RandomAnthony's Reviews > Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut

Talking to Girls About Duran Duran by Rob Sheffield
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Jul 22, 2014

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bookshelves: music

Rob Sheffield's Talking With Girls About Duran Duran is less about Duran Duran and more about the ways boys in the 80s (and any era, really) accessed music to help them articulate what they can't quite say to girls or each other. The book also reads like the memoir of a polite, Catholic indie-rock fan who fears/adores his three sisters, sells ice cream from a truck, and really, really wants a girlfriend.

Sheffield likes to portray himself as a wuss with a weakness for shiny pop but he's way more brave than me. Never in a million years would I have admitted, at age 18, to liking Poison. No way. And Sheffield loves music all across the board, like an excited puppy, whether Debbie Gibson or Lita Ford or Big Daddy Kane. And Sheffield knows that (some) girls like excited puppies. The puppy wants to play and make the girls happy. Sheffield is all about making himself that puppy, not in a sneaky, manipulative way because (some) girls can through that act, but through a curious lack of guile. I like him. I'd pet the puppy, even if he knew 100 times more about music than me and has the balls to do karaoke Chaka Khan. Reading this book is sometimes like talking with a friend who will not let you off the hook when you say The Replacements' Tim was better than Let It Be. And although he won't be a jerk about the disagreement he'll bring it up, out of nowhere, in six months and probably worked the angles for two days after the original conversation.

The text is organized into years, with each year connected to a song/artist the author associates with that period. Sheffield's strength lies neither in writing about music or writing about teenagers, but in writing about the connection between music and teenagers. And as most teenage boys spend a lot of their time listening to music and thinking about girls, Sheffield's strengths ring as authentic. He respects the music like an acolyte but never speaks in a ponderous, academic manner. While Talking With Girls about Duran Duran treads some of the same ground as his earlier Love Is A Mix Tape, this book is lighter, of course, and more fun. Sheffield is excellent at saying important things while appearing not to say anything important all. A quick, worthwhile read.
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Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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message 1: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Okay, I'll move this up on my list... after the new Sarah Vowell...

Too many books... too too many... :)

RandomAnthony I hear you, Kim...I read this one before the Vowell because I'm twelfth in line for Vowell at the library but the Sheffield was immediately available.

message 3: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim My library doesn't have these... I had to order them but Border's had a great price on them in their online used section. :)

Michelle bought me a signed copy of the Vowell book! I love her to death.

message 4: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Fair... Rob Sheffield was a music critic, I think? Whereas Nick Hornby just loves music and soccer/football.

RandomAnthony Yes, Rob Sheffield writes for Rolling Stone, I think, and he shows up on VH1 every now and then. I've not read any Nick Hornby except for that one about suicide. That book sucked. I'm afraid to read anything else by him.

message 6: by Brad (new) - added it

Brad Just the fact that he mentions Duran Duran in the title has me hooked. Shit, I watched Ellen Degeneres twice this month because they were on her show.

message 7: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Brad gets it.

message 8: by D. (new)

D. Pow I like Sheffield's stuff in Rolling Stone. He has a hilarious deconstruction of the Rebecca Black song posted there now.

I really dig Hornby's criticism but loathe his fiction.

good review Anthony.

message 9: by Brad (new) - added it

Brad I am a huge fan of Hornby's Fever Pitch, but then I am a Gooner, so ....

message 10: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim I haven't read that one yet. I'm scared of the film version...

message 11: by Brad (new) - added it

Brad I think you really have to be an Arsenal fan, or at least a football fan, to like it.

RandomAnthony Ha, that makes sense, Brad...but I don't think I'd watch Ellen twice for any band. And thanks, Donald. I'll check out that Rebecca Black thing. There's one section of the lyrics that particularly fascinate me:

Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday
Today i-is Friday, Friday (Partyin’)
We-we-we so excited
We so excited
We gonna have a ball today

Tomorrow is Saturday
And Sunday comes after...wards
I don’t want this weekend to end

Yesterday was Thursday, today is Friday, tomorrow is Saturday and Sunday comes after? Is she worried the listener doesn't know the days of the week?

message 13: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim I bet she'll show up on Sesame Street soon...

message 14: by Shelly (new)

Shelly OK, so, this book is NOT about Duran Duran? Fuck it.

Sherry Shelly - only the intro and the last chapter.

RandomAnthony Oh, crap, Shelly, I didn't see your question, I didn't mean to blow you off. Sherry's right...the rest is about more about 80s culture, etc.

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