Multiple damnations

deconstructing the critical response to boy band phenomena


  • Mark Duffett University of Chester



boy bands, exploitation, popular music, youth


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. After examining recent critical commentaries from Facebook-based ‘anti-fans’ and music critic Paul Morley, the article suggests that four discourses—youth, exploitation, gender and fandom— interlock to determine how commentators discuss the genre. Collectively their result is a relative stasis in critical commentary which 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.

Author Biography

Mark Duffett, University of Chester

Dr Mark Duffett is a senior lecturer at the University of Chester. His research interests are in Elvis Presley and music fandom. Department


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How to Cite

Duffett, M. (2013). Multiple damnations: deconstructing the critical response to boy band phenomena. Popular Music History, 7(2), 185–197.