Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll: Amazon’s ‘Daisy Jones & The Six’ has it all

Zoe Leone, Associate Arts & Life Editor

The story of “Daisy Jones & The Six,” the fictional band born from the brain of author Taylor Jenkins Reid, came to a close on March 23. If you didn’t find yourself frantically flipping pages after its initial release as a novel in 2019 or white-knuckling the remote as the Amazon adaptation played out these past four weeks, you’ve missed a whole lot of sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and excellent storytelling.

Both the book and the series essentially follow the same storyline at their core. With ‘70s era Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and New York serving as the backdrop for the story, the lives of the dysfunctional dreamer Daisy Jones (Riley Keough) collide with the chaos-ridden rock band The Six. Magic blossoms in the musical world as the personal lines between business, pleasure and heartbreak start to blur for everyone involved.

It’s easy to compare a story about a tumultuous and world famous ‘70s rock band with that of the arguably biggest band of the era: Fleetwood Mac. And while the inspirations are definitely present (affairs, cocaine and excellent music, just to name a few), to chalk “Daisy Jones & The Six” up to a fictionalized biopic is nothing but lazy.

The  Hello  Sunshine — Reese Witherspoon’s very own production company — backed mini-series begins with the heartbreaking backstories of the main players. Jones is raised in a world of idyllic Los Angeles privilege, but the contempt her parents hold towards her for disrupting their perfect lives sends her into rebellion. 

On the other side of the country in Pittsburgh, struggling musicians Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin), Graham Dunne (Will Harrison), Warren Rojas (Sebastian Chacon) and Eddie Roundtree (Josh Whitehouse) grapple with searching for their breakthrough and the familial ties that hold them.

With the addition of keyboardist Karen Sirko (Suki Waterhouse) and Billy’s wife, Camila (Camila Morrone), as their photographer and sudo-manager, The Six is born. As the road of fate drives them towards Los Angeles, legendary music producer Teddy Price (Tom Wright) and eventually their first collaboration with Jones, the cracks begin to form as addiction and rising tension between the band members begin to grab hold.

The show has a slow start until episode three when Jones and Billy Dunne meet for the first time. Keough and Claflin’s chemistry is beyond magnetic. As soon as their characters begin to bicker for the first time, it becomes clear that the two are going to grow into something much more than just reluctant band members. It sends audiences to the edge of their seat as the heat between them continues to rise, amidst the seemingly endless downward spiral of the lives of them and the people around them.

While their chemistry is one of the show’s main attractions — along with the grit and glamor of the world of ‘70s rock music — Keough’s performance as Jones is simply enchanting. She’s captivating from the minute she first appears as a younger version of Jones, with a bright smile and hopeful doe eyes.

The softer version we first meet peels away to the hardened and haywire rockstar that seems to ever evolve amidst copious amounts of drugs, questionable relationship choices and self-destruction. While Keough’s portrayal makes it easy to root for her, Jones’ relationship with disco pioneer Simone Jackson (Nabiyah Be) brings a gentleness to the show.

For a book adaptation, “Daisy Jones & The Six” is fairly faithful to the source material. Most of the changes made actually make the story stronger, except the relationship between Sirko and Graham Dunne. What starts as a secret summer love and ends as a heart-wrenching goodbye forced by two people who want different futures is shoved into a background plot that barely scratches the surface of what originally existed.

Overall, “Daisy Jones & The Six” is a success. The characters are dynamic, the story is enthralling and the world of ‘70s music and bad decisions is delightfully easy to fall into. Whether you’re in it for the relationships, drama or music, there’s a little something for everyone to love.

While there have been rumors of the fictional band turning semi-real with a tour featuring the actors, for now fans will have to settle for listening to “AURORA,” Daisy Jones & The Six’s album that is actually performed by the cast of the show. The 11-track record is the perfect follow-up once the finale ends.