Of all the rock albums coming out in 2010 that can be considered hotly anticipated, the new record from the recently-reunited Blink-182 might be tops on the list. When it finally drops, hardcore fans will be able to experience the making of their new masterpiece first hand, as the band announced they are going to capture the recording experience first-hand as part of a making-of doc they’re calling “The Blinkumentary.”
While there have been plenty of documentaries that have tracked tours or specific shows, there have only been a handful of films that have really broken into the creation of great albums. But the ones that do exist are particularly amazing. If “The Blinkumentary” reveals the sorts of things that the following flicks do, then we’re in for a classic.
“Some Kind of Monster”
Metallica originally just wanted to capture the energy of their 2003 album St. Anger, but following James Hetfield’s resurgent substance abuse problems and the dismissal of bassist Jason Newsted, “Some Kind of Monster” morphed into a jaw-dropping psychodrama about the nature of friendship and the process of aging as a band.
Key Scene: Tied between the moment when Lars Ulrich rejects every riff as “stock” and the moment where the therapist decides he can write metal lyrics.
“I Am Trying to Break Your Heart”
Wilco were always a good band who were always on the verge of being great, and “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” captures the incredible process the group went through to produce their masterpiece Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Along the way, they lost founding band member Jay Bennett, got dropped by their label and fought through frontman Jeff Tweedy’s migraines.
Key Scene: While in the studio, Tweedy gets stressed out, gets a headache and goes into the bathroom to vomit … and the camera follows him!
“Come Feel Me Tremble”
Paul Westerberg redefined indie rock in the ’80s as the primary force behind Minneapolis’ the Replacements, and since that band broke up he has been quietly toiling as a solo artist. “Come Feel Me Tremble” follows Westerberg around his strange life and focuses on his incredibly low-fi recording process during the making of the songs that would make up the double album Stereo/Mono.
Key Scene: Westerberg sits in his barren-looking home studio trying to work through an acoustic demo of “Wild & Lethal.” It’s fascinating, agonizing and somewhat heartbreaking.
“Watch Me Jumpstart”
Guided by Voices — or rather, frontman Robert Pollard and whoever surrounded him at the time — were one of the most polarizing bands in all of indie rock, and while this doc focuses mostly on Pollard explaining the group’s early days banging around Dayton, Ohio, the footage of Pollard recording fully-formed songs in seconds is pretty amazing and true to the GBV aesthetic.
Key Scene: Watching Pollard plug into the cheapest-looking recording equipment possible and somehow birthing a sugary-sweet gem.
“Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the Story of Smile”
The esoteric, troubled Wilson spent 37 years on an album called Smile, which began as a Beach Boys project and was eventually released as a solo album back in 2004. There aren’t a whole lot of scenes of Wilson in the studio, but the story of the album coming together is nothing short of staggering.
Key Scene: Watching Wilson discuss just about anything is both sad and inspiring.
“The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years”
It’s not about making an album (or even about a particular band), but not only is it awesome, but it also shows exactly the sort of science that went into recording stunners like Poison’s Look What the Cat Dragged In and Faster Pussycat’s self-titled debut.
Key Scene: Uh, this one.