Music documentaries don’t come much finer than the Fleetwood Mac Don’t Stop, lifting the rock on the band’s famously self-referential song-writing that rocketed their career. Adapted from the book of the same name by Taylor Jenkins Reid (itself inspired by the famously fractious Fleetwood Mac) Daisy Jones and the Six mixes music documentary with harmonious drama to create musical magic.
Starring Riley Keough (The Terminal List) as Daisy Jones and Sam Claflin (Love Wedding Repeat) as Billy Dunne, Daisy Jones and the Six intersperses interviewing ‘modern’ versions of the band members with standard drama filming to craft an incredibly real feeling deep dive into not only its titular band, but a glorious whistlestop tour of the 1970s U.S. music scene.
What Is Daisy Jones and the Six About?
We are told upfront that the band split onstage at the hight of their fame in the late 70s, and thus each episode charting their rise, trials and tribulations are taken with a knowing sense of doom.
As lead singers and songwriters, the strained relationship between Daisy and Billy is the core of the show, with the latter resenting Daisy’s infiltration of his band from the get-go.
Both leads are fantastic. Keough’s pain-hardened shell still can’t contain the jets of fire that burst out through the cracks, whilst Claflin oozes lithe rock star magnetism that masks a vulnerable and insecure core.
Their prideful battles, reconciliations, and resentments power the pace of the show, even if the characters themselves are motivationally misbalanced.
At its weakest Daisy Jones and the Six wanders into the ‘pixie girl’ trope. Daisy’s unhappy childhood is used to inform her rebellious attitude, but she spends the first couple of episodes in character development limbo as alternative scenes chart the rise of pre-The Six band: The Dunne Brothers.
Billy’s early arrogant rise and humbling fall informs all his later choices, including marriage (to the outstandingly emotive Camila Morrone) and fatherhood.
Daisy, in contrast, treads water with a handful of moments until she is pulled out of the bag to challenge the male lead. The consequence is that it is difficult to engage with Daisy’s marriage wrecking attraction to Billy. “I’ve never known anyone as talented as you,” she slurs to him on one of her frequent drug/pills/booze binges, which never seems enough to justify her tempestuous infatuation.
Yet this shaky foundation building doesn’t derail Daisy Jones and the Six’s momentum. The liberally sprinkled interview snippets add a welcome sense of self-reflection and individual counterpoints to each moment.
As with the novel, each band member perceives events differently and hearing their separate – valid – takes adds an extra layer of texture to what could otherwise have been a same-old-same-old tale of musical rise and fall.
Daisy Jones and the Six Official Trailer
And, oh, the songs! The original music, with both Keough and Claflin on vocals, is far better than it has any right to be. Sure, the songs clearly take their cue from Rumours era Fleetwood Mac, but they stand out as sing-loud-and-proud bangers in their own right.
The episode that features the argumentative back and forth song writing between Daisy and Billy is one of the highlights of the show. It produces hits such as ‘Regret Me’, ‘Let Me Down Easy’, ‘Please’, ‘More Fun To Miss’ and more, each song a new barb or balm in their ongoing battle of wills. T
hat those same songs go on to inform pointed performances in the many excellent live performance scenes is testament to their strength.
Is Daisy Jones and the Six Worth Watching?
Crucially, Daisy Jones and the Six sticks the landing. The support characters fill out the band nicely, with comically unfazed drummer (Sebastian Chacon), lovelorn brother Graham Dunne (Will Harrison), spikey keyboardist Karen (Suki Waterhouse) and resentful bassist Eddie (Josh Whitehouse). Their various plot lines weave through the central one with just the right balance.
Daisy Jones and the Six ticks off sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll but also lays bare a heart.
Despite a limited start to her character, Keough is never less than a delight to watch. It’s also a pleasure to see that Claflin handles Billy’s temptations with an unusual clarity, which means his ultimate fate is all the more tender for the journey taken to get there.
“Every lie is true at the time…that’s the thrill,” sings Daisy. Tune in that radio and listen for yourself.
Words by Mike Record
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