Maree Sheehan “Strength To Love”

1997-maree-sheehan-strength-to-love“Too many people come and they go”, sings Maree, and the video sets about showing this exact situation. “Strength To Love” is set in a motel, where we meet an variety of diverse guests.

In fact, the motel is doing pretty well, with 16 guests. There’s an attractive but very timid young couple, a very still Asian couple, loved-up newlyweds, a older married couple, a miserable tennis player, a crossdressing codger, a party girl and her friends, a aloha shirt wearing man and his glamorous ladyfriend, a businessman, a naked lady, a bad girl, a shaved/dreadlocked woman with a dog, a trio of leather-clad lesbians, three children, an elegant old lady, a revved-up gay couple, and three cleaning ladies. That’s 4.8 litres of milk – trim or regular.

But despite staying at this bustling motel, no one seems particularly happy. It doesn’t look like a particularly nice motel. It’s just a bit run down and under decorated. And who would spend their honeymoon at such a place? (Answer: a couple who is too busy rooting to notice the decor.)

The Strawpeople’s “Taller Than God” video used a similar concept, but it worked better. I’m guessing the Strawpeople had a bigger budget, and that video had some context for the motel and kept the number of guests much smaller. There was a sense that all the characters had a story.

Whereas with the Strength To Love Motor Inn, it’s just a big collection of people who seem to be deeply troubled by relationship problems. As a result it doesn’t serve the song well, overpowering Maree’s subdued vocals but never quite being interesting enough to work on its own. I’m guessing there’s a low budget here

Best bit: the brisk effeciency of the cleaners.

Director: Peter Bannan
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… going for a drive.

Maree Sheehan “You Can’t Hide Love”

1995-maree-sheehan-you-cant-hide-loveOh, there are some kitschy delights in this video. Maree gets four different looks in this video, not unlike a pop version of Teremoana’s very serious “Four Women” video. There’s a ’60s chick with a heavy fringe and a mini dress, a long-haired hippy chick from the ’70s, a staunch ’90s chick with hair in Bjork minibuns, and a fabulous poolside diva.

The song has echoes of Cheryl Lynn’s disco classic “Got to be Real”, so the video wisely plays to that fun dance side. But I’m not sure if it’s entirely sucessful. Maree has a soft, sultry voice that doesn’t quite work with the bold diva ideals of the song. The video just underscores this, making it seem like a slowed-down version of a disco classic.

The poolside scenes are the best, with Maree lounges fabulously while various young men hang out in speedos. These scenes work well because the lazier pace matches the song better than the faster studio bits, and it looks like a fun place to be.

Best bit: the pool cleaner, wandering back and forth, doing his job.

Director: Mark Tierney
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Missing videos from 1995

February 1995

D’bre “Let Me Know”

The band formerly known as Bush Beat return with a second song, “Let Me Know”. The track featured on Tangata Records’ compilation album Tribal Stomp II.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dead Flowers “Not Ready”

“Not Ready” is the first Dead Flowers video to be missing. The song was a track from their 1994 album Sweetfish.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Greg Johnson Set “You Stay out of Your Life”

From what I can remember of it, the “You Stay out of Your Life” video involved Greg Johnson and Boh Runga zipping around on scooters (probably shot using green screen).

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Pumpkinhead “Third Eye”

More business from Christchurch grunge unit Pumpkinhead. With a song called “Third Eye”, I would be extremely disappointed if the video didn’t include low-tech animated third eyes. Nga Taonga describes the video as “Pumpkinhead perform “Third Eye” in a yellow lunar setting and in a pub.”

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ruia “Ka Tangi te Tītī, Ka Tangi te Kākā”

Ruia Aperahama, the frontman for Southside of Bombay, had the solo track “Ka Tangi te Tītī, Ka Tangi te Kākā”.

Film Archive

Southside of Bombay “Umbadada”

Spurred on by popularity from the “Once Were Warriors” soundtrack, Southside of Bombay make a house record, with the highly danceable “Umbadada”. But Southside haven’t lost track of their reggae roots – the song has a message of unity and living forever.

Director: Regan Jones
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

The Feelers “The Leaving”

In 1995 the Feelers won the prestigious South Island Battle of the Bands competition. Part of the prize included a single and music video released through Wildside. That song in question was “The Leaving”, with the music video directed by James and Matthew of the Feelers and camera by future Feelers music video director David Reid. The song obviously didn’t have the impact of later single “Pressure Man”, but it was included as a track on the band’s debut album.

Directors: James Reid, Matthew Thomas
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

April 1995

The Tufnels “Pettibone”

“Pettibone” is the second single from the Tufnels, the greatest pop band in New Zealand that no one’s ever heard of.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

June 1995

Andrew Fagan “Empty”

Andrew Fagan’s last NZ On Air-funded track was “Empty”, before branching out into the power combo of broadcasting and poetry.

Funhouse “I Don’t Mind”

Curiously enough, there’s an Italian punk band from the ’80s called Funhouse who also have a song called “I Don’t Mind”. It’s far removed the namesake “sweet ballad” of the New Zealand Funhouse.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Jordan Reyne “Pandora’s Box”

“Pandora’s Box” was another song of Jordan Reyne’s 1998 album Birds of Prey. I have a suspicion that a video for this song not might not actually have been made.

Nothing At All! “Super Bullet”

Nothing At All! was the old band of Dion from the D4. “Super Bullet” was a tight 2:14 atomic bomb of a song that would have been a massive hit had it been released seven years later.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Sulata “Motion”

The video for “Motion” isn’t online, but there’s another track from Sulata’s debut EP “Never”. It’s “Always”, and the video seems to largely comprise of extra footage of the rap bit from her earlier “Never” video. Intriguingly, the Deepgrooves YouTube account has a video clip for “Motion” but it’s not playable.

The Tufnels “Beautiful Ride”

The Tufnels’ last stab at pop immortality was “Beautiful Ride”. I think it was an extra track added to a revamped version of their “Lurid” album, once they’d signed to a major label. So long, Tufnels.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Urban Disturbance “Figure This Kids”

More coolness from Urban Disturbance. “Figure This Kids” has echoes of what was to become the more laid-back sound of Zane Lowe’s next music project, Breaks Co-op.

August 1995

3 The Hard Way “B All Right”

For their second album, 3 The Hard Way were going for a more mellow sound. “B All Right” has a bit of the Death Row Sound, and continues the 3 The Hard Way theme of mythologising their childhoods.

Barry Saunders “Little Times”

The Warratahs frontman has a solo song called “Little Times”, a bluesy ode to the opposite of the big time.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ermehn “Nuttin’ Personal”

Another of Ermehn’s early tracks is “Nuttin Personal”, which is strangely ungooglable. It could be a case where the song or song title was changed at some point.

Grace “Heart Of Stone”

“Heart of Stone” is a souly pop track. Instead of the video, here’s the brothers Ioasa talking about the inspiration behind their music from a 1995 episode of Frenzy.

Jacqui Keelan Davey “Nobody”

Hamilton songstress Jacqui Keelan Davey delivers a miserable but bangin’ dance number, “Nobody”.

Jordan Reyne “Millstones”

Jordan Reyne delivers a sweet guitar track with “Millstones”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Sulata “Find Yourself”

“Find Yourself” is a great song that shows off Sulata’s rich voice. I think this might be a video that wasn’t actually made, with the funding possibly transferred to another song.

Upper Hutt Posse “Can’t Get Away”

Upper Hutt Posse have “Can’t Get Away”. Here’s the group performing the song live on What Now.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Wonderkind “Destiny Change”

Wonderkind have “Destiny Change”, an upbeat dance song about a teen prostitute. There was a lot of that in the ’90s – upbeat dance music about really depressing social issues.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

October 1995

Bailter Space “Retro”

The “Retro” video was briefly available to purchase on the iTunes store, but it’s since been removed. Like a lot of Bailter Space videos, I suspect this video is being kept offline by an overprotective algorithm. Nga Taonga describes the video as “Bailterspace perform “Retro” in arid rural location. They are observed from an alien spaceship – which lands and an astronaut emerges. (The animated astronaut is as pictured on records covers of their earlier incarnation, The Gordons.)”

In 2002 I wrote this about the “Retro” video:

It’s Bailterspace in space! Well, they’re doing the Star Trek trick of picking a desert location, banging a coloured filter on the camera and entrusting the rest to the audience’s imaginations. Meanwhile, some old-school computer animated aliens are flying their old-school computer animated spacecraft around and spying on Bailterspace. It’s has great potential to be cheesy, but somehow Bailterspace’s seriousness manage to overcome that. It works, but only just.

Directors: Rongotai Lomas, Tracey Tawhaio
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dead Flowers “So Low”

“So Low” was a track off Dead Flowers’ third album. By this stage they were ruling the school, even opening on Pearl Jam’s NZ tour.

Jacqui Keelan Davey “Too Late”

Hamilton songstress Jacqui Keelan Davey has another single, “Too Late”. “Jacqui Keelan Davey has a voice that gabs you by the scruff of the neck and won’t let go,” enthused the Waikato Times.

Mara “Message At The Bottom”

Mara Finau – best known as co-lead singer of The Holidaymakers – went solo with a cover of Chaka Khan’s “Message At The Bottom”.

Ngaire “The Way I Feel About You”

Ngaire returned to the pop charts with “The Way I Feel About You”, which spent one ever-so-brief week at number 42.

Director: Tim Mauger
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Sulata “Back To Hong Kong”

“Back To Hong Kong” was another track from Sulata’s “Kia Koe” album. And this is another case where the video may not have been made or the funding given to another track.

Ted Brown and the Italians “Battle Inside”

“Battle Inside” was a track from Ted Brown’s album Shaky’s Blessing.

December 1995

CMB Swing “Your Love Is All I Need”

CMB Swing were a five-piece group (four vocalists and one percussionist). And were they named after the Cash Money Brothers from 1991 film “New Jack City”?

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Jacqui Keelan Davey “Watching Me Drown”

Another track from Hamilton songstress Jacqui Keelan Davey, this time with “Watching Me Drown”.

Maree Sheehan “Might As Well Shout”

The Kiwi Hit Disc described “Might As Well Shout” as a “fast-paced, catchy dancefloor number”. It features backing vocals from expats Mark Williams and Australian Idol vocal coach Erana Clark.

Papa “For What It’s Worth”

This is pretty much impossible to Google (it’s not a unique song title). I don’t know who Papa was, but it might be related to the record label, Papa Pacific.

Instead…

Meanwhile in the world of non-NZOA-funded videos we find “Manic (Is a State of Mind)”, the first music single from Jan Hellriegel’s second album. Filmed in Sydney, it takes place in a gloriously garishly painted art deco house (not a visual effect, the YouTube description notes!), and features a very sinister looking cafe fridge.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Maree Sheehan “What Have You Done To Me”

1995-maree-sheehan-what-have-you-done-to-meMaree is seated at a round booth at a nightclub. A man and woman sit down at the table across from her. Maree looks uncomfortable. She knows the woman. A waiter delivers a delicious fruit platter. And so the evening begins.

Other guests arrive. A woman who looks like a shave-headed Justin Bieber gives the camera a good stare, as if to preserve her Bieberesque likeness for future generations. Is Biebette there for the fruit platter? Maree simmers with the tension this situation is causing her.

A blonde-haired women appears at the table. Biebette gives Maree a goofy grin and lets Maree fondle her cigarette lighter. Suddenly a sleazy bro turns up, also smoking a cigarette. Another woman joins the table, bringing more seductive glances to drive Maree wild.

So many seductive glances! Such a tempting fruit platter!

Then finally it happens, following the rule of Chekhov’s Gun, the couple from the beginning feed each other delicious fresh fruit from the platter. For a video so packed full of bisexual desire, maybe Maree just wanted a good fresh melon.

Best bit: the highly symbolic fruit platter of desire.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Jon and the boys have a big day out.

Maree Sheehan “Past To The Present”

1994-maree-sheehan-past-to-the-presentMaree gathers her friends and family to an inner city park (Emily Place, I think) to have a singalong (over and over to the same song, with the requirement to look lively and happy all the time).

I really like the video’s setting. They haven’t taken the easy route and gone for a beachside park. They’ve plonked the action right in the middle of Auckland, surrounded on all sides by tall buildings. And it’s not out of the question that a group of family and friends would actually have a picnic here. Though Albert Park would perhaps be a more logical choice.

Everyone looks like they’re actually having a good time, and it suggests that even after the music video taping had concluded, they probably would have kept on dancing. I wish I’d been invited.

Best bit: the little girls who turn the “under the bramble bushes” claping game into “under the Bambi bushes”.

Director: Jonathan Brough
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… an exotic holiday.

Maree Sheehan “Kia Tu Mahea (To Be Free)”

“Kia Tu Mahea” is positive, bilingual HI-NRG dance track, though it’s just hitting the end of this particular musical style’s life in the pop charts.

The video is great – bold, colourful and sometimes split into Mondrianesque segments. Maree is joined by kapa haka performers, children, an African man, dudes in fresh urban threads, and fly girls.

Maree Sheehan always comes across with great confidence in her videos. She’s never taken the traditional video babe route (no rolling around with/in silver spandex for her), but the early ’90s feels like a kinder, gentler time when no one with NZ On Air funding was doing the hard-sell sexy video. At least not yet.

Best bit: Maree and pals in casual shorts, doing casual dancing.



Director: Matt Palmer
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the bleak, urban wasteland that represents the soul.

Maree Sheehan “Fatally Cool”

Maree Sheehan crouches in the grass in One Tree Hill and, in a low, quiet voice, she raps like Prince Be of PM Dawn in “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss”.

It’s an unusual mix. The video is full of kapahaka performers, and yet the songs is a slow jam that sounds more like a female Aotearoan LL Cool J. Later in the video, we see Maree standing outside an office building and driving across the harbour bridge, both times wearing the same clothes she’s wearing in the One Tree Hill scenes.

So here’s my theory – when we see her in the city and alone on the hill that’s real life. When we see the kapahaka dancers, that’s her fantasy; being in love is so awesome, it feels like being surrounded by a whole troupe of kapahaka performers doing their thing.

Best bit: the finest poi work in a NZ music video since the “Poi E” video.



Director: Josh Frizzell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Don pre-empts William’s wedding suit.

Maree Sheehan “Dare to be Different”

The second time around, Maree Sheehan’s video is to be found online. “Dare to be Different”, a sultry dance track on the theme of acceptance, seems to take more than a few cues from Madonna.

There’s Maree in a mansuit, but because it’s the early ’90s she’s wearing it with a peasant blouse (ok, that’s a drink). This is also the first video to bust out some serious dance moves. Sure, Moana had a few in “A E I O U”, but in “Dare to be Different”, Maree is getting down too.

Also in a Madonna style, Maree is seated with two gal pals in a convertible, a la “True Blue”. This is cut with posh ladies at a dinner party and some bros huddled and/or dancing around a fire in a barrel. Homelessness: just because it’s different don’t mean it’s wrong (?)

While the video has a lot of big ideas behind it, there’s one that feels the most dated – the fly girls. As soon as the MC Hammer-style dancers start doing their thing, it feels like the video ought to be given to a ’90s culture exhibition at Te Papa. That is, until this stuff becomes fashionable again, which won’t be long.

Best bit: a woman with a towering beehive chowing down on a banana.

Director: Josh Frizzell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Greg is stuck on an island.