February 2008: Airspace, All Left Out, Anika Moa, Batucada Sound Machine, Collapsing Cities

In bed with Anika, strangers on a train, Farrah Fawcett hair, rhythm and dramatics, and attack of the fruity blobs.
Continue reading February 2008: Airspace, All Left Out, Anika Moa, Batucada Sound Machine, Collapsing Cities

October 2007: All Left Out, Anika Moa, Annabel Fay, Autozamm, Bleeders

The wild west, shocking Amsterdam, a boring wander, jumping off a waterfall, and the guys that punched.
Continue reading October 2007: All Left Out, Anika Moa, Annabel Fay, Autozamm, Bleeders

Anika Moa “Mother”

2002-anika-moa-motherThe “Mother” video takes the familiar path of the close-up lip-sync, made most famous by Sinead O’Connor in “Nothing Compares 2 U” (though without anything that would prompt an open letter from Ms O’Connor). But Anika is not alone in this. A few seconds into the song she’s joined by another version of herself. Not an evil twin, just another Anika.

While Left Anika sings most of the song, Right Anika joins in to harmonise and has a few verses of her own. Left Anika is more thoughtful and serious, but Right Anika is full of energy, unable to keep still. I like to think that this is what the Breeders were like, back when it was just the teenaged Deal sisters duetting on country songs at biker bars.

Both halves seem to have no edits in them, which means Anika was able to two different lip-syncs playing two different characters. Even though Ms Moa is known for her jolly character, she’s able to knuckle down and give a serious performance (twice!).

The song itself is an ode to Anika’s mum, so it’s nice to think that such is her feeling of aroha for her mum that took two Anikas to really convey the emotion. Awww…

Best bit: Right Anika’s moves during the dance break.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Director: Justin Pemberton

Next… life on the road.

Anika Moa “Falling In Love Again”

2002-anika-moa-falling-in-love“Falling in Love Again” is Anika Moa’s highest-equal charting single, with both it and debut “Youthful” reaching number five. It’s not hard to see why. It’s a sweet romantic song about falling in love with an old boyfriend (or indeed a girlfriend)… after having previously been a bit of a ho. The song was cowritten with James Reid of the Feelers, and was included on the soundtrack of the John Cusack/Catherine Zeta Jones romantic comedy “America’s Sweethearts”.

The video sets Anika in a world populated with lots of cute boys. Everywhere she goes, even in remote coastal New Zealand, eventually there’s a model-like boy giving her the gladeye, and she him. There’s a taxi driver (as sharp-eyed reader Lisa points out, he’s played by Antony Starr), a fisherman, an outrigger canoeist, a cyclist, and a guy who just popped down to the shops for some milk.

And weirdly enough, this doesn’t seem too unrealistic. With the exception of the taxi driver, these occupations and pastimes are not uncommon in the lives of fit young dudes. In every case, there are slow glances and flirty smiles, with the milk boy also getting a kiss on the cheek.

While the taxi driver seems to be driving around a city street (and in a left-hand-drive car), most of the video takes place well away from urban areas, on a sun-drenched beach, a green river, a pleasingly damp rugby field and a small town. I feel like this is a trope in New Zealand music videos – the video as a travelogue, highlighting the parts of New Zealand that may appeal to tourists. But where, I wonder, would tourists find the part of New Zealand occupied by flirty girls and cute boys?

Note: In 2005 Anika talked about the making of this video in a C4 Homegrown profile. She says the American label was heavily involved and flew over a director to keep an eye on things, ensuring the video was full of the aforementioned hot guys. The American also demanded that Anika be filmed from angles to make her look as skinny as possible. Ugh. Watch it here, in part three. Cheers to to Vicky for finding this clip.

Best bit: the classic New Zealand dairy, complete with a wall of red post office boxes.

Director: Justin Pemberton
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… giz a chip.

Anika Moa “Good In My Head”

2001-anika-moa-good-in-my-headThe video sets the scene in ordinary New Zealand. A car rolls down a leafy street, the wind blows a suburban washingline, a seagull squawks, and sheep nibble pasture. Despite the international cliches, you don’t normally see sheep in New Zealand music videos.

And we also meet Anika walking past a wall with an elaborate graffiti mural. She’s wearing a beige duffle coat over a red t-shirt, and as the scene changes (to the rural setting, to the beach) she wears the same clothes, eventually ditching the jacket on the sunny beach.

There’s clever editing between the different locations. A sip from a water bottle carries from suburbia to the West Lynn shops to the beach; a kicked can transforms into a kick into the sandy beach.

And with the exception of the few people seen in the background down at the shops, other people don’t feature in the video. This is a world where Anika Moa is the lone inhabitant.

It’s not a particularly high-concept video, and mainly seems to serve as a pleasant setting to showcase the song. It’s attractive, it’s scenic and works nicely with the song.

Best bit: the busy postie seen reflected in a shop window.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Director: Justin Pemberton

Next… freeze frame.

Strawpeople “Taller Than God”

1996-strawpeople-taller-than-godStrange things are afoot at the Moturemu Motel, where Fiona McDonald plays a bored clerk at the kitschy motel. In real life it’s in Parakai, but it has a not-quite-New-Zealand feel to it.

Fiona mans the front desk, where a handsome young man checks in for the night. In other rooms we meet a elderly cellist, fellow Strawpeople person Paul Casserly conducting strange experiments, a yoga lady and a lonely seductress. This motel only attracts unusual solo travellers.

The song has a spooky quality to it, with a killer chorus. Fiona knows how to do melody. The video picks up on the spookiness, making the motel seem both comforting and uneasy.

Why has the handsome young man come to the motel? Why is he staring into a shard of broken glass? Will motel lady Fiona ever find happiness? The morning brings no answers. Everyone seems just as troubled as before. The handsome young man eats dry cereal out of a box, swigging down milk from a glass bottle.

Looking at the motel on Streetview, it appears to no longer be operating as a motel, now looking like an unremarkable block of flats. I don’t know how much of the video was set dressing, but I like to think that the Moturemu Motel used to be as crazy as what appeared in this video, complete with the troubled guests.

Best bit: continuing from the 50c coin in the “Trick with a Knife” video, this video features a big old 20c coin as part of a nervous fidget.

Director: Justin Pemberton
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a tiger hunt.

Bic Runga “Drive”

1995-bic-runga-driveFinally Sony was ready for Bic. “Drive” was the song chosen to launch Bic Runga to the world – or at least New Zealand. It’s all Bic, with just her voice, acoustic guitar playing and a stark emotional song.

The video places Bic in a cool old flat – one of the Courtville apartments in Auckland. The apartment has a bit of shabby chic going on, matched by the video alternating between colour and degraded black and white footage.

Bic hangs out in her apartment, evidently waiting for the boy of her dreams to come and take her for a drive. She simultaenously seems like a teenager, impatiently mooching about (and she was only 19 at the time), and a much older, world-weary woman.

We don’t meet the object of Bic’s yearning. She waits outside her building but the driver never shows up. As a result, the combination of the song and the video create a very melancholic tone. Poor Bic. I want to hug her and tell her that everything is going to be ok.

Best bit: the bright red Body Shop soap, a sign of the ’90s.

Director: Justin Pemberton
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… bros with a megaphone.