Once upon a time I was falling apart. Now I'm always falling in love.
Pick up the microphone.
When Rob Sheffield moved to New York City in the summer of 2001, he was a young widower trying to start a new life in a new town. Behind, in the past, was his life as a happily married rock critic, with a wife he adored, and a massive collection of mix tapes that captured their life together. And then, in a flash, all he had left were the tapes.
Beyoncé , Bowie, Bon Jovi, Benatar . . .
One night, some friends dragged him to a karaoke bar in the West Village. A night out was a rare occasion for Rob back then.
Somehow, that night in a karaoke bar turned into many nights, in many karaoke bars. Karaoke became a way out, a way to escape the past, a way to be someone else if only for the span of a three-minute song. Discovering the sublime ridiculousness of karaoke, despite the fact that he couldn't carry a tune, he began to find his voice.
And then the unexpected happened. A voice on the radio got Rob's attention. The voice came attached to a woman who was unlike anyone he'd ever met before. A woman who could name every constellation in the sky, and every Depeche Mode B side. A woman who could belt out a mean Bonnie Tyler.
Turn Around Bright Eyes is an emotional journey of hilarity and heartbreak with a karaoke soundtrack. It's a story about finding the courage to move on, clearing your throat, and letting it rip. It's a story about navi- gating your way through adult romance. And it's a story about how songs get tangled up in our deepest emotions, evoking memories of the past while inspiring hope for the future.
In this hilariously affecting follow-up to his Love Is a Mix Tape and Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, Rolling Stone writer Sheffield sings us through his journey to rebuild his life with the help of good lovin' and a hot karaoke machine. After the untimely death of his first wife, a bereft Sheffield moves from Charlottesville, Va., to New York City, where he casts about the streets of lower Manhattan in search of meaning in life; eventually, he remembers the joys of staying out late and discovers the healing power of karaoke bars and clubs. Sheffield regales us with tales of a world unknown to most of us, but precious to the faithful: there's J.J., the guy in Brooklyn who gets paid for singing karaoke, and the bar in the Mojave Desert where Sheffield croons Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried" to group of stone-faced, die-hard Haggard fans. Through it all, Sheffield discovers that karaoke creates community that provides universal support for everyone who tries to sing the songs. He is also hopelessly "obsessed with karaoke because it lets me do the one thing I've craved every minute of my life." It lets him sing. He also learns that karaoke is there to remind us that it's never too late to let a song ruin your life by shaking you out of your emotional doldrums.