7 popstar music documentaries to stream now
It’s always captivating to get a glimpse behind the curtain of the world of pop stardom via a music documentary. They offer insight into the lives of loved ones around the world, but often still show us the baggage and loneliness that also shapes their lives.
There are a few documentaries about some of our favorite popstars about to be released. An unpacking of Olivia Rodrigo’s stratospheric rise to pop stardom, Driving Home 2 U: A Sour Moviedebuts today on Disney+, while Charli XCX’s documentary, Charli XCX: Alone together, on his seminal 2020 lockdown album, will hit UK cinemas in April. There are even talks that, after countless unapproved documentaries about her conservatorship case, Britney is working on a movie that will finally tell her story from her own perspective.
But while we hold our breath waiting for that to drop, and to celebrate Olivia’s debut as a doc, here are seven music documentaries currently on streaming platforms from some of our favorite artists of the moment.
Widely considered the greatest modern concert film (at least by us), Beyoncé Back home follows the legendary artist’s journey to this Coachella Show 2018. Featuring clips from the show itself, plus behind-the-scenes clips and interviews of the singer as she weighs in with the weight of being the first black performer to headline the famed stage , Back home is also more than a film-concert. It’s an ode to black excellence, with quotes and audio from African American thought leaders throughout history coming together to celebrate one of the most historic cultural moments of the 21st century: Beychella. Watch it now on Disney+.
In bed with Madonna, 1991
This intimate glimpse into Madonna’s famous Blonde Ambition tour in 1990 is already a certifiable piece of music documentary history. It might be a little performative at times, but it’s after all what we love and expect from the most controversial popstar of the 20th century. In her usual shy and flirtatious antagonistic manner, the “Like A Prayer” singer opens up about her family, gender and relationships as she hilariously tries to frame actor Antonio Banderas, and nearly gets arrested for masturbation on stage while riding on the wrong side of the Pope. Iconic behavior. Watch it now on BBC iPlayer or Amazon Prime.
It’s Paris, 2020
It may have been sixteen years since Paris Hilton made pop history with her first and only album. Paris and his iconic singles “Stars Are Blind” and “Nothing In This World”. But since, simple life star has carved out a major name for herself in the house music world, becoming the highest paid female DJ in the world. In this film, the star, who is usually guarded by a carefully crafted bimbo character, opens up before a huge concert in Ibiza. Discussing the paparazzi culture of the 2000s, the abuse she faced in religious camps as a teenager, and how the two impacted her relationships and her ability to let people see the real her , this surprisingly raw documentary can be viewed on YouTube.
Miss America, 2020
This documentary was perfectly timed for a metamorphic moment in Taylor Swift’s career. After 2017 Reputation acted as a middle finger for the tabloids and Kanye West, Taylor gained a newfound confidence to speak for herself, for the things she believed in, and to fight for the artistic ownership of her own music. miss american explores the time when she confronts Apple Music, the DJ who sexually assaulted her, and speaks out about her politics for the first time. As Taylor re-records her last six albums to regain control of her music, this documentary, available on Netflix, shows how the star got there. It also has its own very good but often forgotten Taylor song in the end credits.
From Asif Kapadia – director of the documentary Diego Maradona – and A24, is this lauded look at the life and death of beloved British artist Amy Winehouse. Covering everything from his childhood to his first album Franc (2003) and the seminal Back to black (2006), the documentary respectfully makes room to unpack her relationships, the struggles with bulimia and addictions she faced throughout. Now streaming on Apple TV, Amy premiered at the Cannes Film Festival before winning BAFTA, Oscar and Grammy awards. It also gave Amy her second posthumous ‘Best British Female’ nomination to the Brits.
Janet Jackson, 2022
Janet Jackson’s documentary couldn’t have come at a more poignant time. The three-year project was released at a time when we are reassessing the treatment of ’90s and ’00s celebrities such as Britney and Amy Winehouse by the public, the tabloid press and the music industry. Shamelessly sexually empowered Janet was also one of those icons, unjustly ostracized after the infamous Superbowl incident. In this four-part documentary series, available to stream on NowTV, the youngest child of the famous Jackson family opens up about growing up and being forced into a career as a pop star, only to find her own path.
Driving Home 2 U: A Sour Movie, 2022
Has anyone had such a meteoric rise as Olivia Rodrigo? A year ago today, the High School Musical: The Musical: The Series the singer released her first album Acid and stormed the charts with its emo revival, pop-punk nostalgia and songs inspired by Taylor Swift and Lorde. He broke records long held by the Beatles. This Disney+ documentary follows the production of that landmark album and Olivia’s whirlwind year since, a year that has cemented her as the most exciting popstar of the decade so far.
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