Although Rob Sheffield has worked as a music journalist for over 20 years, including serving as a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, he’s also known as the somewhat geeky guy who pops up on various VH1 music shows, such as the 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders, to share his thoughts about various songs and artists. Sheffield’s “geekness” comes across in his latest book, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man’s Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut, and that’s a good thing. Sheffield shares stories from his childhood and as a young adult and relates them to his ’80s soundtrack.
My personal favorite chapters are “Purple Rain” (Prince) where Sheffield writes about his summer as an ice cream man; “A Woman Needs Love” (Ray Parker Jr. — I had no idea Parker had a single other than Ghostbusters), in which the author learns as a boy the list of services he will be required to do as a male; and “Funky Cold Medina” (Tone Loc), about the cassette singles — or cassingles — Rob owns and loves. There’s also an amusing chapter about Hall and Oates, particularly John Oates, though I don’t think I’ve ever heard or read anyone ever consider the group as New Wave.
Not having any sisters, I really couldn’t relate to Sheffield growing up in a household with three of them. However, Sheffield’s love of his family, particularly a touching chapter about his grandfather, truly comes across.
Bottom line: If you grew up during the 1980s and like music and pop culture, especially during this period, you’ll enjoy Talking to Girls About Duran Duran.