No Artificial Flavours was the next project of MC Taaz, previously of Dam Native. “Sweet As Bro” continues with the social conscience of his earlier group, but this time it’s a bleak buzzkill. Check out the chorus:
The streets that I’m from, they say “Sweet as, bro”
Kids going to school are like, “Sweet as, bro”
Top-notch athletes – “Sweet as, bro”
But in reality I know it’s not sweet as, bro
So, the song’s message is “You think your life is ok? Well, it’s not. It’s shit. Here, let me list all the ways in which your life sucks.” It also sounds a bit like the sort of thing a right-on band would perform as part of a schools tour, followed by a workshop in which students are encouraged to discuss all the ways in which New Zealand society is not “Sweet as, bro”.
But anyway. The video is black and white, with a lot of shots of Taaz wearing a rugby league shirt, walking down a suburban street. With vibe assassin lyrics telling of babies running out of formula, power cuts and being too poor to afford medical care, the video shows people standing around their non-sweet-as neighbourhoods, both in Auckland and rural Northland. There’s also some slow-mo footage of those “top-notch athletes” (i.e., community football) playing a non-sweet-as game.
Along comes the song’s bridge and it’s singer Cherene on the back of a trailer driving around a suburban shopping centre, which is also not sweet as. She also shows up later doing the same drive at night.
The main problem with this video is that everything actually looks ok. The people (especially kids) look happy, the neighbourhoods look tidy. If the video is trying to convince the viewer that it’s hard out here, it’s not doing a very convincing job. But then, would it work to make the video as much of a buzzkill as the lyrics?
Best bit: the disembodied head of an old man, poking up out of a pool.
Director: Tim Groenendaal
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… a circle of mystery.