix Tape" shares the soundtrack to his 1980s adolescence. These were the years of MTV and John Hughes movies; the era of big dreams and bigger shoulder pads; and, like any all-American boy, Sheffield was searching for true love and maybe a cooler haircut.
From the bestselling author of Love Is a Mix Tape and Turn Around Bright Eyes, "a funny, insightful look at the sublime torture of adolescence".Entertainment Weekly
The 1980s meant MTV and John Hughes movies, big dreams and bigger shoulder pads, and millions of teen girls who nursed crushes on the members of Duran Duran. As a solitary teenager stranded in the suburbs, Rob Sheffield had a lot to learn about women, love, music, and himself. And he was sure his radio had all the answers.
As evidenced by the bestselling sales of Sheffield's first book, Love Is a Mix Tape, the connection between music and memory strikes a chord with readers. Talking to Girls About Duran Duran strikes that chord all over again, and is a pitch-perfect trip through '80s music-from Bowie to Bobby Brown, from hair metal to hip-hop. But this book is not just about music. It's about growing up and how every song is a snapshot of a moment that you'll remember the rest of your life.
About the Author
Rob Sheffield has been a music journalist for more than twenty years. He is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone
, where he writes about music, TV, and pop culture, and regularly appears on MTV and VH1. He is the author of the New York Times
bestseller Love Is a Mix Tape
, which has been translated into French, German, Swedish, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and other languages he cannot read. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.