The proto-twerk, six shirts and one pair of trousers, a dystopian stilt hut, hanging out in the Coromandel, epic proggy drag race, down at the Mount, the ol’ band is back for one last gig.
I know what you’re thinking. Why would a cool dude like Savage release a song based around a term that has become a pop culture cliche? The answer is that he got there first. Years before Miley Cyprus took twerking mainstream, Savage was doing his own thing as part of his reinvention as the Lil Jon of the South Pacific. Here, Google Trends reveals Savage’s place in the timeline of the popularity of “twerk”. (The big spike is Miley at the MTV awards.)
Savage’s take on twerking was more serious and less fun than Miley’s interpretation. The “Twerk” video features three female dancers, all wearing balaclavas. It’s reminsicent of the infamous “Everytime” scene from Springbreakers, which also came after “Twerk”.
The balaclavas anonymise the dancers, but for what reason? Is it because a booty is a booty is a booty, bend over and shake it? Or is it because those three have a reason to disguise their identities, e.g., they’re about to commit armed robbery? “Twerk” never explains. It lets us fully identify Savage and his pal (if we can be bothered) but the dancers are anonymous, only partly lifting their knitted anonymisers to briefly lip sync the Doug E. Fresh sample.
Director: Askew One
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision
Seth Haapu “Owe You Nothing”
And then along comes Seth Haapu, doing his thing that is unlike any other thing in the early 2010s. “Owe You Nothing” stars six different versions of Seth, as he/they move around in front of a geometric background. It looks great. He’s a confident performer and can deliver to the camera. But as enjoyable as the video is, it feels like it’s crying out for a bigger setting. Get the six Seths out into the real world!
Director: Luke McPake
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision
“Ignite” is set in a dystopian stilt hut (oh, one of those), inhabited by a strange girl who is concocting some sort of scientific formula and/or witchcraft. Jon from Shihad briefly shows up, but the video mostly lets the girl do her thing. Interestingly, there is also a director’s cut of the video – and it’s a better version. In the original, the video ends with the hut shaking, looking like it’s about to explode, with a final external shot of the hut belching smoke. The director’s cut ends with the girl still inside the hut as it violently shakes. That version doesn’t give us the comfort of fleeing the hut. We’re still in there with the girl. If she’s going down in flames, so are we.
Director: Tim Van Dammen
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision
Street Chant “Stoned Again”
It’s generally accepted that Street Chant are the greatest band ever, and “Stoned Again” is a fine video for a fine song. The vid goes with the lazy, chilled-out feeling of the song, just filming the trio being busy doin’ nothin’. The video was filmed in the Coromandel, and deftly delivers a lazy summer feeling without resorting to the music video cliches of a Kiwi summer.
Director: Andrew Moore
Supermodel sound influenced by Muse, with an epic, proggy feeling amid a pop sensibility. The video brings the drama, using a drag race involving Mark Supermodel racing a teary young woman who could do with some waterproof mascara. They’re hooning about in vintage cars, and there’s even the implication of a big crash – or at least something that causes a pleasingly giant fireball to erupt behind the band.
Director: Preston McNeil
Te Paamu “Casanova”
Te Paamu were the 2010 winners of Smokefree Pacifica Beats, and a music video was part of the prize package. The group were from Otaki, but the video is shot down the other end of the island. The band can be found on Moturiki Island, over looking the golden sands of Mt Manganui beach, with Mauao keeping watch. Both the song and the video have a complicated narrative, with scenes shot around Mt Maunganui giving the lyrics a bit too much explanation. But as a sunny, beachy, love story, it works.
Director: Youth Performance Trust
The Feelers “Didn’t Want To Fall In Love”
It’s been years since the Feelers have made a full-on rock music video with the whole band. It only took a line-up change for them to get their groove back. The band got a new bassist and acquired Zed’s Andy Lynch as a second guitarist. And instantly, “Didn’t Want To Fall In Love” just feels a lot bigger than previous Feelers videos that always seemed to be focused on lead singer James. It is a very ordinary rock video, but maybe it’s all the Feelers need to do at this rebooted stage of their career.
This is the last of the Feelers’ 24 videos that were funded in the first two decades of NZ On Air’s funding. Since then, they’ve had funding for two more videos – “Dasvidaniya” (the Feelers do Soviet austerity in a wooden cabin crossed with Elton John’s “Nikita” video) and “One Man Army” (ordinary people overcome everyday obstacles in really nicely shot slow motion).
They’re one of the most highly funded bands – only Shihad has more funded videos. And whether or not you enjoy their tunes, the Feelers have made an impact, and were especially iconic in the 2000s. They were ours. And they wrote a dope song about cyber sex.
Director: Richard Bell