On Amazon Prime Video is releasing Daisy Jones & The Six, a musical series about an iconic 1970s band that never really existed. Showrunners Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber has gone to great lengths to convince viewers otherwise – including releasing a full-fledged musical album Aurora, available on all streaming platforms. What else was done to form a cult of a non-existent team and how did this curious experiment turn out, Lenta.ru material tells.
So meet Daisy Jones and The Six, one of the most popular rock bands in the world. In the 1970s, the band burst onto the charts with the sad love ballad Look At Us Now (Honeycomb), filled stadiums for decades, then suddenly ceased to exist. For 20 years after the scandalous collapse, team members and their loved ones refused to publicly disclose the reasons for what happened. However, now everyone involved has come together to tell the whole truth in a documentary.
We will not tell the detailed biography of the group – the series of the first three episodes very carefully depicts the history of its formation, which began, as usual, in the parents’ garage. Let’s just say that before meeting the main character, the same Daisy Jones (Riley Keough), the musical group goes through a very difficult path to relative popularity and manages to be on the verge of disintegration, and its leader Billy Dunn (Sam Clafin) and endures all the hardships of a classic rock star – along with alcoholism and drug addiction and personal issues. Life according to the precepts of rock and roll is not very compatible with family life, and at home the young musician is waiting for his wife Camila (Camila Morrone) with a newborn daughter.
Setting: “Daisy Jones and The Six” series
When the troubled period in the life of the group – at that time it was called The Six, although there were only five members of the team, but Camila is considered the sixth – is behind, the producer Teddy Price (Thomas Wright) decides to introduce him to his secret weapon, a talented but unknown poet and singer, Daisy. The performer opens the door to the rep base with his foot and immediately changes the lyrics to Billy’s new song, despite the frontman’s vague protests. The composition becomes a hit, and Daisy Jones, much to Billy’s chagrin, becomes a full member of the band. The singers are at first very difficult to get used to, but already in the process of writing songs together, they discover a desire for each other.
Above all, “Daisy Jones and The Six” captivates complex and contradictory characters who do not seek to immediately please the public. In the early episodes, when the sword of Damocles to worldwide popularity is not yet hanging over the musicians, we watch daily, everyday dramas – and when fame arrives, each of these carefully crafted characters reacts to it in their own way.
Setting: “Daisy Jones and The Six” series
The merit of the showrunners here, however, is not so much – all these characters and their stories are taken without radical changes from the bestseller Taylor Jenkins Reed, released in 2019. The American writer admitted to being inspired to write a book on a fictional band by one of Fleetwood Mac’s performances, during which Stevie Nicks performed the song Landslide under the piercing gaze of Lindsey Buckingham. “It was very similar, like they were in love with each other. But we’ll never know the truth. I wanted to write a story about it, about how the boundaries between real life and performance are blurred,” spoke Reed in an interview.
The writer not only created a full-fledged fake biography of the group, but even wrote the lyrics to their songs.
However, the showrunners refused his poems, entrusting the matter to professional musicians – in the end they faced the task of writing a cult album, with which the group would become famous all over the world. The Daisy and the Sixes project was made by a collaborator Bob Dylan And john legend composer Blake Mills, author of many rock hits Jackson Browne and frontman of Mumford & Sons Marcus Mumfordsinger Phoebe Bridgers and even Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth (the latter acted as a consultant). The 11-track Aurora album was released on March 2, the day before the series premiered.
15million plays on Spotify
assembled the Aurora album in two weeks
If you try to translate those numbers into the ratings of the 1970s, the success of Daisy Jones and the Six could probably be called resounding. True, for such attention to the album, a competent advertising company is rather responsible than its musical merits. And therein lies the main problem of the series, which gets worse in its second half.
The show comes from the axiom that Daisy Jones and The Six are one of the best in the world. This myth, however, cracks every time the band starts playing (and the artists, to their credit, perform the compositions themselves – they’ve spent every day of the coronavirus lockdown rehearsing). The musicians sound harmoniously, professionally, and the lines of the songs from Regret Me or Honeycomb will certainly stick in your head for a few days – but no longer. It’s hard to watch with a serious face how the show’s characters rush around a breakthrough album when this album is nothing but high quality.
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Around any character, one can catch an atmosphere of genius, even God’s Chosen People, but it will dissipate in an instant if their activities don’t match the hype. This is why, in such projects, the importance of the role of a co-writer responsible for creativity (whether the main actor or a songwriter kept in the shadows) is multiplied a hundredfold. Rapper Machine Gun Kelly can play the depressive soundcloud-dead insider in ‘Taurus’ as convincingly as he wants. Tim Suttonbut when the artist begins to freestyle aggressively and pontorezniche about “his gang” in a crowd of black rappers, only Machine Gan Kelly appears on the screen in front of us, just in an unusually cutesy appearance.
Therefore, filmmakers resort to many tricks. The hit 2000s film Almost Famous, achieving a similar pattern with the fictional band Stillwater, nevertheless presented them as gaining popularity. And his songwriters didn’t care too much about his work, simply borrowing the sound (and guitarist Mike McCready) from cult grunge band Pearl Jam. Recent “tar” Todd Field declares its heroine a conductor as a maestro in an art form so elite that few viewers will see failure in her work, however obvious to a professional. In “Last Days” Gus Van Santplay the fate of the leader of Nirvana kurt cobain, we don’t even look at the hero, but we spy on him from a distance, which reflects the loneliness and isolation of the main character – distance is always the best assistant to maintain an aura of mystery. By the way, who played the main role (and a song of his own composition) in the film Michael Pitt after that he released a full-fledged album of the Pagoda group, which later even toured extensively. Thurston Moore of the same Sonic Youth, who acted as a consultant for The Last Days, enticed him to do so.
Of course, the creative teams formed with the help of large-scale media resources and professional producers also reach incredible heights, but they remain forever a thing in themselves.
Surrounded by producers, a K-pop group will sound exactly like a K-pop group, and a pop singer – here at least shave the dreadlocks, at least put an eight-piece on his head, will forever remain hostage to his own image. But artificially reproducing the countercultural atmosphere of 1970s rock, whose experimental sound reflected fundamental changes in American society, is a more difficult task. Ironically, the show still manages to hit those groundbreaking notes, but only when it briefly detours into a side story (and another kind of music) about the title character’s friend, African-American disco singer Simone Jackson (Nabiyya well).
Setting: “Daisy Jones and The Six” series
Perhaps the impression of the fictional band would be different if the creators weren’t so obviously fixated on Fleetwood Mac. The showrunners said it wasn’t an allegorical biopic and the inspiration was drawn from the lives of completely different musicians of the time, but the more episodes released, the greater the similarity of Daisy Jones and The Six with a real British- American band becomes. Even the logo of the “Six” is similar to the Fleetwood Mac logo of the 1970s. Therefore, the feeling that you are observing an extremely free interpretation of the history of this particular group does not go away.
The fictional musicians’ cult status is also underscored by the format in which Daisy Jones and the Six is presented. In addition to pseudo-documentary interviews with event attendees, the show is filled with archival photographs, performance recordings, and television broadcasts — and does so with what tabloid scrupulousness the hidden behind-the-scenes documentaries delve into the smallest details of the musicians. the biography should, as if, accentuate their stellar weight. Most of the duration is taken up by a standard feature film, in which the actors play out events from the 1970s.
Somehow, the gap between declared genius and revolutionary spirit is the only serious criticism that can be made of the otherwise very curious series, which has prepared some rather interesting arguments at the both on the aforementioned line between performance and real feelings, and on the value and purposes of art. And also how social and gender inequalities have taken hold in the industry that monetizes them. Finally, the relationship between the group members also came out alive. Before Daisy Jones, the series carefully portrays the stoic character of Billy Dunn, but in the end, Riley Keough draws attention to herself.
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As for the Aurora album, it also has a plot function – the songs in it are a dialogue between two main characters who sing about unexpressed feelings for each other. This, by the way, sounds like another reference to Fleetwood Mac, who at the height of his popularity recorded a deeply personal album, Rumors, about the musicians’ turbulent relationships and the gossip that surrounds them. Only the Anglo-American group at the time of the release of Rumors had already released a dozen other records, but Daisy Jones and The Six try in vain to convince that they have already won a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with their dubious beginning. Another great illustration of the fact that the magic of real creative impulses cannot be reproduced in the laboratory under any budget.
Daisy Jones and The Six are coming to Amazon Prime Video