December 2009: Ivy Lies, J Williams, Jonny Love, Lawrence Arabia, Lisa Crawley, Motocade, Opshop

Mysteries of the hotel room, world ruler pretend, around the country, the dandy in the city, paintings see all, colours and quirk, and a post-apocalyptic world.

Ivy Lies “Addicted”

Formerly known as Starlett, the 2003 Rockquest band transformed into Ivy Lies. Their punk-pop sound feels a bit dated, like something from the mid 2000s emo scene, rather than a bold new sound for the new decade. But then, this is New Zealand. The video has Ivy Lies rocking in a random black studio space, while in room 2118 of a hotel, a guy watches them on TV. Leader singer Emla also shows up in her room, but he can’t see her. The video’s ending is odd – the guy is shaving his face in the bathroom and is mysteriously sucked into the mirror. Hey, why not?

Director: Ivan Slavov

J Williams featuring Dane Rumble & K.One “Want To Rule The World”

“Want to Rule the World” is J Williams and Dane Rumble’s cover of Tears for Fears’ 1985 hit “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”. It’s faithful to the original, save for K.One’s guest rap. (Compare and contrast with Lorde’s 2013 cover, where she took the song, pulled it apart and glued it back together as piece of gothic, cinematic drama.) But J and D’s version brings the sunshine, putting the pair in a recording studio, by the ocean, and driving around in fancy vehicles – because that’s what you do when you rule the world. See this making-of video for more. (Also, what is up with all the indoor sunglasses of the late 2000s? Was there rampant pinkeye going around the NZ music community?)

Director: Mark Arona
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Jonny Love “Weight of Tomorrow”

I’m normally not too fussed on scenic New Zealand videos or gimmicky videos, but I quite like this one. Filmed in stop-motion, it follows Johnny Love as he travels from Bluff to Cape Reinga, visiting major cities and various rural areas along the way, even finding time for a hongi and a visit to Tane Mahuta. Even though it is a fairly touristy route, it is still nice to see New Zealand unfurling this way.

Director: Ivan Slavov

Lawrence Arabia “Auckland CBD Part Two”

In “Auckland CBD Part Two”, Mr Milne plays the part of a dandy, reflecting on a sexual fantasy, in which he hooks up with a woman in Auckland’s CBD. The video is the man alone, living his fine life in Auckland, swimming in his pool, reading Sartre, eating sushi, enjoying a sorbet – all on his own. As the dream girl doesn’t materialise, he strips off and jumps in the ocean. With all the fancy locations and nice shots, it serves as a flip side of the bling culture (or attempts at) that was rampant in music videos in the decade prior.

Director: Jensen Downes Picture Company

Lisa Crawley “These Friends of Mine”

“These Friends of Mine” starts off slow and mournful. Lisa is surrounded by people in strange masks made from paintings which surely represent bad things. It’s quirky but sinister. The song picks up and Lisa joins her non-masked friends for a musical picnic, but watching in the trees are the masked people, eventually moving away. They cannot fight the power of cute musicians having a woodland jam session.

Director: Luke McPake

Motocade “Holy Moly”

The “Holy Moly” video feels like it’s trying to be one of those weird, edgy kind of video that Special Problems were known for, but without the artistic vision of Special Problems. It’s a fun concept – the band and a cast of actors and dancers (including Kate Elliott and her husband, Pluto frontman and Grampire star Milan Borich) who do quirky things in front of solid colour backgrounds. But sometimes it feels like a parody of an arty music video. Well, perhaps it is.

Director: Eden Mulholland

Opshop “Pins & Needles”

Just seconds into this song, I could tell that it would have been the opening track on Opshop’s third album – and indeed it was. It has an epic, soaring pop-rock sound, the work of a confident band. The video ramps things up to 11, putting Opshop in a post-apocalyptic world. If it was for a serious rock song, the video would seem overwrought and pretentious, but the sheer attitude and altitude of the song makes the video totally work.

Director: Ivan Slavov

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