So you really like music. I mean, really like music. To the point where you dictate what your friends should listen to and cringe at the thought of anything mainstream. If the first thing you do when you meet a guy is scroll through his iPod to see what his music tastes are, then keep reading. Even if you don’t, and wouldn’t really consider yourself a music nerd just someone who likes music, keep reading.
Courtney E. Smith’s Record Collecting for Girls is a nonfiction piece written about music for every music nerd, both the newbies and the long time dictators.
A collection of essays, Record Collecting for Girls is both a music history lesson and a empowering book for women. Smith starts at the beginning, writing about how there are very few all girl bands in existence and why. She writes about the band history of the Go-Go’s and the Bangles, and shows how, although there were other all girl bands between them and now, they are few and far apart, the Dixie Chicks being the last big all girl band. But all girl band is not the only music history that she goes through. She talks about The Smiths, The Beatles, and The Stones and how their band history has affected women in the dating world today. From pick-up lines to men who like The Smiths too much, she covers all the basics on what women should look out for when they date men whose world revolves around music.
Besides music history, Smith also shows how music influences the everyday lives of women. She claims she can tell what kind of mood you’re in from the music you have been listening to lately, then helps out by recommending music that help listeners vent their frustrations. At the end of every chapter is a playlist for the chapter, which I thought was a great idea. In a way, Smith is helping spread what she finds to be great music that everyone should listen to. She even sets the rules for having a top five list, something that is important for any music lover. The maintaining of this list is important as it helps the world define you for your tastes, and Smith has created some well deserved rules for making sure your list truly reflects who you are as a person.
Finally, Smith takes all the stuff she’s teaching the reader and puts her own experiences in as examples, which helps make the book very relatable. There were definite times when I caught myself thinking, I do that all the time! I don’t think I really ever thought of myself as a music nerd until I read this book. Now I know what music really means to me.
Overall, Courtney Smith’s Record Collecting for Girls is a great read, and something I started recommending to people before I was half way through. Although the title has “for girls” in it, I honestly think it’s a book that can be read by any gender from any generation. While I had never listened to some of the bands mentioned, it gave me more incentive to look them up as soon as I was done the chapter, which is something this book shoots to do. It’s meant to educate and spread the word of music that has been approved by the MTV music programmer and manager of label relations herself, and for girls and women to express their music preferences without being ashamed or afraid to. Smith explains in the introduction:
“Most of the books I’ve read and enjoyed about music have been from a male perspective. I wondered, what would a female music nerd have to say? Because girls get their hearts broken and make mix tapes about it, too.”