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Daisy Jones & the Six episode 1.04 "Track 4: I Saw the Light"

Updated: Apr 22, 2023

I’m so floored by the collaboration on this show. That’s my favorite thing about tv as a whole; it takes an insane amount of people and skillsets and moving parts to make it, and somehow everyone and everything is able to get on the same page about something so specific. Everyone is so skilled and passionate and devoted to the little piece that they contribute to the puzzle that there’s no other option but to trust that your team cares about their job as much as you do about yours. I really can’t think of a more collaborative medium, but Daisy Jones & the Six takes it a step above.

It’s an adaptation of a novel that was inspired (loosely) by real band Fleetwood Mac, with a full-length album recorded by the cast and performed within the show. The handful of lyrics that were written in the novel were fleshed out into full songs by a songwriting team including Marcus Mumford and Phoebe Bridgers, among others. And from what I’ve seen and read, this has been a joyful experience for everyone involved, and they’re happy to do their part and celebrate others doing theirs. Taylor Jenkins Reid, the author of the novel, has said that she is thrilled that musicians have taken her lyrics and ran with them- she’s not a songwriter, she said, they are. Cast members and veteran musicians Suki Waterhouse and Riley Keough, as well as music newcomer Sam Claflin, all had no hard feelings about being sidelined in the songwriting process, and just seemed thrilled to be performing together.

Riley Keough and Sam Claflin in "Track 4: I Saw the Light". Image courtesy of Vulture.

I have more to say about the concept and execution of this show than I do about the specifics of the plot, but I wanted to talk about this episode because the song “Look at Us Now” really encompasses everything that works about the show and its music, both within the Daisy Jones universe and out. Shows about performers, particularly fictional ones, and especially successful ones, are really difficult to pull off. If you’re going to tell me something is a world-class performance and then show it to me and have it be underwhelming, I’m going to be pulled out of the story. Writing, which is ideally invisible, becomes apparent when a room bursts into applause after a performance that doesn’t warrant that reaction. It makes you realize that you’re not a fly on the wall of an organic experience; rather, you’re an audience member of a meticulously crafted piece of art where every movement was prescribed by the script. That’s how you’re supposed to feel when you see a musical, but tv is supposed to make you feel like these people just opened the door and let you in.

This has been what’s kept me from fully embracing The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I won’t dive too deep with this, but my micro review is: the show is funny, Midge Maisel isn’t. The show is telling me that Midge is a once-in-a-generation comedian, but it’s not showing it. It’s insinuating that her gift to comedy makes her breakthrough into the industry practically a necessity, and yet, even when her set ends in a standing ovation and raucous applause, I don’t find myself laughing.

Midge Maisel and Daisy Jones are actually pretty comparable, personality-wise. I don’t particularly like either of them, but when Daisy overstays her welcome on stage, even when it drives me up a wall, I get it. Her talent speaks for itself, her charm is palpable, and you can’t deny that she brings the band to the next level, as much as Billy would like to. This is the episode following the tense studio recording of “Look at Us Now”, and the song was an instant hit. They’ve got their first festival gig- it’s in the middle of the day in Hawaii, but it’s their biggest break yet. They get to play a full set, one that wouldn’t include Daisy or “Look at Us Now” at all if Billy had his way, but unfortunately, it’s just too good.

Nonetheless, Billy insists that they’re playing it fourth, and Daisy will come out on his cue for that song only. But of course, her ego can’t be stopped, and she wanders on stage after just two songs. With nothing else to do at that point, they launch into “Look at Us Now”, and the crowd can’t get enough. To add insult to injury, Daisy doesn’t get off stage for the rest of the set. In the retrospective element of the show, she still insists 20 years later that the crowd wouldn’t “let” her leave. I wouldn’t go that far, but they certainly weren’t complaining.

Riley Keough and Sam Claflin in "Track 4: I Saw the Light". Image courtesy of Rolling Stone.

Still, Billy’s right to be upset with her at this point- that was so rude and disrespectful I was fuming on his behalf. And I don’t even think anything he says in the post-show interview is out of line, even though it seems to be the thing that really sparks their tailspin of a relationship. But the rest of the band has an easier time making peace with it because they can all feel what she can bring to the group. By the end of this episode, it’s really just everyone waiting for Billy to get on board.

This show does an incredible job with subtext, emotionally loaded interactions, and the nature of creative collaboration. Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, when you click with someone, it is an incredibly powerful feeling. If there’s one thing we can say about Billy and Daisy, they click. The second they met she knew him better than anyone. The inevitability of their relationship is conveyed so well, and to quote their own song, it was out of their hands.

To touch on the songs themselves for a second, "Look at Us Now" would have found its way into my Spotify library whether I watched the show or not- I just love the way it sounds. In the next episode it will be the number one song in the world in the Daisy Jones universe, and if someone told me it was the number one song in our world too, I’d believe it. If it’s not at the top of my Spotify Wrapped I’ll be amazed. It’s a song that we’re told is great because the plot demands it, and it’s also just actually great.

Not only do I love the way it sounds, but the lyrics of all their songs speak to the complex, emotionally layered tension that rides just beneath the surface of the entire show. From their very first encounter, Daisy sees Billy. She clocks him in a second- “Are all your songs about your wife? Why are they all so happy?” She changed his version of “Look at Us Now” before they’d even met and turned it into something that both represents Billy’s relationship with Camila more accurately than he had done it himself, and somehow also speaks to Billy’s relationship with Daisy that hasn’t even begun yet.

Camila Morrone and Sam Claflin in "Track 4: I Saw the Light". Image courtesy of IMDb.

The nature of Billy’s wanting to write every song as an aspirational ode to the man he wants to be to Camila, and Daisy’s subsequent changing of them to a more melancholy, yet realistic depiction of who he actually is, keeps everything and everyone wound in a tight, tense, entangled ball. Daisy’s deep understanding of Billy catapults her into a different kind of intimacy than he’s ever shared with Camila, yet Camila will always be his muse, the source of his inspiration and person he’s directing his music towards. It’s an emotional charge that speaks for itself through looks, music, and perfect chemistry among the cast.

Beyond the show, their full-length album is available on Spotify under the artist name of Daisy Jones & the Six, and I’m hearing rumors that the cast is pushing to go on tour as the band. This is really just different, I haven’t seen anything quite like it before (the closest thing I can compare it to is Big Time Rush, but mostly as a joke). I’ve been in a lot of debates recently about if Daisy Jones & the Six is a “real” band. I seem to be in the minority with my adamant yes- I’m met with the rebuttal that they’re using the name of a fictional band where they merely played its fictional members on tv. But I would argue that the band stopped being entirely fictional when its members recorded and released an authentic album. If you play a musician on tv by performing music, at what point do you also become a musician?

So what do you think? Is Daisy Jones & the Six a real band? If they went on tour, would you go see them? Do you vouch for their music as much as I do?

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Deb Gribben
Deb Gribben
Apr 16, 2023

The timing of this review is so perfect -- I just watched this episode last night after finding out about this show from a friend recently and watching every chance I get since! Yes -- absolutely love the music, but as much as I love concerts, I'm not sure I'd go see them (at least at this point) unless there are a few more songs that I really love. Perhaps that will happen by the end of the series though! I find the characters captivating and just can't imagine anyone else but Riley playing Daisy Jones. She is incredible! I find myself thinking about her auditioning for the show -- and then them realizing that she is Elvis' granddaugh…

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casey
casey
Apr 17, 2023
Replying to

i’m so glad this review timed out for you! yes i totally agree, i can’t believe riley wasn’t a bigger name before this but it really seems like she was born to be daisy. i can’t wait to hear what you think when you finish the show! text me if you’re so inclined :)

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