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Friday, April 19, 2024
The Observer

‘Daisy Jones & the Six’: Fictional Fleetwood Mac

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Meg Hammond | The Observer


In 1997, Fleetwood Mac reunited to perform for MTV’s “The Dance.” Lead singer Stevie Nicks and lead guitarist Lindsay Buckingham performed “Landslide” alone together, and the tension between them was palpable. Years prior, Nicks and Buckingham were in a relationship that fell apart. Around the time of their breakup, drummer Mick Fleetwood split from his wife, and bassist John McVie and keyboardist Christine McVie ended their relationship. In the midst of all their fraught relationships (and drug usage), the band recorded their 1977 album “Rumors.” In spite of (or perhaps due to) this turmoil, “Rumors” became one of the most critically and financially successful albums of all time. Nicks’ and Buckingham’s emotionally-charged performance and the drama surrounding “Rumors” inspired Taylor Jenkins Reid to write “Daisy Jones & The Six,” which has been adapted into a 10-episode Amazon Prime series.

The series follows the rise and fall of the eponymous Daisy Jones & The Six, who recorded one insanely successful album in the 1970s, “Aurora,” and never made music together again. 20 years later, the band members and some of the people surrounding the drama are interviewed to get the true story of what happened.

The heart of the drama is a love triangle between rhythm guitarist and frontman Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin), lead singer Daisy Jones (Riley Keough) and Billy’s wife, Camila (Camila Morrone). Similar to Fleetwood Mac, the other band members have their own issues at this time, but their arcs are less fleshed out. While all the actors gave excellent performances, the characters feel more like stereotypes than people. For instance, despite being the titular character, Daisy Jones falls into Manic Pixie Dreamgirl territory. She is aggressively free-spirited and helps Billy make better music. During a song-writing session at their producer Teddy Price’s (Tom Wright) mansion, Daisy suddenly strips down and dives into the backyard pool. Billy asks if she’s taking a break, to which she blithely replies that she’s still songwriting. Despite this, Riley Keough gives a highly-charismatic performance, which lends depth to her character.

Billy and Daisy’s romantic tension stems from their “twin flame” approach to music and life. The show conveys this through extended songwriting montages, but this doesn’t do much in establishing the chemistry between the two characters. Billy has a beautiful wife and child already, and his will-they-won’t-they relationship with Daisy doesn’t work unless the tension between them is palpable. Billy and Daisy’s chemistry isn’t nonexistent, but it never seems like they want each other to the point that Billy would leave his family. Nicks and Buckingham have more romantic tension in their four-minute-long performance of “Landslide” than Billy and Daisy have in the entire 10-episode series. It isn’t bad, it just leaves something to be desired.

Speaking of something to be desired, a show like this lives and dies by its music. Daisy Jones & The Six is meant to be the biggest band of the ‘70s, and if the show’s music comes up short then the entire premise falls apart. The music is, in all fairness, pretty good. Claflin and Keough’s voices harmonize well together, and the songs are catchy. However, it’s difficult not to compare “Aurora” to “Rumors.” It’s completely unfair to compare the songs in an Amazon Prime show to one of the greatest albums of all time, but it’s harder to buy into Daisy Jones & The Six’s incredible success when I know the scope of talent of their real-life counterpart. You either have star power or you don’t; it’s impossible to manufacture, which makes conveying it in a show immensely challenging. While the show does its best to convince us of Daisy Jones & The Six’s star power, it’s at times difficult to buy into.

The best part of this show is by far the costuming. “Daisy Jones & The Six” showcases the absolute pinnacle of ‘60s and ‘70s fashion. Every character has their own unique style that conveys their personality. Daisy’s costuming is especially noteworthy, with its Stevie Nicks-inspired boots and flowing tops.

“Daisy Jones & The Six” is entertaining despite its weaknesses, but it overall left me wondering why a Fleetwood Mac biopic hasn’t been made.

 

Show: “Daisy Jones & The Six”

Starring: Riley Keough, Sam Claflin, Camila Morrone

Favorite episode: “Track 10: Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide”

If you like: Fleetwood Mac

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Shamrocks: 3 out of 5