Quick Take: Breaking a Monster

Breaking A Monster, a fine documentary on the signing and marketing of ‘tween metal band Unlocking The Truth, is now streaming on Netflix:

This ‘fly-on-the-wall’ style documentary is filled with behind-the-scenes music industry clichés, but only because unfortunately many of these clichés exist and thrive. The closed door meetings with the record company execs are especially uncomfortable. That said, it is amazing how self-aware these kids are. Kudos to them for realizing they need to take a stand, especially against adults out to intimidate them into caving to the record company’s contrived vision of how a young, African-American rock band should be presented. For example, the band shoots down a music video idea that doesn’t ‘match the song’ (despite heated push-back from management) and belligerently and repeatedly keep their team focused on the band’s priority: actually getting to work on their album in a recording studio. I was also struck by how at ease the band is playing Coachella early on, like they’ve played on stages that size dozens of times before. Though I knew of them, I hadn’t followed Unlocking The Truth so I was expecting a ‘screwed over by record label’ downfall to occur in the third act, but the documentary just ended in the midst of the band’s rise. That third act may be yet to come … or maybe not. Regardless, I think these three smart and talented young rockers will do just fine.

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