Five Questions: ‘Rolling Stone’ Critic Rob Sheffield

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Five questions: 'Rolling Stone' critic Rob Sheffield

By Korina Lopez, USA TODAY

Rob Sheffield, 44, Rolling Stone music critic and author of Talking to Girls About Duran Duran (Dutton, $25.95), is a living pop-culture encyclopedia. USA TODAY tries to keep up.

1. How are you able to remember the thousands of pop culture, music and literary references that appear in your work?

Everyone's brains are wired differently. I wish I could remember my college French or guitar chords!

2. Was it hard to open up about the details of your past, like your Catholic devotion, which you've kept private?

I'm at the most vulnerable when I write about music, not about the other emotions, even the more painful ones.

3. Why do you love Duran Duran so much?

To me, they held the keys to the secrets of girls. All girls loved Duran Duran, even today. When one of their songs comes on at any bar or club, all the cool girls put their drinks down and head to the dance floor.

4. Three songs that would make your '80s soundtrack?

Scritti Politti's Perfect Way. Duran Duran's Hungry Like the Wolf. Prince's Little Red Corvette. They sum up what made New Wave in the '80s — playful, funny and ridiculous.

5. The "cassingle" is a lost treasure. What else do miss about the era?

Mixed tapes. Sharing a mix tape was the ultimate bonding experience.