THERE'S an undying fascination in the creative process of songwriting. How talented artists seemingly pluck magic out of thin air and package it in a beautiful melody.
For the past six years US musician Hrishikesh Hirway has been diving deep with well-known artists on his podcast Song Exploder. Hirway's Netflix series takes the podcast to the visual medium.
The beauty of Song Exploder is you don't necessarily need to know the track. It's how the song comes alive, that's the key.
Episode one features US soul queen Alicia Keys' new song 3 Hour Drive, co-written with producer Jimmy Napes and UK star Sampha. When the trio came together Keys had welcomed her third son and Sampha's mother had just died. Keys says those emotional family events created "this crazy beautiful circle," on which the song is based.
Another episode focuses on R.E.M monster 1991 hit Losing My Religion. Each of the four members provide insights into their contributions, but the highlight is watching singer Michael Stipe uncomfortably listen to his isolated vocal track. "It's so naked, so raw, so unsupported," Stipe says.
It's moments like this which make Song Exploder essential viewing for music lovers.
CLASS ACTION PARK
THE 2016 Dreamworld Thunder Rapids tragedy, which resulted in the deaths of four people and a $3.6 million fine, tarnished the reputation of theme parks in Australia.
Thankfully, Australia has never seen anything like New Jersey's Action Park. Watching the documentary Class Action Park you'll be amazed this water and amusement park existed and people actually paid to attend.
Action Park operated from 1978 to 1996 in Vernon and was owned by controversial businessman Eugene Mulvihill, a man who famously hated rules and regulations.
It led to the "world's biggest water park" also becoming the most dangerous with injuries a daily occurrence and rite of passage for risk-taking '80s teenagers.
The majority of the rides were created in house by staff without engineering degrees. The park's most legendary ride, the Cannonball Loop, was a giant water slide which shot people upside down in a giant loop. During the initial trials crash test dummies were decapitated and after a slight refinement, Mulvihill paid staff $100 to test ride the slide only for many to lose teeth.
The documentary features interviews with ex-employees and attendees who retell stories of horrific injuries and behaviour with the cavalier attitude of teenage boys swapping sexual escapades.
While the first half of Class Action Park focuses on wild memories of the park, the latter half reveals the tragic reality. Five people died at Action Park, including George Larsson, 20, who was throw off a faulty sled and into rocks in 1980. George's now elderly mother and brother recount their loss which remains as raw as ever 40 years later.
IS THIS TOMORROW?
ROCKFIELD Studios nestled in the Welsh countryside with its overgrown grass and dilapidated stonewalls is the last place you'd expect one of the biggest rock albums of the past 30 years to have been made.
But to celebrate 25 years since the release of Oasis' seminal (What's The Story) Morning Glory, songwriter Noel Gallagher returned to Rockfield to give fans an insight into the album's creation.
The 30-minute documentary mostly features Noel being shown around the famous studio and reminiscing about the record's 16-day gestation. While many will be fascinated by actually seeing the wall Noel sat upon as he wrote and practiced Wonderwall before a herd of sheep, the documentary lacks juicy anecdotes. It was also disappointing that brother Liam Gallagher played no part in Is This Tomorrow? Going by Twitter last week, Liam was disappointed too.
REVIEWS BY JOSH LEESON