Sound City | Movie review

Sound City 2013 documentary film large poster

Genre: Documentary
Running Time: 108 minutes
Director: Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana)
Cast: Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Trent Reznor, Butch Vig, Rick Springfield, Neil Young, & many more legends.

Synopsis: “Deep in the San Fernando Valley, amidst rows of dilapidated warehouses, was rock n’ roll’s best kept secret: Sound City. America’s greatest unsung recording studio housed a one-of-a-kind console, and as its legend grew, seminal bands and artists such as Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, Rick Springfield, Tom Petty, Metallica and Nirvana all came out to put magic to tape. Directed by Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) and featuring interviews and performances from the iconic musicians who recorded some of rock’s greatest albums at the studio, Sound City doesn’t just tell the story of this real-life rock ’n’ roll shrine, it celebrates the human element of music as Grohl gathers some of rock’s biggest artists to collaborate on a new album. Using Sound City’s legendary analog console, together these artists continue to create musical miracles in a digital world” (Wikipedia).

Verdict: This documentary educates viewers about how great music records were made while indirectly conveying what it is that the manufactured and polished pop stars of today are miserably lacking of. It also managed to capture the essence of the life of music-makers in the past. All of that with practically just interviews & great music of successful music legends who once recorded their chart-breakers at the now closed Sound City Studios. Dave Grohl’s initial intention was just to tell a story about the studio but what he achieved was way more than that; Sound City is a testament to the magic a bunch people could produce together. The film does start off a little dull but it gradually becomes emotional & extremely powerful. It’s the most truthful film I’ve ever seen in a while. The only problem with it is that it doesn’t attempt to attract general audience to watch it, which defeats the purpose a little.

Favourite line from another critic: “Grohl’s aim is to explore the aura of a place, but what he winds up proving is that people make the magic” (Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News).

Favourite quotes: “Now that everyone is empowered with these tools to create stuff, has there been a lot of great shit coming out? Not really. You’ll still need to have something to do with those tools” (Trent Reznor). “In this age of technology where you can simulate or manipulate anything, how do we retain that human element? How do we keep music to sound like people? That feeling that I got when I was young, ‘I could do that too'” (Dave Grohl).

Where to watch it? I doubt it’ll be shown at cinemas outside of the US so the only way to watch it is to download the film from the official website. It’s only $10 with the code “REDDIT” entered. I gladly paid to support music in general, something which I was never able to do much in the past. Upon purchase, you’ll get an email from Dave Grohl himself.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

Dave Grohl & Paul McCartney Sound City
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