Love is a Mixtape by Rob Sheffield

This autobiographical memoir was recommended by a couple of friends of mine. They knew how much I enjoyed music and they said that this one was a “must read.”

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As the cover illustrates, it is a story about “life and loss, one song at a time.” It’s a story about recovering and being able to move forward, even when the past is too heavy and unbearable. And in this story, Rob is able to do so thanks to the music that he has treasured throughout his life. He is a music connoisseur. He has a song for every occasion. In this case, he used those songs from his past to not only cope with his wife’s death, but also to keep moving forward.

What I mostly liked about it was the fact that I started reading it as a work of fiction. But then, every time he mentioned a band or a song, I started to think that there was way more to it than just fiction. The way he described the songs, his wife Renée, his mix tapes; they had so many details that it was bound to be real. So one time I asked my dad to sing some of the songs I didn’t recognize and I understood how each song he described was perfect for that precise moment he was talking about.

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Once you read this book, you understand that for Sheffield, music is his life. It was the connection that he had with others, especially his ex-wife. It’s amazing really. As every chapter begins with so many songs listed, in a way, I couldn’t believe that he could actually sit down and listen to all of them and remember the events as if they happened the day before. But then again, I COULD believe him, because isn’t that what music does to us?

The only thing which I disliked, and clearly it wasn’t really his fault to begin with, was the fact that I was born in 1993, therefore, all the 60s, 70s, 80s, (and even some of the 90s) references weren’t very clear to me. Either I’m too stupid or too young to get many of his jokes, I guess. However, overall it was a very good and interesting read.

These were my favorite quotes:

1. “Nothing connects to the moment like music. I count on music to bring me back- or, more precisely, to bring her forward.”

2. “The times you lived through, the people you shared those times with – nothing brings it all to life like an old mix tape. It does a better job storing up memories than actual brain tissue can do. Every mix tape tells a story. Put them together, and they add up to the story of a life.”

3. “How do you turn down the volume on you personal-drama earphones and learn how to listen to other people? How do you jump off one moving train, marked Yourself, and jump onto a train moving in the opposite direction, marked Everybody Else? I loved a Modern Lovers son called “Don’t Let Our Youth Go to Waste,” and I didn’t want to waste mine.

4. “Love is so confusing; there’s no peace of mind.”

5. “Sometimes great tunes happen to bad times, and when the bad time is over, not all the tunes get to move on with you.” (One of the examples he uses in this part is Louis Prima’s “Banana Split for My Baby.” I really liked this song. It’s funny.)

6. “And even though I’ve changed in so many ways – I’m a different person with a different life – the past is still with me every minute.”

7. “. . . and sometimes I think, man, all these people I get to hear this song with, we’re going to miss each other when we die. When we die, we will turn into song, and we will hear each other and remember each other.”

Each one of these quotes got to me. For me, they are perfect. I guess no one could have said it better. This is what music is all about. It’s about the connection, the memories, the love, the confusion, the past, the future. It’s life.

Again, this is an amazing read. I love it and I highly recommend it. 🙂

Until next time,

Your Music Enthusiast ♫

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