TrueBliss is like patient zero of the modern phenomena of reality TV music stars. TrueBliss came from Popstars which begat Australian Popstars, which begat UK Popstars, which begat Popstars: The Rivals (which begat Girls Aloud and it was good), which begat Pop Idol, which begat American Idol, which begat X Factor… and it’s just been announced that New Zealand is getting its own X Factor series in 2013.
The original Popstars was nothing like the slick talent quests we know today. It had a much lower budget, for starters – a church hall instead of the O2 Arena. Popstars was more a fly-on-the-wall doco that didn’t have two of the most vital elements of shows today – no phone vote and no Mr Nasty judge. But it was crazy fun and managed to piss people off, which is always good.
Anyway, the newly formed quintet had to release their first single. “Tonight” was penned by Anthony Ioasa of Grace but it sounds like something taken from the filing cabinet of a middle-aged man: “Tonight’s the night we made love till the eeeeend”. It’s like an older man’s idea of what a young woman should be like. This is New Zealand. We do not “make love”; we root.
The video is better than the song. It sees le Bliss hanging out together in various locations. They’re at a slumber party watching home movies of themselves, hanging out in an edgy urban alleyway, relaxing at the beach, spilling things at a cafe, running around in elegant gowns, and grappling with all sorts of hairdos and make-up, some of which were even in fashion at the time.
But in a way, it doesn’t even matter what goes on in the video. “Tonight” exists as a kitschy document of pre-millennium New Zealand. The possibilities of digital video technology were crossed with the fun yet cynical world of pop and TrueBliss were what happened. They didn’t last long, with Carly leaving in 2000 and the band dissolving soon after. In a way they were a perfect pop group, a great formation story, a couple of hit singles, a tour, and then it’s all over.
Best Worst bit: the awfulness of Joe being excluded from the sexy hula dance.
Director: Matt Palmer
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… just a little reminder.