Love Is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
Life and Loss, One Song at a Time

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What Is love? Great minds have been grappling with this question throughout the ages, and in the modern era, they have come up with many different answers. According to Western philosopher Pat Benatar, love is a battlefield. Her paisan Frank Sinatra would add the corollary that love is a tender trap. Love hurts. Love stinks. Love bites, love bleeds, love is the drug. The troubadours of our times agree: They want to know what love is, and they want you to show them. But the answer is simple: Love is a mix tape.

In the 1990s, when “alternative” was suddenly mainstream, bands like Pearl Jam and Pavement, Nirvana and R.E.M.—bands that a year before would have been too weird for MTV- were MTV. It was the decade of Kurt Cobain and Shania Twain and Taylor Dayne, a time that ended all too soon. The boundaries of American culture were exploding, and music was leading the way.

It was also when a shy music geek named Rob Sheffield met a hell-raising Appalachian punk-rock girl named Renée, who was way too cool for him but fell in love with him anyway. He was tall. She was short. He was shy. She was a social butterfly. She was the only one who laughed at his jokes when they were so bad, and they were always bad. They had nothing in common except that they both loved music. Music brought them together and kept them together. And it was music that would help Rob through a sudden, unfathomable loss.

In Love Is a Mix Tape, Rob, now a writer for Rolling Stone, uses the songs on fifteen mix tapes to tell the story of his brief time with Renée. From Elvis to Missy Elliott, the Rolling Stones to Yo La Tengo, the songs on these tapes make up the soundtrack to their lives.

Rob Sheffield isn’t a musician, he’s a writer, and Love Is a Mix Tape isn’t a love song- but it might as well be. This is Rob’s tribute to music, to the decade that shaped him, but most of all to one unforgettable woman.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Rob Sheffield

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Rob Sheffield has been a music journalist for over 20 years. He is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, where he writes about music, TV, and pop culture, and regularly appears on VH1. He is the author of the national bestsellers Love Is a Mix Tape and Talking to Girls About Duran Duran. Sheffield lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Published January 2, 2007 by Crown Archetype. 240 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Self Help. Non-fiction

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A rock critic tells about the love of life via a series of 15 mix tapes full to bursting with songs of passion, regret and bad rhyme schemes.

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Entertainment Weekly

In Love Is a Mix Tape, the longtime Rolling Stone critic centers his heartbreaking tale of love gained and lost on the archaic pre-CD, pre-MP3 musical mash notes known as mixtapes.

Jan 09 2007 | Read Full Review of Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and ...

Huffington Post

"Talking To Girls About Duran Duran," Rob Sheffield Los Angeles Times Whether you long for those days -- or ironically pine for them to the point where maybe you're not being ironic after all -- may play a great part in your enjoyment of Rob Sheffield's book "Talking to Girls About Duran Duran."

Jul 26 2010 | Read Full Review of Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and ...

USA Today

If you're old enough, you'll remember these treacly but tender words from Love Story, when Oliver says of his dead bride, Jenny: "She loved Mozart and Bach, The Beatles, and me."

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I’m having a really hard time reviewing Love is a Mix Tape and I can’t figure out why.

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Austin Chronicle

Avoiding ostentatious critical digressions into the music or the times, Sheffield understands the simple, relatable personal attachment we invest in music and are left clinging to when all else disappears.

Nov 30 2007 | Read Full Review of Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and ...


There are mixes to court each other, mixes for road trips, mixes for doing the dishes, mixes for sleeping - and, eventually, mixes to mourn Rob's greatest loss.

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Creative Loafing

Even Sheffield's relationship with Renee, the memoir's core, is veiled with descriptions of the music they shared: Big Star's "Thirteen," which they danced to at their wedding, and David Bowie's "Five Years," which became their five-year anniversary anthem.

Jan 23 2008 | Read Full Review of Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and ...

they share the same favorite Meat Puppets record and an obsession with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis that helps Sheffield mourn when he stumbles upon an exploitative, post-JFK assassination documentary album that he classifies as "perfect 1960s diva pop, up there with anything by Dusty Springfield o...

Feb 07 2007 | Read Full Review of Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and ...

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