Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love & Karaoke by Rob Sheffield
An Audio Book Review
Listen to an Excerpt here
“What I get out of karaoke is a little weirder than mere musical competence. It’s a love ritual that keeps me coming back, craving more, because this is where the songs are. And the songs are full of stories. Every one we sing is charged up with memories of the past or dreams of the future. Every song reminds me of good times or bad times. Yet they all hold surprises.”
The first time I got up to sing karaoke I was terrified, and then I as exhilarated. The exhilaration hit about halfway through the song, and after it was finished I found myself frantically searching the books for the “next song” to put in. It was at karaoke that I met my husband, who had been loving karaoke a lot longer and stronger than I had. Regardless, as our love grew, so did our shared love of karaoke. It is our go-to night out, one we chose to partake in the night before our wedding, and also during our first anniversary trip this year (yes, we are still kinda new marrieds, though we’ve been together longer). Due to this, and so much more, karaoke holds a very special place in my heart.
Rob Sheffield’s writing holds a special place there, as well.
When I first read Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time I was shattered in the very best kind of way. I honestly had never read anyone’s writing who connected to music the way I did, and wrote about it that way. It was magic to me, even when it was heartbreaking – and boy was it heartbreaking. I felt an instant connection that grew into a perceived kindred spirit, a music obsessive with a parochial school background who lost a spouse to death – there was a lot to feel akin to right there.
When I read Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man’s Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut I fell harder for Rob’s writing and the way he sees (and hears) the world. He wrote a book with Duran Duran in the title, one of my lifetime favorite bands, how could I resist? There was much more to it than just talking, and writing, about Duran Duran – so much more.
Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love & Karaoke is the perfect “next book” in the collection (I would say trilogy, but I am hoping for more). I was floored when I heard that Rob was writing a book themed around his love of karaoke – yet another connection. This was my first experience with an audio book of his work, and it was a delight especially since it was read by Rob himself. There is so much vulnerability in the stories he tells, made even more raw and real having them read by the author. There were times when the book made me cry, times when I was laughing hysterically, and times when I had to pull my car over to write down a song or a quote from the book.
In some ways this one was my favorite of the three, if only for the realistic happy ending (or “happy next beginning“) that Rob has found in his life. It reminds me of my own new chance at happiness I unexpectedly found in a karaoke bar. Rob gets music, feels music, the way I do and I cannot fully articulate how amazing that feels to read, and listen, to writing like that, for me. This one gets a huge “hell yes” recommendation from me.
“If all music did was bring the past alive, that would be fine. You can hide away in music and let it recapture memories of things that used to be. But music is greedy and it wants more of your heart than that. It demands the future, your future. Music wants the rest of your life. So you can’t rest easy. At any moment, a song can come out of nowhere to shake you up, jump-start your emotions, ruin your life.”
Total Eclipse of the Heart :: Bonnie Tyler
and for the fun of it:
Total Eclipse of the Heart – karaoke version