Ngaire “Can You Be Strong For Me”

1995-ngaire-can-you-be-strong-for-meNgaire’s fourth (and possibly last NZ On Air-funded single) is a duet. She teams up with D, aka Dave Letoa, a member of her live band. It’s an unusual pairing. Ngaire is very glamorous in the video, but we don’t see her until 30 seconds into the song. Instead it kicks off with D, who isn’t much of a pop star.

For a start, he wears sunglasses throughout the entire music video. It has a weird effect, especially when Ngaire joins him and they look into each other’s eyes. Except she’s actually looking at herself reflected in his mirrored specs.

His voice isn’t anywhere near as expressive as Ngaire’s so it all comes across as a really odd pairing. How did this asymmetrical duet come about? Why does D seem to reluctant to be part of the video?

But the video itself is generally a very stylish number. It’s shot in black and white with a slight sepiatone tint. Ngaire and D are shot in close up with bright lighting, emphasising her glamour.

Also appearing in the video are a selection music video staples, including a male dancer doing the open shit/wind machine thing, a couple dancing in silhouette and fencer. But my favourite is the line-up of models, which seems to have been inspired by the Calvin Klein CK One ads.

It feels like the video wants to be really sexy and glam but D just can’t do it. It’s just not where he’s at. And that ends up being an anchor to reality. This is not New York. This is New Zealand.

Next… the great Persevero.

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 te reo yacht rock with 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 Funhouse from Dunedin.

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 hit had it been released seven years later.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

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. Here’s a very 1997 remix of the song.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

October 1995

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

Ngaire “So Divine”

What the hell is this? “So Divine” is a great dance track, an ode to the feeling of love. It demands a video with colour and spark and movement. Instead it gets this weird 1960s Barbarella thing. Actually, it’s more like someone throwing a Barbarella-themed fancy-dress party on an extreme budget, and buying up all the silver metallic fabrics at Spotlight.

So there’s Ngaire in a decently shaped but cheap looking silver dress made from that faux sequin fabric, and she’s rolling around on some silver metallic fabric, at one point cuddling up to a cushion that looks like a bladder from cask wine (and perhaps it is, because that would actually explain a few things).

But the best bit is the others in the video. Ngaire is joined by two men who appear to be eating her ears. Perhaps they are a two-headed alien and that is how they greet friends on their planet.

Ngaire also has three gal pals who have also been shopping at Spotlight. They’re decked out from head to toe in metallic silver. At one point Ngaire hangs from a swing and her spacettes huddle around her. Again, I think this is an alien custom.

It’s the fruitiest video, but you know what? Ngaire is a trouper. Despite the ridiculous set-up, she sings the song with the joy it requires and looks like she knows she’s wearing a sticky plastic dress but she’s still having a good time. Also, after a while “so divine” starts to sounds like “soda vine”.

Best bit: Ngaire’s female posse flicking up their glitter-laiden hair, causing a glam glitter shower.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Jan goes for a drive.

Ngaire “Attitude”

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 – only 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 reply”. 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, or indeed the power suits that Christina Rankin would later be mocked for wearing. It’s an odd choice for the song. If Ngaire is playing a confident businesswoman, what was she doing with the lyrical deadbeat in the first place?

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.