Talking to Girls About Duran Duran
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Dec. 10, 2010
Talking to Girls About Duran Duranby Rob Sheffield
Dutton, 274 pp., $25.95
As a follow-up to his heartbreaking memoir Love Is a Mix Tape, pop culture sponge and Rolling Stone critic Rob Sheffield's latest speaks to a generational love rather than personal. There's a nostalgic whiplash in his introduction, where he posits that he learned about girls listening to us talk about Duran Duran. He doesn't talk to the girl for long before reverting back to music, making the band a placeholder rather than bearers of ancient female truths. He puts on his headphones, attaching 1980s hits ("Purple Rain") and misses (A Flock of Seagulls) to his awkward, sweet stories. Sometimes he hits, like when comparing the ritual of religious upbringing and music obsession: "It's no coincidence so many record geeks grow up Catholic – it really prepares you for that path. Praying the rosary was 20 minutes just like an album side." Elsewhere, the obscure bands he chooses to dote on (Haysi Fantayzee?) reminds readers that this is one man's very specific experience, born of a generation's broader alienated "me"-ness. As a female who prepubescently fantasized about Simon Le Bon in the "Hungry Like a Wolf" video, I wasn't expecting shared experience, but definitely some juicier gossip.