BY JOHN B. MOORE
The only thing more yawn-inducing than watching someone else sing karaoke is reading about someone else singing karaoke; but somehow music writer Rob Sheffield has managed to make the act not only interesting, but emotionally powerful as well. In his third collection of heart-on-his-sleeve non-fiction, the Rolling Stone pop culture writer builds on his emotional, life-is-an-open-book style of writing that made the first two works best sellers. Turn Around Bright Eyes uses karaoke and his various go-to songs (everything from Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” to Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell”) as the lead-in to discussing his own life as a young widower up to meeting and marrying his current wife.
Sheffield manages to pull the reader in with his deeply humorous style of self-deprecating confessions. He also pulls off the difficult task of being an entertaining music geek, one who is not above confessing his love for the Pet Shop Boys and Duran Duran (a taboo among the more pretentious music nerds) just as easily as he’ll gush about The Smiths and Morrissey (the more obvious fall back of the music geek). Almost makes you want to pull up a chair and listen the next time Sheffield grabs the mic at his local karaoke bar.
An edited version of this review appears in issue 14 of BLURT.