Larger Than Life

A History of Boy Bands from NKOTB to BTS
by Maria Sherman

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This nostalgic, fully-illustrated history of boy bands -- written by culture critic and boy band stan Maria Sherman -- is a must-have for diehard fans of the genre and beyond.

The music, the fans, the choreography, the clothes, the merch, the hair. Long after Beatlemania came and went, a...
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Published By Black Dog & Leventhal

Format Paperback


Number Of Pages 224

Publication Date 07/21/2020

ISBN 9780762468911

Dimensions 7 inches x 9 inches

"Larger Than Life champions the enduring legacy of these male vocal groups, from winsome 1930s barber shop quartets to fetching Disney Channel celebrities. It looks like an oversized edition of a teen gossip magazine, embellished with patterned yellow borders, pink and blue headings, and bubbly illustrations inspired by Tiger Beat."

— Pitchfork

"Larger Than Life...shakes off decades of under-appreciation for the pop subgenre and lays out a fascinating, in-depth history of the groups and fans that have shaped boy band culture."

— Rolling Stone

"An overdue analysis of boy bands and the devoted fans who elevate them."
— Wall Street Journal

"Like a pair of Nike Foamposite sneakers on a Backstreet Boy, this book is shiny, fun and expertly constructed. Maria Sherman's unrivaled knowledge of and passion for those teen dream machines known as boy bands gains depth from her conviction that they really matter, both musically and as cultural catalysts. This compendium of historical vignettes, truly useful lists and perceptive critique unassumingly works a miracle, showing how a much-dismissed subgenre can be taken seriously while still generating the sparkle its subject deserves."

— Ann Powers, music critic and author of Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music

"A definitive guide to the pop phenomenon [of boy bands] through capsule histories of the swooniest groups, in-depth investigations into one-hit wonders, conspiracy theories, dating, in-fighting, haters, fan fiction, fashion and more."
— Billboard

"Maria Sherman has written the brilliant, definitive, hilarious, and long-overdue appreciation of boy-band culture-the realest, oldest, truest of pop passions. She chronicles the artists and fans with the respect they deserve. Larger Than Life is a revelation and a joy to read, in prose that sparkles like a One Direction hook."

— Rob Sheffield, author of Love is a Mix Tape and Dreaming the Beatles

"In Maria Sherman's remarkable Larger Than Life, devoted music fans finally have a critic that honors and reveres fandom for what it really is -- expertise. She plunges into the depths of pop history and gives us a glorious look into the often maligned and misunderstood boy bands and their fanbases. Larger Than Life is feminist, gleeful, intersectional, funny, nuanced and nerdy -- Sherman is the great understander of boy bands and their fans."

— Jessica Hopper, music critic and author of The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic

"[This] colorfully illustrated book is perfect for diehard stans, pop culture aficionados and music fans looking to fill a blind spot."
— Paste Magazine

"Sherman neither claims to be unbiased nor definitive, and though she provides plenty of nostalgia, she also smartly explores the cultural landscape that allowed boy bands to flourish and the lasting impact of these groups. Readers will want to have a playlist queued up."
— Booklist

"A witty, irreverent, but almost scholarly primer on all things boy band."
— Library Journal

"Larger Than Life does not only serve as a meaningful piece of pop music criticism, but it strives to be a celebration of a fandom that was built from the love of young women despite boy band fandom being written off as a hormonal mob letting out guttural screams for mediocre singers."

— AIPT Comics

"[An] exhaustive guide to an enduring cultural phenomenon."
— Texas Monthly

"Larger Than Life is a fun read, a bright large-format paperback generously illustrated by Alex Fine. Whether it's a nostalgia trip or a list of your current favorite artists, it's a no-brainer gift for any boy band fan in your life."

— The Current