PERFORMING ARTS

Fangirls: Scenes From Modern Music Culture

Univ. of Texas. Sept. 2020. 256p. ISBN 9781477322093. pap. $17.95. MUSIC
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To become a star, an appreciative audience is necessary, but what moves an admirer from supporter to fangirl status, a term that now encompasses all genders? Journalist Ewens (features editor, Vice) focuses on the dedicated, sometimes passionate fangirls who may obsess but don’t cross the line into stanning (a mix of stalker and fan). Ewens incorporates elements from her own life, mingled with interviews with Beyoncé’s Beyhive, Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters, and fans who screamed themselves hoarse at Beatles appearances or waited for hours for tickets to see Britney Spears. Fangirling (a gerund) encompasses writing fan fiction, tweeting relentlessly about mundane band activities, and memorizing the canon of Harry Styles’s songs, both with and without One Direction. Mixing occasional research and scholarly writing with interviews and personal recollections, Ewens considers music fandom from the United States, Europe, and Japan. She includes herself among fangirls and is in tune with factors that motivate what to the unaffected may seem like outsize adoration.
VERDICT Anyone who has wondered why someone would bid thousands for a wad of used chewing gum or collect a closetful of an idol’s clothing will come away with greater understanding. May fit a niche for broad collections.

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