Have you given up on music? Not music in general, but today’s music? Unless you cared, and I don’t see a reason why you should, the Grammys are this Sunday, and once again they’ve displayed just how horrible some of today’s music can be. Case in point: Ariana Grande is nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album. Need I say more?
Okay, so not all modern music is bad-That’s not what I am saying at all, it’s just that certain pony tail artists that look like, in the words of Janice Ian, a baby prostitute don’t really deserve to be included in such an elite ceremony that has christened talent such as The Beatles and Michael Jackson.
So, if you’re like me, and are planning on skipping this years Grammys (though I do hope St. Vincent wins), then watch these great music films instead, now streaming on Netflix. They will give you hope for today’s music; and some of them will teach you a thing or two about the real artistic struggles of a hard working musician. Ariana, take notes.
20 Feet from Stardom
Background singers have possibly the most encouraging/discouraging job in music. On one hand, they have a gig, which is enough for any musician, but on the other hand, they are still in the back. 20 Feet from Stardom explores the careers and lives of a long impressive list of background singers who have either quit the industry, or are still working hard to fulfill their dream of being the main attraction. Directed by Morgan Neville (who has a great curious mind) this doc will open your eyes to many talent you may or may not have heard of.
Under the Electric Sky Under the Electric Light gives you The Electric Daisy Carnival experience without the $400 price tag and drugs (but you can fix that part). One of the most iconic music festivals today, Under the Electric Lights tells the story of EDC’s beginnings, explaining how this cultural phenomenon came to be, and how it is still standing firm alongside the thousands of EDC devotees that come back every year. The film also dives into the lifestyles of festival-goers, who also play an important part in EDC’s legacy. Warning: this film is, obviously, very bright.
Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
If you‘ve seen Inside Llewyn Davis, than you have a pretty good idea of how the folk scene was back in the 60s in the East Coast. Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation takes that impression further by really documenting the folk scene of Greenwich Village, New York. Possibly one of the most iconic locations for any up-and-coming folk singer, Greenwich was the musical environment many young political artists fled to. Some of the world’s best songwriters performed at Greenwich, so don’t just think of Greenwich as “the village” where Gossip Girl was filmed, because it is clearly so much more.
The Art of Rap
You know you’re in good hands when Ice-T is an executive producer for a rap documentary. Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap explores the true artistry of rap music, and not just the little explicit riddles kids are spitting out these days (wow, don’t I sound old). It’s packed with interviews from some well-respected rappers including Grandmaster Caz and, of course, DMC. According to producer Paul Toogood, the idea of this film came from a time when he asked Ice Cube how he wrote his great hits like “Colors.” Ice Cube said that in his 30-plus rap career, no one has ever asked him that before. Damn. We definitely needed this film to be made.
Gogol Bordello: Non-Stop
You can’t have a music list without including a crazy gypsy punk band with a weird name. Gogol Bordello have been around for quite some time, and they are, in their own respect, a kind of legend in musical performances and style. You think today’s music has great live performances just because they perform at half time with a dancing shark? Then you haven’t seen Gogol Bordello front man Eugene Hutz. He will give you a real show, and you will be changed for the better good.
Natalie is a writer, editor and Slytherin residing in the San Fernando Valley. When she’s not trying to perfect her cat-like eyeliner she enjoys buying 99-cent records she knows nothing about, dressing in used clothes and pointing out filming locations from 500 Days of Summer in DTLA. She hates flip-flops, gum and writing bios, and hopes to marry Nick Waterhouse one day, so to have a wedding photo similar to Buddy Holly’s. And she also writes…a lot.