How to encompass this documentary in one word? Gloss. This peek into the Winter Music Conference, DJ culture, and the roots of dance music is bright and shiny and seems ready-made to be sold to E! or Bravo. There's always been an element of hedonism present in dance music and club culture, but the filmmakers here have a really annoying habit of cutting to tits whenever they need a transition or if any one subject has been talking too long. It's not always bare breasts on the beach, either, as a laced-up pair sweating under intellabeams fulfills the same objective.
There's knowledge here, as well as several articulate and intriguing subjects, but the whole thing just feels more like a recruitment video to throw in the faces of people who think dance music is too 'tech-y' and/or 'gay.' This is not to ascribe motivations to the filmmakers, because it is apparent from the amount of time put into the films aerial zooms and mise-en-scène that they love dance music and want to help it flourish. It's just that this doc feels like something made for people who know little about dance music and its culture.
There's some great music to be heard here, covering much of what's been big over the past few years. Unfortunately, one of the things that this film doesn't do is let any of its DJs share their own obscure favorites. The greatest thing any DJ has to offer a crowd is breadth of knowledge of music, and this film sort of sidesteps that issue. That said, this film gets a lot of different perspectives on the breakthroughs in technology and how they affect the club world specifically, with issues ranging from rampant downloading to the diminishing use of outboard gear due to computer production and recording modules.
Put The Needle on It is a breezy and mildly informative look at much of contemporary club culture, the ideal thing for someone who wants to learn more about dance music without getting too deep. Call it the visual equivalent of a crossover pop hit.