Straitjacket Fits “If I Were You”

After years of this video only being available on weird European websites, finally NZ On Screen have stepped up and are hosting it. Hooray!

It helps that the “If I Were You” video looks a bit like the opening titles of a Bond film, but instead of naked ladies, it’s the Straitjacket Fits that are presented in overlapping colourful images, complete with water shimmers and fireworks.

“If I Were You” was the Straitjacket Fits final NZ On Air-funded video, and indeed their final single. It’s not such a great swansong – all angry and paranoid (though with some lovely guitar), but the video manages to take the edge of the anger.

Best bit: Fireworks!

Director: Andrew Dominik
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… bad bitchin’ babes.

Straitjacket Fits “Cat Inna Can”

This time Shayne Carter keeps his shirt on. “Cat Inna Can” is filmed in a warehouse, and there’s something funny going on with the colours. The warehouse is blue and the band’s skintone is a golden colour. It’s easy to do stuff like that with modern colour grading software, but how did that happen in the early ’90s? Witchcraft?

About halfway through there’s a thrilling dolly zoom – that’s when the camera physically moves in while at the same time the lens zooms out. So the band largely stays the same size in the picture, but the background warps and looks vertiginous.

The video is a bit of a grab bag of fun film tricks, with its central effect being the camera swirling around the band members. It feels almost out of control, as if Shayne Carter’s animal magnetism is having an effect on the cameras too.


Best bit: the really strict cutting to the beat on the verses.

Director: Andrew Dominik
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the New Zealand national genre.

Straitjacket Fits “Done”

The first song off the Fits’ final studio album, the “Done” video mainly takes place in a recording studio, shot in high-contrast black and white, like a goth’s seventh form photography portfolio.

This concept could potentially we quite dull – I mean, “We Are the World” is people performing the song in a recording studio – but then something happens. Shayne’s t-shirt suddenly disappears and the stakes have been raised.

The early ’90s saw a lot of male shirtlessness in music videos, but that was generally the domain of young funk-rock groups who were inspired by the non-musical bits of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. So it’s a bit of a surprise to suddenly see the Straitjacket Fits becoming citizens of man-chest-er.

So far in the list I haven’t come across any music videos with dudes being overtly sexy, but here we go. The thing is, Mr Carter’s songwriting and the Fits’ performance is usually so sexy on its own that shirtless antics aren’t necessary. But when you combine the shirtlessless with the guitar playing… Oh, if you’re young and beautiful you might as well.

Best bit: David Wood has a smoke.

Director: Andrew Dominik
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Dave’s 10 inch