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Talking to Girls About Duran DuranOne Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut

Rob Sheffield

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Talking to Girls About Duran Duran

By: Rob Sheffield

Narrarated by: Scott Shepherd

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.

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EDITOR'S PICK // New York Times Best Seller

Total File Size: 186 MB (6 files) Total Length: 6 Hours, 47 Minutes

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Rob Sheffield, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran
2010 | Label: Penguin Audio

Tales of an utter new wave dork
Rob Sheffield is adept at making fun of his younger self and enjoying himself at the same time. That’s rare. (Try it sometime.) Talking to Girls About Duran Duran is his first-person account of being an utter new wave dork, Catholic, from Boston, traversing 13 and 22, daydreaming feverishly about MTV and women — you pick the order — in the 1980s. Sheffield writes the way those videos were edited: in flashes, full of scenery changes, dense with allusions, often hilarious, and in thrall to just how long surface effects can stay with you.

Writing about his endless pining for women — on the ice-cream-truck route, as the sole boy in a mini-girl-gang in Spain, standing against walls of new wave clubs in college, watching mediocre indie rock just to get himself out of the house a little — Sheffield catches late-bloomer angst even as he comes across as someone who’s come fully out the other side. Or as out the other side as any obsessive geek can be: especially as a long-time fan, Sheffield’s Hall & Oates chapter is easily the best thing anybody has ever written about them. For many old-guard rock critics, Hall & Oates was nothing to invest in. Sheffield feels the opposite, keying in on the arc of their career and addressing a key rumor:

“One of the many fascinating things about the most successful boy-boy duo in the history of showbiz is that they are, as far as I can tell, the only act in history that became new wave. There were lots of classic rock guys who tried to make new-wave records and failed. Many other artists made a great new-wave record or two, but couldn’t or wouldn’t hack it as a full-time new wave act. Only two men pulled it off, and they pulled it off together, although (if you believe their claims) they never pulled each other off.”

Sheffield’s appeal lies in part because he isn’t mean spirited. When the claws come out (he’s not the only rock critic with an animus toward Tom Petty), it’s usually kept brief. The major exception is his excellent examination of Paul McCartney as a figure whose very stability (happily married family man living on organic Scottish farm and selling gazillions) posed a far more mundane — and therefore more frightening — example for his fans to follow than wild idols like Mick Jagger. Mostly, though Sheffield takes pleasure so seriously he wants everyone to luxuriate in it with him. He’s an obsessive yet friendly guy who learned to reach out, and reach out he does.

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