Daisy Jones & the Six - AuroraAurora Music Album Reviews

Daisy Jones & the Six - AuroraAurora Music Album Reviews
The soundtrack for a new Amazon Original series seeks to emulate the magic of Fleetwood Mac. More often than not, it ends up sounding like a Broadway tribute.

In Daisy Jones & the Six, the bestselling novel inspired by Fleetwood Mac’s tumultuous history, Taylor Jenkins Reid writes an album’s worth of song lyrics to hint at her fictional band’s pathos. In the climactic “Regret Me,” frontwoman Daisy Jones delivers a devastating burn to her co-lead and songwriting partner, Billy Dunne: “When you think of me, I hope it ruins rock’n’roll.” It’s a terrible line, but in the book it’s met with shock and awe. Reid’s lyrics are packed with zingers capturing the vocalists’ romantic tension, a strain that ultimately spells the Six’s undoing.

“Regret Me” gets the full studio treatment in the Amazon Original series, an adaptation of Reid’s book. While the TV version of that song is outfitted with new lyrics, the barbs are similarly clunky: “Go ahead and regret me/But I’m beating you to it, dude.” Still, the soundtrack album accompanying the series, Aurora, is a can’t-lose proposition for producer Blake Mills. With crack session players and a fathomless budget behind him, he gets to chase his own Laurel Canyon masterpiece; the fictional conceit provides cover when he falls short. Contributors on this record include Marcus Mumford, Madison Cunningham, and Roger Joseph Manning Jr. The fact that they got the Jackson Browne to write music for the adaptation of a supermarket novel says more about the record biz than Amazon’s mockumentary possibly could.

At its most ambitious, Aurora approximates the incremental trajectories of Fleetwood Mac’s late-’70s work. “Let Me Down Easy” and “Regret Me” careen through striking melodic pivots, anchored by warm Rhodes keys and the vocal harmonies of actors Sam Claflin and Riley Keough, who play Jones and Dunne in the series. On “Look at Us Now (Honeycomb),” the acoustic chords and kick drum gather momentum en route to a soaring single-chord guitar solo. It’s a clear nod to Rumours’ “The Chain,” but the degree of intricacy—not to mention the bravura guitar work—makes for a rewarding homage.

Mills knows that trying to replicate Fleetwood Mac’s opus is a fool’s errand, so he hedges his bets. The title track is more redolent of the Nashville machine than Laurel Canyon, and the vocal duets betray a Broadway sheen. On “Look at Us Now,” Claflin’s exaggerated vibrato fails to compensate for underwritten lyrics: “I don’t know who I am, baby, baby, baby/Do you know who you are? Is it out of our hands?” There’s no symbolism or mystique, no white-winged doves or Rhiannons—it’s hard to imagine any of these adult-contemporary show tunes cracking the FM rotation, let alone in 1977.

For the most part, Keough and Claflin sing the way they act—sweet and earnest, with no discernible angst. Keough plays Jones as she appears in Reid’s novel: a tressed enigma with an ineffable darkness about her, drawn to Billy against her better instincts. Claflin never nails the California-by-way-of-Pittsburgh accent, but his hair looks great. Aurora’s finale “No Words,” an inane ode to writer’s block, typifies the series’ portrayal of music-making. The prosaic writing mirrors the chirpy dialogue, the throes of desire and rejection reduced to window dressing.

But Mills and the band really go for it on “The River.” A propulsive, full-bodied production, it deploys an unabashed melody and succinct metaphors, relishing a moody post-chorus and roomy instrumental breaks. The verse structure maximizes the vocal duet; for once, Keough sounds like a rock singer instead of an actor playing one on TV. As she vamps through the breakdown bridge, it’s easy to imagine her whirling around in one of Stevie Nicks’ bangled getups.

In Reid’s novel, Aurora is the soft-rock holy grail, an achievement that transforms American music and rends its creators in the process. The series is burdened by the same strictures as folk musicals Begin Again and Juliet, Naked, not to mention low-prestige cable dramas Vinyl and Dave: In dramatizing the creative process and the difficulty of genius, the work becomes secondary. Logistically, a narrative hinging on transcendent music is undone when the songs are just pretty good. The album struggles to apprehend Fleetwood Mac’s audacity, conflating a ‘70s rock pinnacle with easy-listening ballads. Aurora is bold only as far as tribute-band supergroups go.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Daisy Jones & the Six - AuroraAurora Music Album Reviews Daisy Jones & the Six - AuroraAurora Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on March 14, 2023 Rating: 5


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