Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Movie with Abe: Songwriter

Directed by Murray Cummings
Released August 17, 2018

Music is a very different art than film, and the product of a musician’s work doesn’t look very much like a finished movie or television series. Music videos and live performances help to give a fuller picture of an artist’s intent and add to their work, interpreting lyrics and the mood of the song with scenes and facial expressions that don’t come through when music is played on the radio or streamed online. Getting into the mind of a musician provides even more insight into their process, their motivations, and to understanding what they seek to contribute to the world with their art.

Ed Sheeran is a popular singer and songwriter whose career has blossomed and boomed in the last few years. This international sensation is well-known and adored by many, and his prominence and success are only continuing to grow. This documentary, directed by Sheeran’s cousin Murray Cummings, tracks his third studio album, “Divide,” from start to finish, seeking to provide a close-up look at who Sheeran is and what drives him to make music, with a particular focus on the genesis of his songs from melodies and words in his head to something people will listen to over and over.

“Songwriter,” an appropriately-titled film, is being released in theaters across the country but also slated to be available on Apple Music next music. That’s the perfect platform for this documentary, which shows Sheeran as he is, a man who spends almost all of his time thinking about what he wants to write. This production certainly doesn’t feel like the extravagant showcase of a famous man with millions of fans, instead demonstrating an intimacy that’s felt when Sheeran returns to the school he grew up at to pay tribute to the teacher who believed in him and share his love of music with the current students.

Those who like Sheeran or have a particular affinity for music in general will likely find themselves taken with this film. More than anything, this is a portrait of Sheeran as an artist. There are no grand takeaways about what it’s like to be in the music industry and to maintain a sense of self with fame constantly calling and threatening to overwhelm a person’s decency and genuine nature. For those not as into Sheeran or the business, it may not be quite as engaging, but it’s still a decent look at one talented musician.


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