Aurora by Daisy Jones & the Six
25 May 2023
It’s time to dive back to the 1970’s and focus on a group that everyone forgets which is Daisy Jones & the Six. If anybody is unfamiliar with this group then you probably are living under a rock. But in case you need a refresher this group featured Billy Dunne on lead vocals with his brother Graham on guitar, Karen Sirko on keyboards, Eddie Roundtree on bass, & Warren Rojas on drums. They released a sensational self-titled debut album as the Six. However Billy Dunne would enter the famous Rock ‘N’ Roll tale we all rock fans are too familiar with which includes sex, alcohol, drugs and infidelity but in a lot of cases that’s the sign of the end for a band and it can only get worse from there but in this case it was the beginning and the success they already had was nothing compared to what they would eventually receive.
After Dunne’s addiction, the record label didn’t want to take a chance on the Six. However their record producer, Teddy Price felt they needed a new addition to the already established group and that was singer-songwriter Daisy Jones. Jones was not at all a star or sensation but she was the ghost writer of the hit “Stumble on Sublime'' for the singer, Wyatt Stone. It has been well known that Stone ripped Jones off and did not give her any credit for her contribution. Price decided to let Daisy contribute to Dunne’s new composition “Honeycomb.” Dunne did not approve of this but Price knew what he was doing and it worked. The song later became known as “Look At Us Now” which led them to create their well known album Aurora and the rest is Rock ‘N’ Roll history.
Ok by now if anyone that is reading this and is up to date with their anticipated television series then congrats for you. If you really are unbelievably surprised you don’t know this group and think you are misinformed with pop culture, well the answer is your correct but you’re even more misinformed with your pop culture facts than you think. So obviously this group does not exist and it was just a TV series so let’s get serious with this review.
So Daisy Jones & the Six is a series that was released, March 3rd of 2023 on Amazon Prime. It was based on the 2019 novel of the same name by the author, Taylor Jenkins Reid.
In regards to the tv miniseries, it is filled with cliches and can be very corny at times. There is not much originality or anything new added to the table. I somewhat can’t believe how for an anticipated series there is no new flavor and we are stuck with the same formula for any movie or story about a fictional famous rock band dealing with the same tropes such as drugs, sex and egos.
The problem is they are trying to show toxicity and tension with a band when really the only tension is between the main leads of the show which are Billy Dunne and Daisy Jones. There is other drama with the other fictional band members but it doesn’t affect the music in any way unlike Dunne and Jones’s drama because they are the lead singers and songwriters. If anyone has no idea who they are based off of and what type of album this pays homage to then you really do live under a rock. But in case you don’t know, I will spoon feed it to y’all. It is based on the actual legendary band of the 1970’s, Fleetwood Mac and their album Rumours.
Now the difference with the albums Rumours and Aurora was that even though both albums focus on a lot of tension and drama, the drama that was happening with Fleetwood Mac was all over Rumours. So for instance when you watch the series you probably get the vibe that Daisy Jones is like Stevie Nicks, Billy Dunne is Lindsey Buckingham, and Karen Sirko could be seen as Christine McVie. However for Aurora, the contributions in songwriting and lead vocals are just mainly Dunne and Jones. When for Fleetwood Mac they had 3 main lead singers and songwriters which were Nicks, Buckingham and McVie. McVie’s tension was with her husband and bass player of the group, John McVie. The rockiness of their relationship was used in the song “You make Loving Fun” which was about an affair McVie was having with the band’s lighting director. In the series Karen definitely gives me McVie vibes and especially her relationship with Graham pays a tribute and makes reference to the types of flings that were happening inside the group.
Why don’t we now finally dive into the song that makes up the album that is called Aurora.
So the title track is the opener of the album and it starts off with an up tempo guitar riff and then the harmonies of Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne emerge with the structure of the tempo. It sort of reminds me of “Suite Judy Blue Eyes” by Crosby, Stills & Nash and the way it is used as their opening track on their debut album because it opens your ear to hearing the beat of a faster tempo that does have rhythm and feel to it which is similar to the pace of“Aurora.”
I do have to talk about the actors that make the two stars of this group come to life and that is focusing on Riley Keough as Daisy Jones and Sam Claflin as Billy Dunne. What is even more interesting to know is that both of them had very little to no musical experience. So to hear both of them sing in perfect harmony and really wail on these tracks really gives a type of magic and proves that anything can be possible if you put hard work and dedication into your projects then you will see the progress of positive results. I find it interesting how Keough’s vocal range changes during the lead and backing parts throughout this song. Her voice can be a mixture of pop rock, folk rock and even soul.
You can understand what critics say when Riley Keough can sing, especially when you hear this song. I mean what do you expect when you're Elvis’s granddaughter? You probably are going to inherit a natural talented voice. I definitely wouldn’t be surprised if she decides to cut her own record and definitely think she should.
On this song I really feel the commitment Keough and Claflin give to the harmonies. It brings a lot of intensity and it reminds me of something Linda Rondstat said in an interview of how singing with someone is so intimate and almost is like having sex with someone. I can feel that from both of them on this song, and even on “More Fun to Miss” and “Look At Us Now.”
Now let's dive into both of those songs starting with “More Fun to Miss.” On this song Keough puts a lot of oomph on it. I think this song represents and reminds us of why Keough who hasn't been a singer all her life could naturally just belt out a bunch of soul and I think it could be the fact that the King of Rock ‘N’ Roll is her grandfather. The one thing I am not a fan of on this track is Claflin’s backing vocals. It is overproduced and way over the top. I do like the way they have him perform it in the series when there are scenes of them performing this song live in concert. You can hear him naturally and clearly too unlike the record version. I will say another thing that blew me away about Keough was that this was my first time seeing her act in anything but was blown away at her stage presence which once again shows a resemblance with her relation to Elvis. Natural charisma just runs in that family I guess. But getting back to the song, I feel it definitely has more of a rocking sound unlike any other song on the album. I think it even has similarities and a resemblance to Debbie Harry from Blondie.
“Look At Us Now” is probably my least favorite song which is funny because it is supposed to be the lead single and the hit from the album. The ballad intro reminds me of Fleetwood Mac’s intro of “The Chain.” I mean I do feel Keough and Claflin establish a good blend of harmonies but this song is just average compared to anything else on it. Another similarity with the Fleetwood Mac song, “The Chain” would be the little instrumentation break that the band goes into which definitely I think was possibly an intentional homage to “The Chain.”
I even see another resemblance to Fleetwood Mac on the folk rock style of "You Were Gone." I feel it definitely has similarities to "Landslide” Their harmonies on it even have the essence of Nicks and Buckingham. I feel it can even be compared with their song, “You Can Go Your Own Way.” They are in unison and you can feel the chemistry here with this fake band. They are able to create a friendly environment for listeners. I even feel this track can persuade people to be really into their music and even hope for more. In some ways the point of what the album proves to listeners is a type of beginning for Daisy Jones and the Six but would wind up becoming the end.
The song “Two Against Three'' has an acoustic approach for instrumentation and has kind of an homage to Sarah McLaughlan’s style of singing. This is definitely a hit or miss track for me. There was nothing glamorous about this song but if it appeared suddenly on my car radio I wouldn't necessarily turn it off.
An essential track on this album would have to be “KIll you to Try'' because I think this song does the best job at capturing the pop rock essence of the 1970’s California sound, with homage in style of groups such as of course Fleetwood Mac but also the Eagles and solo artists like James Taylor, Carole King, Joni Mitchel, Carly Simon, Bonnie Rait, and Jackson Brown. Brown also was a co-producer for this album alongside popular musician Phoebe Bridges.
I also love the xylophone on this song and I think the outro harmonies that Keough does at the ending can bring some cliches and can be kind of tedious to a simple pop song but it brings a real beauty and flavor to the sound.
“Regret Me” also is a good track that has a solid rhythm section and smooth vocals from Keough. Claflin and Keough do a good job remaining unison vocally on this track. I even like the line delivery of the last lyrics from Keough, especially when the music stops as she sings it.
A hit or miss song for me on this album would be “The River. '' I can totally feel it is homage to female rock stars at the time like Stevie Nicks and Linda Ronstadt. The instrumentation doesn’t stand out and is kind of plain but it works for the song.
I think the song that shows off Claflin’s voice would be “Please.” Now I will say I don’t think he has as much of a soulful voice that Keough does and does not have the roughness she has but he has got more of a soft timbre and I will say that this is his best vocal track.
My favorite vocal performance from him overall in the series would have to be the songs that aren’t on the album and are during the time before the Six meets Daisy Jones which would be “Look Me In The Eye” and their cover of “Have Love Travel.”
“No Words” which is the last track of this album has a lot of similarities to the ending track of Rumours with Stevie Nicks’s composition of “Gold Dust Woman.'' Especially with the same type of tempo and instrumentation. Keough’s voice could definitely be compared to Nicks for this. When you hear it a few times you definitely get the vibes of that Fleetwood Mac song and what’s funny is they use “Gold Dust Woman” in an opening scene in episode 9 and I won’t spoil what happens in case some people haven’t seen the series yet but when I listened to it I thought that it was their original song playing but that shows you how similar both of these tunes are.
The problem with this song though is that it’s very monotonous. There is a gap in the middle and then when they get back to the melody it is so repetitive to the point where you think the song is on loop and restarting. This track also makes me lose interest with the harmonies from Keough and Claflin. However I will say the vocal blend from Keough is able to remain soothing throughout the track.
Overall I will say this album has grown on me.
Is it the snazziest album out there?
No, but it definitely has entertaining songs with some good hooks and vocal parts.
The instrumentation also does a good job at holding a person’s attention. The songs aren’t masterpieces and do not compare to the impact Rumours have had on music but it is a decent record and I definitely would advise people to check it out.