“I truly hope I have modified a large amount since the previous time we did this documentary.”
That is a rather revealing comment from Ricky Martin, arriving in close proximity to the beginning of the premiere episode of At the rear of The Music, the new reboot of the VH1 documentary collection which, for the improved portion of two a long time, carried out a deep dive into the histories and non-public life of noteworthy stars from pop music’s earlier and current. Streaming on Paramount+, the recently revived hourlong program kicks off with two episodes, 1 on Martin and 1 about LL Awesome J, with a 3rd installment, on Huey Lewis And The Information, coming next 7 days. Martin’s comment is telling mainly because it could effectively double for the society at large’s retort to the return of this collection: Particularly, that pop society has transformed very a little bit since the heyday of Guiding The Songs, and what at the time felt like unique, authentic-entire world drama now comes across as only pointless.
It also highlights the recycled character of the application, which purports to be a reboot, but is genuinely much more of a rehash. There are currently extant episodes of Driving The Songs that concentration on these artists—two, in truth, in the situation of both Martin and LL Cool J. (The previous experienced a 2nd installment accomplished on him in 2011, a decade-in addition immediately after his initial episode in 2000 the latter, an episode in 2004, followed by another in 2013.) And for the very first a few-fourths of every new episode, all you definitely get is a a little remixed version of something that presently aired. It is the identical footage, only intercut with a new job interview with the artist in the current working day, and generally a new interview or two with a at present well known friend, in an noticeable attempt to present some relevance and justification for trotting out the similar materials.
In the case of Ricky Martin, we get Bad Bunny, waxing eloquent on his cultural influence. LL Awesome J will get kind words from Eminem, and Huey Lewis is talked up by his pal Jimmy Kimmel. So already, this “new” sequence feels awfully outdated. The interviews with the artists in the current almost never give any new insight to what was already filmed in lots of scenarios, the digicam virtually just displays them observing the footage of the first episodes and smiling in recognition, perhaps cracking a joke or restating the exact same issue that was uttered the last time. To get in touch with this nearly anything but a rerun with a several minutes of “bonus written content,” or having said that you want to frame it, arrives across as very disingenuous.
The updates on the intervening yrs offer you very little in the way of compelling product, for the reason that most of it occurred in general public. There is nothing “behind the scenes” about the point that LL Cool J now hosts Lip Sync Struggle, or that he recorded a new rap in reaction to the Black Life Make a difference motion past summer months, or that he received the Kennedy Center Honor. Those people are functions he quite virtually did onscreen, and consequently not “behind” the scenes of just about anything. In the same way, Ricky Martin living a happy and healthful everyday living, carrying out a Vegas residency, and attending a protest in Puerto Rico doesn’t only make for loaded drama in and of itself. This speaks to the deficiency of inquisitiveness or energy on the section of the collection, that there’s practically nothing right here you wouldn’t know only from following Martin’s career—or even just googling him. And Huey Lewis, who had a truly going everyday living party by using the loss of his listening to in 2018, and thus arguably deserves an update to his 2001 episode, doesn’t genuinely seem to be like his story desires revealing: Any one studying pop lifestyle news at the time could get as informed as they required to about it, and absolutely nothing in his episode adds considerably. Lewis didn’t conceal just about anything.
That is ultimately what can make Guiding The New music come to feel so inessential in 2021. All of this information is presently out there in the earth now, for anyone who cares to seem. Back again when it premiered, and for a variety of yrs later on, the show was telling tales that hadn’t been instructed just before, and revealing the private life of artists in techniques that experienced by no means previously been accomplished. The extremely first episode, on Milli Vanilli, really concerned a ton of detective do the job, due to the fact no one particular realized in which the ex-entertainers were at the time. To listen to about the personalized tragedies and travails of music stars when they weren’t onstage even now felt like a minor revelation, for the reason that we couldn’t get it any where else.
It hardly have to have be reported, but that’s no lengthier the situation. The planet of pop lifestyle journalism has turn into exceptionally comprehensive and ever-increasing considering that the 2000s, with no stone unturned. If you want to know an artist’s backstory, possibilities are, someone’s previously accomplished the research and published it. But additional importantly, the artists on their own are currently sharing their lives in revealing ways—through social media, by way of livestreams, and any number of other shops that convey them into our households in approaches that never ever utilised to transpire. On the net pop society has rendered moot the need for one thing like Guiding The Music. New music documentaries and oral histories will generally be essential, and the present might’ve observed new relevance by concentrating on a lot more just lately minted stars from the previous ten years. Not essentially growing stars—the series currently tried out and unsuccessful with that at the time, on 2000’s BTM2—but only recently established artists who really do not elicit responses of, “Haven’t we observed this just one, now?” But these stars are producing their possess docs these days, and this sequence in specific, with its out-of-date substance, lack of powerful format, and—worst of all—no desire to give a thing new, proves that some versions are finest still left in the past.