Lost in space, in the studio, good hair in the city, youthful exuberance, and a virtual workout.
The proto-twerk, six shirts and one pair of trousers, a dystopian stilt hut, hanging out in the Coromandel, epic proggy drag race, down at the Mount, the ol’ band is back for one last gig.
In the pages of a gossip magazine, a club full of makeup, small town New Zealand, little girls, and big fat tropical rain.
Car park smooth moves, sleep’s restless revenge, the island life, letter and numbers, Fountain by the fountain, and gotta get down on Friday.
A gloomy dell, Savage finds his groove, Seth vs the kid, robo-dragon terrorises Auckland, your auntie’s Keep Calm poster, love on skates.
A home invasion, the housing bubble, ECT on GI Joes, video games, a wander along K Road, and some South Auckland.
Continue reading August 2006: Cassette, Che Fu, City Newton Bombers, dDub, Deceptikonz, Don McGlashan
Communist propaganda, suburban escapism, tropical home movies, Auckland cool, lamps and a jazz legend.
Continue reading June 2005: Rhombus, Rock ‘n’ Roll Machine, Rubicon, Savage, The Boxcar Guitars, The Fat Monks, The Pits, Vickie Evans
It’s very easy to compare “If You Love Savage” with “Mareko (Here to Stay)”. Both are solo singles by members of the Deceptikonz, and both are about reinforcing the personal brand of the singer. “Here to Stay” was a weak song and its video was so determined to push Mareko’s name that it ended up not being much fun at all.
Two years later, “If You Love Savage” seems to have learned a lesson or two from “Here To Stay”. The song is an upbeat, super catchy, highly danceable number. Even though it’s all about Savage (and being a fan of him), the song is so good that it makes perfect sense. And Savage has earned it, with the number one hits “Swing” and the non-funded “Moonshine”. At this stage, yeah, Savage is allowed to celebrate his successes.
The video is shot in South Auckland, filmed in high-contrast black and white so everything looks cool and cinematic. Savage wanders around the Otara markets with a posse of boys and/or the Deceptikonz. This boys’ zone is far removed from the girly world of “Swing”.
The South Auckland locations visited in “If You Love Savage” are very popular ones for music videos (I’ve counted eight videos so far that feature the Otara markets), but the bold black and white footage gives it a different tone. Other bands manage to slip around the markets unnoticed, but Savage is a force of nature who draws the attention of the shoppers.
There’s no sense that this has all been faked for a music video. The crowd of kids surrounding Savage don’t need to be prompted to get them to adore their idol. And when Savage signs an autograph outside the local Pizza Hut, that’s just how big he is.
Director: Sophie Findlay
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… the multipurpose garden shed.
“Swing” is the dancefloor gift that just keeps on giving. Savage’s first solo single was released in 2005, but he enjoyed American success in 2008 thanks to a remixed version of “Swing” featuring Soulja Boy. Then in 2013 “Swing” topped the Australian charts via an EDM remix by producer Joel Fletcher.
But back in 2005 it was a mini Savage in a laundrette surrounded by a bunch of ladies in hot pants putting a lot of effort into their weekly washing. This video surely took some inspiration from the iconic 1985 Levi’s commercial, featuring some very DIY stonewash jeans.
At the time this video came out, I wrote a review of it for NZmusic.com declaring it was terribly terribly sexist because of all the girls in hot pants and excessive booty shaking. The director, Sophie Findlay, wrote me a really nice email saying she was “definitely going more for sexy”, and that because it was a booty song “the record company are going to insist on girls, but I did my best to create a situation in the video where they were being revered by Savage, and in control.”
And now I pretty much agree with her. As part of the 5000 Ways experience, I have seen far worse. “Swing” lets the laundry girls be characters, not just anonymous dancers or body parts. And when you compare it to the video of a contemporary booty song like “Wiggle” by Mr Derulo, “Swing” seems a lot more innocent and female focused.
The laundry setting takes two forms. There’s the bright pastel world of honey-I-shrunk-the-Savage and the laundry ladies. Then there’s a darker version with full-size Savage, his Deceptikonz pals and the washer women, all grinding on it like it’s a night club. This sort of stuff never happened at the Wash Inn in Mt Eden.
A twist of sorts comes at the end of the video when it’s revealed that it was all a dream – Savage had fallen asleep while waiting for his laundry. And he’d been cuddling a flagon of moonshine as he slept – an uncomfortable way of promoting his next single and/or debut album.
The curious thing is, the song didn’t rely on this video for its 2008 or 2013 revivals. In 2008 it was part of the Knocked Up soundtrack, and in 2013 a new video was used featuring some people having a house party. But you know what? Seth Rogen doing daggy dancing or some Australians partying in an abandoned house just aren’t having as much fun as Savage was down at his local laundry.
Best bit: Mareko’s perfect 1960s flip hairdo.
Director: Sophie Findlay
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… lack of words.