YouTube, Twitch, Instagram, Soundcloud, TikTok; they’re all options for new jumping off points for talented artists who haven’t gotten their foot into the door of classic production pipelines. Some no well known artists have broken through to a certain mainstream notoriety from these platforms; Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Post Malone, Lil Nas X to name a few. But then there are some popular acts that have a massive following, but still haven’t reached the doors/minds of certain generations. Marc Rebillet is certainly one of those people. He has millions of followers, sells out shows around the world, and has adoring fans that will stampede right through you if they see him walking down the street. But with Songs About F*cking, those unaware of have an entry way into this energetic warrior of peace and love.
For those reading this before seeing the film or checking out what Marc is all about, the simple way to put it is; he’s a loop musician who found his way into people’s hearts via live streaming content. He takes 5 second live samples or freshly decided upon beats, records them into a loop machine and basically and freestyle improvises over the newly created track. During the lock sections of the Covid-19 pandemic his following grew as people looked for ways to connect with others and live music outlets while stuck inside.
His performances would ultimately end up being a fever dream of Marc writhing around in his underwear while clad in an open silk robe as he created his newest rhythms. While his legend grew he gained not only the attention of the lonely, yearning, locked up general public, but a wide variety of celebrities took notice. It wasn’t too long before the likes of Erykah Badu and Reggie Watts were in the middle of Marc’s living room jiving along with the lanky yet muscular creator.
All of this sounds like great fodder for a documentary about both finding your foothold and special niche in an overcrowded list of people fighting for recognition over the internet. Along the way, also becoming a beacon for those who want to feel a connection that has been missing from their lives for some time. Instead, Songs About F*cking is a dis-jointed set of tour clips peppered with old footage of Marc that don’t tie together well enough to even be called a documentary. Can you consider it a “tour” documentary documenting a single road trip across the U.S.? Sure, but it tries to be more and misses the mark.
For those familiar with Marc’s work and wait for him to come around to produce another drunken clothed orgy in their town; they’ll love it. But for anyone trying to get insight into Marc will feel let down. All the pieces are there. Though it takes a long time to fully get into his relationship with his parents (most specifically his father) and shows you the joy he got and still gets bringing people together, they are breadcrumbs that never were part of a full slice. Instead, the opening half of the film is dominated by watching Marc basically belting out single note calls out over his live loops without digging into anything.
At one point an old home video clip filmed by his father is down. A younger Marc is at a piano with his head down, focusing hard on playing/writing something. He tried to shoo off his father saying what he was doing was serious. He was working on a submission for something involving Medeski, Martin, & Wood. MMW, an avant garde Jazz group that I would bet many of Marc’s fans are not even aware exists (I know, I’m generalizing) is a bit of a far cry from what Marc ended up doing. You don’t have to sound like your heroes and influences, but there is a story there not being told.
What were Marc’s original ambitions? I’m not putting down the style of loop created music; I’m pretty sure that is Ed Sheeran’s whole thing, isn’t it? What was his road map at one point? He obviously loves what he does, but did he cut out a part of himself that he doesn’t talk about? No traditional forms of documentary filmmaking need to be followed, but supplying more footage of your group of friends and fans just having fun and that cool shot you got when everyone was running from a rain storm is not a documentary. It’s just a list of documents.
The story is there in the end. There is enough information dealt out to put it all together, but learning about someone’s life needs to include the audience. Songs About F*cking seems like it is meant more for Marc’s already adoring army of fans and less about those who just want to learn about someone they don’t know.
Final Grade: C+