So here’s Anika Moa. She’s had a lot of videos funded – at least 16, but possible more. “Youthful” was her first single of her poppy, New York-recorded debut album. Legend has it that her record company were trying to push her further down the pop route, but she went “nah” and took a step back to Aotearoa. It was a good move. “Youthful” was a hit for Anika, charting at #5 and getting the 2002 APRA award as the most performed work on New Zealand radio and television.
We meet the young Ms Moa (she was only 21) standing in the hallway of an ordinary looking house. She’s dressed very casually (denim jacket and bootled trousers) with scraggly Kim Deal-style hair and no noticeable make up. Hey, it’s Anika.
But from this ordinary scene she steps into a side room and is suddenly in a winter wonderland. It’s snowing and stands wearing an ice princess version of her streetwear casual style.
Off to the other side is an autumnal themed room, with the warm colours of deciduous leaves. And this time it’s dead leaves that are falling everywhere. A house with a tree in the middle of it seems a bit weird, until you consider that Korean restaurant on Queen Street that actually has a giant tree growing up in the middle of it.
But those seasonal rooms aren’t even the strangest. No, that belongs to the room with shelves full of mason jars with sheets of A4 flapping over each jar. With preserves being rather fashionable at the moment, it all looks like some sort of cool concept restaurant.
The song, with its themes of dominion and exploitation, has a sinister edge to it and the Paul Casserly-directed video goes with that uneasy vibe. I almost don’t want Anika to venture into the weird rooms, staying in the safety of the hallways, away from the mason jars and A4.
Best bit: the leaf that hits Anika on the side of the face.
Note: In one of C4’s Homegrown profiles from 2005, Anika talks about the making of this video. She chose the treatment out of several submitted, but felt that the lower budget of the video didn’t let it look as good as was originally intended. And people told her that she looked like Beth Heke. See more here, in part two.
Director: Paul Casserley
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… the caravan of love.