You Too Can Learn From the 80's. Sep 29, 2011
by Carl S
Music journalist Rob Sheffield has put together a chronological series of essays based on pop tunes from the 1980s that he feels define some major turning points in his life as he came of age in that decade.
One would think that such a limited time-frame would exclude those of us who experienced adolescence earlier or were born later, but this is not the case.
We are all aware of the major players in this game: The Go-Go's, Culture Club, Hall & Oates, Prince and Madonna and, if we find ourselves floundering with L'Trimm or Haysi Fantaysee, Sheffield stands by to throw us a lifeline from his vast footlocker of pop music trivia.
His references to early MTV bear surprising parallels for those of us from the birth-of-FM-radio generation. In fact he transcends the whole idea of generations by taking us back to our own eras when the answers to life's most difficult questions could be found on the radio. We all have a store of emotional and autobiographical touchstones, these are Rob's and he explores them with a sensitivity and wit that brings the reader into the picture with him.
And the guy can turn a phrase. His stream-of-consciousness style rapping has a rhythm as infectious as any good dance tune and his wide-ranging references, from Lord Byron to Baba Ram Dass and back, are esoteric enough to make us feel smart while accessible enough to let us in on the joke.
So, if you can't tell John Taylor from Nick Rhodes don't despair, Rob Sheffield will see you through, and let you in on the secret to proper toilet paper placement when entertaining female guests as well- "They just DO".