This is a rather unusual video. We last saw She’s Insane in 1999. They have a late ’90s alterno pop sound, like a local Veruca Salt. Somehow by 2000 it’s all starting to sound a bit dated, a bit too thin and tweet compared to the fleshier rock sound that was making itself known.
The band’s previous videos focused on the band itself, but this one is an animated job. And it’s a good example of why it’s hard to make a good animated music video.
The main problem is the animation is extremely repetitive. The video is based on a group of four skeletons that represent the band. At the beginning of the video there’s an attempt to have one skeleton singing the song, but that soon falls away. After about the first 30 seconds, we start to see repeated bits of animation, and it feels like those scenes from the Flintstones where Dino runs past the same pot plant 20 times.
The background of the video is usually plain black, though one time a random brick warehouse is thrown in, just to make everything else look even more boring in comparison.
It ends up feeling not so much like a video but more like someone mucking around with some 3D animation software, using skeletons because they’re easier to animate than whole humans and they look cool. And it’s weird, but compared to this, the awful dancing baby animation of the ’90s has character.
This was the last She’s Insane video to have NZ On Air funding and it doesn’t feel like they were a band who grew from their experience. There was potential in there, but I feel like they should have been out gigging more and writing more songs before they were unleashed on the world at large.
Best bit: the doll, showing that weird music video skeletons have a heart.
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… a probing date.
I’m vexed. She’s Insane seem like the kind of band I would have actually seen live in the ’90s and I probably would have enjoyed them and thought they were cool. But without having had them imprinted on me in the ’90s, they just seem a bit flat.
Again the lyrics sound like dummy lyrics that don’t actually say much. (It might be about cocaine. I’m not sure. This is New Zealand. Cocaine is for property developers.) This song sounds a lot like the Pixies, particularly “Where Is My Mind” with some sub-Santiago guitar. And this time the vocals sound more like Tanya Donnelly of Belly. It’s just a big 4AD homage. It also reminds me a bit of Bush. What a confused family tree.
The video is based around a performance filmed in a gloomily lit space, all black and green. Sometimes we see band members behind water-splattered glass. This does not appear to be an actual window getting rained on. Rather it’s a sheet of glass that is wet because it is in a music video.
The visuals are more successful when the focus is just on the band doing their thing. But there’s not a lot of that. The darkness of the video and tight camera shots mean the band is more suggested than shown.
The thing is, it’s not a bad song and the video does look pretty sophisticated at times. If things had just been tightened up all over, it would actually be really good. I guess this is what frustrates me – She’s Insane just never seem to quite get everything working.
Best bit: the wet glass, in need of a good squeegee.
Next… nothing like a bit of the old ultra-violence.
Like “Daisy Mad Cow”, the previous song from She’s Insane, “Baby One” doesn’t quite feel like a fully formed song. The lyrics are simple and repetitive, like dummy lyrics made up in a jam sessions that were never quite fleshed out into a substantial song.
But the song is kind of a lullaby, so in that sense She’s Insane can get away with some simple repetitive lyrics. Though it doesn’t quite work when the repeated phrase is “Little baby, I’ll; little baby, I’ll; little baby, I’ll.” And it’s even more iffy when the line sounds like “little baby eye” and is accompanied by a giant baby eye.
The video uses lots of silhouettes, sometimes shot against a flapping sheet with a visible seam. The aforementioned giant baby fades in and out with green screen technology. (I think the last baby in a NZOA music video was the pyromaniac infant in Push Push’s “What My Baby Likes”.)
It’s a sweet, very girly song with an adequate low-budget video, but it just feels a bit dull. I wish She’s Insane would live up to their name and make a music video with some crazy in it.
Best bit: giant baby eye, giant baby eye.
Next… Thomas Edison’s legacy.
Why was I not previously aware of She’s Insane? If Stellar were a New Zealand version of Garbage, then She’s Insane are Aotearoa’s answer to Veruca Salt. Two girls with tight vocal harmonies, two random guys bulking out the band and a grunge-pop sound – that’s so Veruca!
The lyrics are repetitive and sound like they’d been knocked up minutes before the song was due to be recorded. Example: “Come along, sing a song, you’re a mad cow.” But lead singer Maria knows how to do a good “yeaaah”.
The video even feels like Veruca Salt. Everyone’s wearing white (sometimes straitjackets, other times just white clothing) and they’re looking slightly gothic. There are attempts to give the other two band members some screen time, but they’re pretty unremarkable. What’s better is the double power of Maria and drummer Tasha. Lying down and looking up, like a hairy yin-yang symbol, they look very cool.
But the video seems to dwell to much on less successful shots. Like, someone has gone to the effort of shooting the ginger bassist, so they’re going to put it in the video, dammit.
I like She’s Insane – they seem nice – but in the end the video starts to feel like those really dead-on music video parodies that French and Saunders do. This feels like a parody of Veruca Salt rather than a band confidently doing their own thing.
Best bit: the random shot of one of the guitarists bouncing.
Next… worst birthday ever.