“Freewheeling” is a pleasant piece of psychedelic pop, so the video takes that and goes with it. It’s rool trippy as, bro.
Our journey starts with an ice cream van manned by Chris Anderton (who looks very much like his dad). A kid buys an ice cream and returns to his slobby dad and nice mum, which sounds not unlike a sitcom premise. Asleep in bed the kid, er, goes down a psychedelic wormhole of dreamland.
We meet fez-wearing fellow riding on a magic carpet, another guy trapped in some dense bush, more desert, a beguiling belly dancer and a confused fellow who stumbles after the dancer.
We’re then treated to a ’90s computer-generated desert fortress, complete with totally smooth walls (as adding texture would probably have taken seven years to render). Inside the fortress is an important man being laughed at for eating peas instead of grapes. The wormhole arrived and, hey, everyone’s happy. Enjoy your peas, sir!
It erupts into a groovy harem freak-out, including a genie. Just when things threaten to get carried away, we’re back to reality and the kid is down at his local shops. Yeah, his life is a little troubled, but it seems his crazy dram friends are always at hand to take him away.
The Hitlist always seemed torn between being hilarious and being serious. This video has a lot of that. The bookend plot – that it’s all an escapist world for a troubled boy – takes a bit of the weird fun away from the experience.
Best bit: The rickety NZ On Air animation. Wot, did the official one fall off?
The Peter Stuyvesant Hitlist were known for their comedy loungey live styles, but they tone it right down for their second single, “Ode To K Road”. The video, made by Andrew Moore, Steve Sinkovich and Stuart Page, consists of sped-up footage of K Road, mostly with members of the band just standing around.
I lived on K Road around this time, so the video is a nice bit of nostalgia. When Karangahape Road appears in music videos, it’s normally at night, but “Ode to K Road” also happens at day time, with the very ordinary sunlit goings-on of the street.
It’s a reminder of K Road of the late ’90s, before Starbucks came, Rendalls closed and the adult shops disappeared. Back when it was all a bit shabby and the street was full of more weird shops than cool shops. (My favourite weird shop was the plastics shop that never every depreciated their prices, so there was a crappy old spice rack full of a long discontinued spice brand still selling for $39.95. As if.) Back when K Road has multiple second-hand record shops that wanted to eat all my money.
The song has a bittersweet tone and that feeling seeps through to the footage. It’s a reminder that K Road never really feels like it’s radically changed until the past is compared with the present. While there are plenty of familiar businesses (Rasoi, Leo O’Malley and, er, Dick Smith), the video is packed full of the ghosts of K Road past.
Best bit: the glistening metal facade of Al’s Diner.
Coelacanth return with “Never”. The Kiwi Hit Disc likened this song to Bailter Space and quoted Tearaway magazine enthusing, “Their music is to die for. We like them very much.”
Lole “Take You Higher”
Another track from Lole. This time she has “Take You Higher”.
Salmonella Dub “Loletta”
Back before Salmonella Dub were the kings of barbecue reggae, they had “Loletta”, an askew jazzy number. From memory, the video was a studio-based black and white job. Nga Taonga describe the video as, “The band perform in monochrome while the subject of song is in colour in backstreets”.
The Kiwi Hit Disc noted that “Colour Me Blue” was a “heartfelt ode” to Barry’s “globetrotting son”. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Barry walking on rural road as cyclist passes. Cyclist seen in various rural locations interspersed with Barry singing in one room then another.”
“Started Something” is another video from the early days of Breathe. The track has an epic film montage sound to it. The Film Archive describes the video as, “Band perform in leaking warehouse/ garage.”
“Outer Space” is an upbeat pop-track, produced by Eddie Rayner. The Split Enz connection continues, with Bryan Bell saying that the song was “‘Loving The Alien‘ meets ‘Poor Boy‘”.
Michelle Rounds “Culture Cross”
Singer Michelle Rounds had the song “Culture Cross”.
Southside of Bombay “Say”
“Say” was produced by Ian Morris (who had previously produced “What the Time Mr Wolf”). The Kiwi Hit Disc quoted band member Kevin Hodges saying that the love song, “just felt like a good summer single”.
“All Alone” was the second of Freaker’s two funded videos. An album was planned but it didn’t get released due to the closure of record label Deepgrooves, so it’s likely this meant the “All Alone” video wasn’t made either.
New Loungehead “Ike Just Do It”
New Loungehead subvert a corporate slogan with “Ike Just Do It”, from their album Came a Weird Way. New Loungehead were another act signed to Deepgrooves.
Vocal trio Ma-V-Elle were back with “Love Is”, the soulful closing track from their debut album.
Girl band Mary have the track “Bigger”. Nga Taonga offers this rather comprehensive description of the video: “A woman sits at night in a green corner diner/coffee bar with large windows (which recalls the Edward Hopper painting “Nighthawks at the Diner”). A car approaches with the guitarist in the back seat. Mary perform “Bigger” on a TV screen in the diner. The car stops for the singer/ guitarist.”
Wellington trio NV have “Don’t Make Me Wait”, described by the Herald as having a “bitter brand of bubblegum”. Nga Taonga describes the video as “Woman sings on roadside with warehouse, pedestrians and traffic – and later rioters – behind her.”
Named after the last Dutch governor of New York and/or an international cigarette brand, the Peter Stuyvesant Hitlist were known for their entertaining loungey grooves. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Four office workers in a pub sing karaoke to the Peter Stuyvesant Hit List’s “Superkool”. The Peter Stuyvesant Hit List are seen performing on the karaoke screen.” Ah, the old “music video as karaoke track” treatment.
“Big Cat” was the penultimate video that Bailter Space had funded in the ’90s, before returning with “World We Share” in 2012.
Leza Corban “Comfort & Joy”
Debbie Harwood put her coordination skills to good use with the album “Angels”, featuring New Zealand singers (Hammond Gamble, Rikki Morris, Mika) and TV personalities (Willy de Witt, Leanne Malcolm and Nick-bloody-Eynon) covering classic Christmas songs. Leza Corban, who had previously sung with Strawpeople, had the first single “Comfort & Joy”.
Brett Sawyer “She Came Along”
The video for Brett Sawyer’s song “She Came Along” was filmed at St Leo’s school hall in Devonport.
Eye TV have the comedically named “The Doo Song”. The Kiwihits entry notes it was rerecorded and released in 2000, and the database note that the funding was changed to the “Doo Song” from their song “Ditch Witch”.
“Classy come-down band” NV have the single “Unlikely”, which was a nominee for Best Video in the 1999 New Zealand Music Awards. Nga Taonga describes the videos as, “Singer in Queensland lakes setting and on jetty”, by which I think they mean Queenstown.
Paua Fritters are (were? I think they’re still together) an acoustic folk-pop group with busking roots. “Her Story” was a finalist in the 1998 APRA Silver Scroll awards.
“Kronos” is another track from Deepgrooves artist Pause.
In the world of non-NZOA-funded videos, 1998 saw Neil Finn contending with a 50-foot woman in the video for “She Will Have Her Way”. Neil is expertly integrated with footage from films “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman” and “The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock”, making him the beau of the towering heroine, a height pairing reminiscent of the golden days of Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter.