Dead Flowers “You Drink The Water, I’ll Drink The Wine”

1995-dead-flowers-you-drink-the-waterDead Flowers get all “November Rain” with this epic-ish metal ballad. Shot in high-contrast black and white, the video takes place in rural New Zealand, where a tragedy has occurred.

Someone has died, which causes mothers and children to cry in close up. The young male suspect stands trial and appears to be found guilty, sentenced to hang. Yes, this is the part of New Zealand where hanging still happens. Probably somewhere in Southland.

But then the narrative gets a bit fuzzy. Suddenly we see Bryan Dead Flowers in the police cell. What’s he doing there? He is actually the murderer? He has switched places?

The previously strong narrative dissolves into a series of dramatic shots, as if someone gave up trying to give the video a conclusion and instead just strung together some prior footage.

Despite all that, this is a pretty decent looking video. But it’s let down by one really big thing: the cops have really bad fake moustaches. I don’t quite understand it. There’s obviously been a lot of effort put into the video, making it look really good, but yet the policemen have really bad $2 shop Moustache Party stick-on mo’s. And even worse – one of these cops is shown in close-up. Even the Beastie Boys had better looking fake moustaches in the deliberately cheesy “Sabotage” video.

Best bit: the serious judge with his serious pointing finger.

Director: Chris Mauger
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… revenge of the Supervixens.

Shihad “Deb’s Night Out”

1995-shihad-debs-night-outAnd what a night out it is. Jon Shihad starts out sitting in the back of a car with a middle-aged couple. Those two are having a jolly old time, laughing and getting pissed on wine, while Jon sulks like a teen who’s being forced to attend his dumb uncle’s dumb 50th birthday. He doesn’t want to go; there’ll only be old people there.

The car drives around the streets of what I think is Wellington. It’s dark and I can’t quite pick any familiar landmarks, but it feels like Wellington. And if it is the capital, there was a lot more neon and less street lighting back in the ’90s.

Finally the car arrives at a hall in the suburbs where a party is in progress. “And I pray for a rain to wash you far away,” Jon sings. Steady on, Jon! It’s just some oldies having a knees-up.

At the hall, everyone is having a good time. The oldies are enjoying tasty wedges, and young ‘uns are rock-and-roll dancing. Finally old misery guts gets up on the dance floor and has a good old kanikani, with the rest of Shihad enjoying themselves.

This is the first Shihad video that features Shihad not playing as a band. It suits the mellower, more atmospheric song. I’m sure the suburban shindig setting was used to be edgy and ironic, but 16 years on, it’s a lot easier to believe Shihad enjoying themselves at such an event.

Best bit: the platecam capturing the look of glee as the oldies grab the wedges.

Director: Chris Mauger
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Jan Hellriegel “The Way I Feel”

In 2009, the Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision had a public vote for the top 100 New Zealand music videos. The top video was the dramatic “Maxine” by Sharon O’Neill, while number two was the glorious “Way I Feel” by Jan Hellriegel. Hell yeah.

It was the first song of her debut solo album “It’s My Sin” and great effort was made to make sure she really kicked off. “The Way I Feel” is a stylish black and white video directed by Chris Mauger. Layers of windswept Jan, night-driving Jan, moody poolhall Jan, and guitar-playing Jan float on top of each other. Oh, and some boy scouts too. The video is as cool as the song, which is as cool as the video.

Night-driving Jan features a lot, and that’s what I enjoy the most about it. It captures that feeling of driving on a still night. Not hooning up and down Queens Street, but going out on a quiet night to visit your secret lover.

Jan is again rocking a peasant blouse, but you know what? She totally owns it. Hey, isn’t it time for a peasant blouse revival? Yeah, I think it is.

Best bit: an old man blinks rhythmically.

Director: Chris Mauger
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next: Nature is really awesome!

Push Push “What My Baby Likes”

Recently a friend expressed surprise that Push Push had more than one single. She was watching the video for their second single, “Song 27”. But there’s even more! “What My Baby Likes” was their third and final single.

Hey, why did we mock Push Push? This video is awesome. “What My Baby Likes” is an extravagant, energetic rock fest, complete with flaming flames of fire, and hair, glorious hair. Mikey Havoc is alive with pleasure, and he could teach the Hoi Polloi lady a few things about appearing energetic without hamming.

It’s so joyous, and Havo totally sells the cheesy lyrics – “We made love in the Himalayaaaaas!” The video has a small plot with the appearance of an actual baby, and the suggestion that he is responsible for all the fire.

Push Push had toned down from their teen glam metal days and were going for more of a grunge look, but the excesses of the grunge era were fast falling out of favour to the more stripped down and “authentic” grunge-era. The flaming flames of fire? They were burning the last strands of glam.

Best bit: Mikey’s shorts ‘n’ flannel shirt combo.

Director: Chris Mauger
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the south side extends worldwide.

Ngaire “Attitude”

In 1990, Ngaire had a number-one hit with her cover of “To Sir With Love”. But subsequent singles languished in the charts, including “Attitude”. The song – a very modern 2:45 long – sounds like a jam that was never really developed into a full song.

She sings the song up against a wall, surrounded by her band, as if they were protecting her from the bad-attituded subject of the lyrics. Her disses aren’t particularly harsh: “You walk so slowly, like an action replay”. Today, she’d join that anti-slow-walking Facebook group.

The most remarkable thing about the video is Ngaire’s wardrobe. She’s dressed like a young businesswoman, with the style that Eddie from “Absolutely Fabulous” favoured. Maybe this is her taking control and girl-bossing her way out of a bad relationship.

Throw yourself into your work, Ngaire! Your TPS reports won’t sass you like he does.

Best bit: The intense rock face of Ngaire’s drummer.

Director: Chris Mauger
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Money worries aren’t the only thing that’s getting me down.