Boy bands and the critics

new edition

While the boy band genre has mutated and evolved, its popular portrayal has altered little since groups like New Edition and New Kids on the Block conquered the charts back in the late 1980s.

Recent critical commentaries suggest that four discourses—youth, exploitation, gender, and fandom— interlock to determine how writers discuss the genre. Collectively their result is a relative stasis in critical commentary that helps to allay wider anxieties about the idea that, in a capitalist society, any of us can actively and pleasurably engage with a musical genre led by its own marketing.

This according to “Multiple damnations: Deconstructing the critical response to boy band phenomena” by Mark Duffett (Popular music history VII/2 [August 2012] pp. 185–97). Above and below, New Edition in the 1980s.

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Filed under Popular music, Reception

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