The Last Song
Inspired by real events and set in the heart of 1960’s Spain, 45 RPM depicts the journey of music producer Guillermo Rojas and pop sensation Robert. Teaming up with musically intelligent Maribel and with drama, romance and plenty of pop music to digest, 45 RPM is a melodramatic, engrossing series, one that blends all its ingredients together to deliver a stylish, musically-driven soap opera.
The first episode sets the scene, with Guillermo spotting the musical talent of rebel Robert and immediately moving Heaven and Earth to sign him to Golden. After initial rejections, he proposes setting up a sub-label Futura and promises a return investment in 3 months. As Robert dives in to the pop scene and Maribel grapples with her own romantic issues, Guillermo’s arrogance ultimately comes back to bite him later on down the line.
As the episodes tick by, Robert’s career takes off with his hit single “Let Her Go”, bringing drama, romance and scandal with it. Robert and Maribel begin to grow closer, with a possible pregnancy complicating matters between them. Late on this spills over into a love triangle with movie star Fanny while a bigger threat to the label throws question marks up around Robert’s entire career. All of this builds to a dramatic and emotional finale that gives closure to the series as a whole while allowing for some surprisingly poignant moments during the final scenes of the show.
Aesthetically, 45 RPM begins with a plethora of split-screen shots, so much so that the early episodes are actually pretty distracting because of it. It’s still a neat stylistic hook but the frequency it’s used early on really takes away from some of the story. However, as the series settles down, so too does the style into a more cohesive form of cinematography, whilst peppering just enough of the split-screen shots from before to keep this feeling wholly unique.
The neon colours, awash with yellow and red, really help sell the feel of these underground clubs and alongside some of the more straight forward use of colour during the day, really helps the series to shine through. Adding to this are a whole record case full of smooth pop tracks, some sung by Robert and others used as background for montage shots or dramatic purposes. Stylistically at least, 45 RPM goes all in across its episodes and it absolutely shows with some really pretty shots dotted throughout the 13 episodes.
Given the amount of romance, melodrama and character-driven conflict at the heart of this one, 45 RPM won’t be for everyone but for those who can take to this style, this Spanish series is certainly a bit of a guilty pleasure. Robert is rebellious enough to root for while adopting the usual soft-heart, bad boy persona seen so often in these sort of shows while Maribel and Guillermo do well to bounce off him, with some really memorable scenes and nice pockets of dialogue fleshing the series out.
If you’re not sold by the end of the third or fourth episode, 45 RPM is unlikely to sway your opinion from here on out. This Spanish series revels in its soap opera approach, with a mix of stylistic shots, pop music and dramatic twists and turns along the way to prevent the series falling into stagnation. It’s not the best music-based series out there, nor is it likely to win any awards anytime soon, but what it lacks in star power it more than makes up for with its absorbing story.