Sound City Reviews
However, for me, this documentary movie did not age as well as I hoped. After not watching it for a long time and then coming back to it, the documentary, while still technically superb and appearing historically accurate, came across to me as, in some parts, showing some older artists that are preaching cynical opinions about the current music coming out today. These opinions wouldn't be so problematic if they didn't show up as often as they do, but it gets distracting, especially if someone like myself isn't fully on board with the opinions which are shared.
In addition to the opinions themselves, the people in the movie sometimes back up their points of view and the general opinion of the documentary in ways that either mean very little or are unclear. A common theme in the movie is that an artist must "play from their heart" and "be real" to be any good. This is one such example of something that on the surface sounds like it has the same universal meaning to everyone, but after digging a little deeper does not really have any set definition. To clarity, one person could theoretically define being "real" as making or playing what sounds good to them, whether or not sounding good contradicts the rest of the opinionated points made by the documentary.
Another example of something that has little substance and also backs up the point I made earlier about the documentary focusing too much on older artists preaching about what is wrong with music today is the comment by Trent Reznor from around the middle of the movie:
"Now that everyone is empowered with these tools to create stuff, has there been a lot more great shit coming out? Not really. You still have to have something to do with those tools. You should really try to have something to say."
The reason this quote is being placed in this review is I found it to be the most prominent of all the quotes I could use that combines subjectivity with lack of meaning, and it therefore illustrates my point. To quickly break this down, the first half is regarding the music coming out (from where and what outlet, exactly?) not being great. Whether or not current music is great is an opinion, yet Trent is stating it as fact. The second half of that statement can be interpreted in much the same way that "playing from your heart" and "being real" can, which is completely dependent on the person.
Not only does the meaninglessness show exclusivity towards certain artists, but it can come across as discouraging, not inspiring, because it implies not doing something "for real," or "faking it," whatever that means, indicates you shouldn't even start to make music. That is a message I am close to certain Dave Grohl likely doesn't want to send.
The third part of it, however, is the most well done because the mood lightens up, the history has been covered, and the opinions and their reasons for the most part quiet down. These factors, coupled with the fact that watching the artists in the studio nearly gives the impression that you are in the studio with them due to the way it was filmed makes this part of the documentary the most fun for me to watch.
I am a fan of Dave Grohl's music and can appreciate this documentary as a great entrance for him into directing. I still have respect for Dave Grohl and his documentary on Sound City because it is technicaly well done and is fascinating to watch if you don't know about the studio, Sound City, because it gets the historical message across. But if it's goal was to change people's minds with it's opinions, I don't know how far it will get, as it certainly didn't change mine.
Impressive as all the guest stars may be, Sound City tends to loose itrs track towards the end as it enjoys presenting the history and the aspects of the locations but eventually doesnt really go nowhere conclusive on the matter, at least not beyond implications. However it does not take away the fact that Sound City does a great job at documenting some important history and connecting a ton of stories and little details that make the documentary even more enjoyable.
Just gearing up for "montage of heck"
There really are three parts to this documentary. The history of the thing, the invasion of the digital age and how that changed things forever when it came to how albums were recorded, and the re use of the equipment. I remember liking a Dave Grohl and Paul McCartney song that managed to run away with a Grammy despite no one having heard of it and it was off an album that Dave Grohl and company made with the Neve board. Yeah, I may have just gone and bought that album.
If you're a music lover, specially one of bands like Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, and and whole bunch of other artists (seriously, the amount of hit records this place has is astounding) you'll love it. It's a great film to feel nostalgic too as much as sad and hopeful about. Highly recommended.
The history lesson is as amazing as the music. You will end up liking Rick Springfield...really.