My teen years were filled with books and music and wishing that I could have a cool boyfriend like all of my friends [they all just wanted to be my friend and not actually, you know, date me - much like Mr. Sheffield's teen years] and this just was such a nostalgic read for me. And a whole chapter on Morrissey and The Smiths? Yes please. Great, fantastic read. People discredit the music of the 80s.
Others dismiss New Wave and 80s dance as fashion-and-video-obsessed crud. This is also the music I grew up with. He writes humorous and touching stories about what it meant to him. He lets it People discredit the music of the 80s. He lets it be what it is, and he talks about what it maws like to grow up with Psychedelic Furs, the mainstreaming of hip hop, ABC, heavy metal hair bands, the birth of Goth, and the corporate selling of rock-and-roll and pop music.
And Sheffield really makes it personal. He knows that Duran Duran spoke and still speak a language that makes girls scream. This band of wild boys were and are still sexual and slick and over-styled and slightly stupid. And yet this music has made an emotional connection. Sheffield talks about what all the cheesy 80s music taught him growing up, how it shaped his views of everything, mostly relationships.
He taps into how a song can take you back, how it can connect you to your history, and how it can define you. This is our music, he says, in funny and personal short essays about dating dangerous girls and introducing his year-old grandpa to Morrissey. Rock was about rebellion; pop was about popular culture.
In the 80s, popular culture was about labels and corporate sales and Reaganite politics and polish. In the middle of all this commerce, though pop music was also constantly pushing sexual and gender barriers, and it was about the birth of countercultures rap, hip-hop, Goth, trance , and how they became mainstream. The 80s gave us Madonna, who took the idea of reinvention and made it a pop art form.
Finally, the catchy 80s tunes were about co-opting the simple musical structure that old folk music and then the Beatles formulated and making songs that were hooky, synth-laden and hugely, emotionally merchandisable — buttons, t-shirts, hats, cassingles, CDs, books, Smash Hits, Tiger Beat, posters, pens, doodads and knickknacks! Art should never be sellable, apparently. Yet we shop at Costco for more crap, we make sure our kids get the latest fashion, and we buy bigger houses for more stuff.
Corporations hire and fire us, we argue for bigger paychecks, we get the latest toys — welcome to America, which runs on money.
My Autistic Brother's Quest for Love
The music of the 80s accepted that while slyly having Boy George in drag, dancing in a muumuu. Duran Duran spent millions on videos that were visually stunning and without much logical sense, just like their songs are fun, but their lyrics are obscure and weird. Bands like The Cure and Depeche Mode were building the images Tim Burton would make the cornerstone of his own brand in the 90s and 00s. My sisters and I know all the words to every early Tears for Fears song, because we sang them in my bedroom, listening to the 45s over and over. And I remember how much of a blast I had discovering The Reflex.
And I remember my first real slow dance, making out to Save a Prayer. Like so totally, I do. Feb 02, Matt rated it really liked it Shelves: from-mary.
I only wish I could blame my poor taste in music on my three Irish sisters Hey, it was the 80's and nobody mocked Culture Club or Michael Jackson until many years later! How I happened to be there is a story to be shared over beers I went because frankly I had nothing better to do that Wednesday night and I still harbored a secret love for the music.
What I found was that several thousand Italians, plus ALL of my American counterparts, got into it unabashedly -- yelling out lyrics to all of Duran Duran's greatest hits. The band was not ashamed so how could we be? Yes, even 20 years past their prime they were rocking New Wave-ing? The smell of manure couldn't damper our spirits, nor could the male belly-dancer just outside the stadium uh oh, Shakiro!
All was good because we had Simon, John, Nick, Roger, and Andy ripping through a series of awesome songs. Okay, Andy had left the band by then but I conveniently ignored that fact in the throes of being a temporary super-fan. Yes, I loved this book - primarily for the funny sometimes painful memories it dredged up. Sheffield capture the era and ethos brilliantly! And now for a tangent - Perhaps my favorite nugget was completely unrelated to music. I love the part where Sheffield called out the use of the phrase, "No worries!
When I was a sullen teenager, we had to make do wtih the vastly inferior "whatever". It's a vaguely mystical way of saying "I hear your mouth make noise, saying something that I plan to ignore. Oct 15, Mosh rated it it was ok. After reading Sheffield's first book, I was looking forward to reading this one. I thought his writing style evoked deep emotion, and - being a child of the '80s myself - I expected to identify with many of his experiences. We remember many parts of the decade quite differently.
And he tends to be dismissive in a casual manner: "The Reflex" was Duran Duran's "fir After reading Sheffield's first book, I was looking forward to reading this one. And he tends to be dismissive in a casual manner: "The Reflex" was Duran Duran's "first and biggest U.
He also spends much of the book relishing, explaining, and defending his love of synth-pop new wave music. He tries to simultaneously put it across as a fleeting pleasure AND a tragically misunderstood art form. I'm not going to call him a music snob when he cites a little known song by even lesser known band; I've done the same thing. But he does so in a way that tries to make those bands seem greater than so many others. But I can almost guarantee that the vast majority of the world can't name a second song by Ratt.
That doesn't make Ratt a great band or me a better person because I liked them. Hello doucheness, my old friend. I've come to suck with you again. Oh, and given how much of the book he spends telling how much he learned about girls - from his sisters, from the girls in Spain, from Madonna This seems to beg the question of whether he learned anything or just heard it.
The one redeeming chapter, though, is the one where Sheffield discusses his grandfather. THAT chapter has the depth, emotion, and honesty that his first book had. Because it's not about telling us what the world was feeling; it's about what HE was feeling. And on that account, I will never doubt or criticize him. Jul 07, Em rated it really liked it.
Maybe if the songs he chose to frame each chapter around were nearer and dearer to my heart this would have been a 5 star, but probably because they weren't, I valued the stories even more.
Quest for Love: True Stories of Passion and Purity
Duran Duran was my first big concert in 6th grade for the Seven and Ragged Tiger tour thanks mom for letting me go! I guess I have some musicians I adore deeply and squishily through all their weirdness, like Prince, and I certainly know those girls he's talking about so the narrative rings true. I liked his little stories that are somehow connected to each chapter's song or its video, his quirky way of making me laugh out loud while reading the book in public places and the heartfelt obsession he communicates with every iota of pop culture of the 's.
He knows it's bad, but that's part of his fascination--the unself-conscious self consciousness, the totally sincere fakeness, the peroxide and the pleather I'm a little mad that Rob stole my book idea though I have a graphic novel version of my own that I've roughly sketched out that somehow relates to concerts from the 80's, one being Duran Duran and another being Culture Club that same year and the homemade leopard print t-shirt my sister sewed from a bedsheet and bleached spot jeans Dec 11, Aimee rated it really liked it. Talking to Girls About Duran Duran is Rob Sheffield's personal story about being a teenager in the 80's and the effect 80s music had on his life.
He begins the book when he is 13 years old and each chapter's title is a song from the 80s.