TrueBliss “Number One”

1999-truebliss-number-oneIt’s clear that the video for TrueBliss’s second single takes a lot of its inspiration from French film director Luc Besson’s stylish sci-fi film “Fifth Element”. For “Number One”, the mana of Milla Jovovich is diluted between the five members of TrueBliss, making it fall short of Besson’s futuristic vision. Instead it’s Carly, Keri, Erika and Megan in orange lycra scraps, with Joe in orange lycra clothes.

Their futuristic costumes are also accompanied by futuristic makeup, with Carly wearing what looks like a futuristic monobrow, as well as a futuristic pointy fringe. There are also attempts at formation dancing, and some of the ‘Bliss are better at it than others. So sometimes it looks slick and smooth, other times it looks like a regrettable beginners Zumba class. There’s also one scene where they appear to be worshipping a giant orange apple because… just because.

Then things get weird. The girls run into a chamber and lean over five tanks filled with blue goo. What’s inside the tanks? Why, hot boys, of course. The ‘Bliss bring the goo boys to life with a highly symbolic explosion of goo. TrueBliss welcome the lads onto their scifi Marae with some more not-quite-right dancing. The adventure ends with the ladies walking off with their new blue dudes, whose orange-thong-framed blue buttocks glisten in the sci-fi light.

The old glitchy VHS copy of the video adds to its charms. In fact, it all feels like what the year 1999 was supposed to be like back in the 1960s, complete with elaborate hair, make-up and redefined gender roles.

It all sounds pretty ridiculous, but it’s hard to not be charmed by this crazy world. The Anthony Ioasa-written track made it to number 12 in the charts and the video seems like a bold attempt at promoting a group who were enjoying a short but significant burst of fame and success. This isn’t just an attempt to make a music video; it’s an attempt to make popstars.

Best bit: the lone shot of the group all dancing in unison – you can do it, guys!

And this video seemed like a good one to end the year on. 5000 Ways will now be taking its annual break, back on Monday January 14 with the new millennium. Thanks to you, dear reader, and to everyone who’s commented and shared stories, and to all the people who’ve got around to uploading videos. Merry Christmas, happy New Year and see yiz in 2000!

True Bliss “Tonight”

1999-truebliss-tonightTrueBliss is like patient zero of the modern phenomena of reality TV music stars. TrueBliss came from Popstars which begat Australian Popstars, which begat UK Popstars, which begat Popstars: The Rivals (which begat Girls Aloud and it was good), which begat Pop Idol, which begat American Idol, which begat X Factor… and it’s just been announced that New Zealand is getting its own X Factor series in 2013.

The original Popstars was nothing like the slick talent quests we know today. It had a much lower budget, for starters – a church hall instead of the O2 Arena. Popstars was more a fly-on-the-wall doco that didn’t have two of the most vital elements of shows today – no phone vote and no Mr Nasty judge. But it was crazy fun and managed to piss people off, which is always good.

Anyway, the newly formed quintet had to release their first single. “Tonight” was penned by Anthony Ioasa of Grace but it sounds like something taken from the filing cabinet of a middle-aged man: “Tonight’s the night we made love till the eeeeend”. It’s like an older man’s idea of what a young woman should be like. This is New Zealand. We do not “make love”; we root.

The video is better than the song. It sees le Bliss hanging out together in various locations. They’re at a slumber party watching home movies of themselves, hanging out in an edgy urban alleyway, relaxing at the beach, spilling things at a cafe, running around in elegant gowns, and grappling with all sorts of hairdos and make-up, some of which were even in fashion at the time.

But in a way, it doesn’t even matter what goes on in the video. “Tonight” exists as a kitschy document of pre-millennium New Zealand. The possibilities of digital video technology were crossed with the fun yet cynical world of pop and TrueBliss were what happened. They didn’t last long, with Carly leaving in 2000 and the band dissolving soon after. In a way they were a perfect pop group, a great formation story, a couple of hit singles, a tour, and then it’s all over.

Best Worst bit: the awfulness of Joe being excluded from the sexy hula dance.

Director: Matt Palmer
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Watch old episodes of “Popstars”, including an excerpt showing the making of the “Tonight” music video, thanks to NZ On Screen.
And enjoy this vintage 1999 TrueBliss fansite.

Next… just a little reminder.

Missing videos from 1999

February 1999

Bailter Space “So Am I”

“So Am I” was Bailter Space’s final NZOA-funded video from the ’90s. They took a break and showed up again in 2012.

D-Faction “Take a Little Piece”

After having all their videos online, it’s sad that D-Faction’s final video, “Take a Little Piece” isn’t around. YouTube uploader slydogmania notes the group “disbanded in late 1997 before this final single was ever released”

Head Like a Hole “Hot Sexy Lusty”

Head Like A Hole have “Hot Sexy Lusty”, another single from their sex album, Are You Gonna Kiss It Or Shoot It? Guys, in googling for this video, I saw things I wish I hadn’t seen.

Mika “Angel”

Mika, last seen in Jan Hellriegel’s “Geraldine” video, has his own single “Taniwha Angel”. Here’s a live performance.

Director: Kerry Brown
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

April 1999

Brett Sawyer “When It Happens”

Brett Sawyer has the song “When It Happens”. I’m most interested to discover that he and Pearl Runga sang New Zealand’s official millennium anthem, “I’ll Meet You There”, written by sister Bic and James Hall.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Delta “Slather”

Delta! “Slather”! I saw them play a few times and I happily bought the “Slather” single. It was a fun burst of pop that should at least have enjoyed one-hit wonder success. But anyway, here’s Delta performing the song at a 2010 reunion show. Nice one.

Director: Garth Maxwell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ma-V-Elle “Angel”

Girl group Ma-V-Elle had lost a member (but weren’t renamed V-Elle). “Angel” was the first single from their new album as a duo. Here’s a Tangata Pasifika profile of the group enjoying their early days of success.

Strong Islanders “Shining On”

Kiwihits notes that Jonah Lomu’s cousin is in “Strong Islanders”. Their song “Shining On” is ok, but their main MC has a somewhat lacklustre delivery.

Director: Joe Lonie
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

June 1999

Ardijah “Do To You”

There’s no shortage of Ardijah videos from the ’80s, but the ’90s are AWOL, including “Do To You”.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Ma-V-Elle “Never Say Goodbye”

Ominous foreshadowing! “Never Say Goodbye” was Ma-V-Elle’s penultimate funded video.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Trip To The Moon “Sexual Healing”

The final NZOA-funded video for Trip to the Moon is their cover of “Sexual Healing”, a duet by Bobbylon and the ethereally voiced Rachel Weatherly. NZ Herald reviewer Russell Baillie dramatically described it as having “all the charm of a lavish STD-treatment jingle”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

August 1999

3 The Hard Way “Front Back Side”

Well, I dunno. This song is on the list of videos that were completed, but I can’t find any sign of a 3 The Hard Way single called “Front Back Side”, or indeed any releases from this time. But there might have been some shuffling – there’s a 3 The Hard Way video for their 2004 single “Girls”. It’s set in the same sexy club world as “It’s On (Move to This”), only it’s so much cheesier.

Bike “Gaze”

Bike’s final NZOA-funded single is “Gaze”, which also appeared on the “Scarfies” soundtrack.

Brett Sawyer “Where We Wanna Be”

“Where We Wanna Be” is Brett Sawyer’s ode to his partner for sticking out a decade in Britain with him.

Fiona McDonald “Wish I Was a Man”

Fiona McDonald gets dirty and grungy with “Wish I Was A Man”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Moizna “Summer Goodbye”

Moizna’s final NZ On Air-funded video is aptly titled “Summer Goodbye”, a sweet tale of a break-up.

Satellite Spies “Please Never Leave”

Satellite Spies apparently had a song called “Please Never Leave”, but it’s ungooglable.

TrueBliss “Freedom”

TrueBliss’s third single was a cover of the Wham song “Freedom”. I’ve found an 2001 Australian documentary about the “Popstars” phenomena that shows a short clip from “Freedom” at 8:01. It features the group dressed in red, white and blue costumes, performing on stage in front of thousands of screaming fans.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

October 1999

DNE “Be There”

DNE was a “cyber collaboration” between Aly Cook and David Horizon – their name for the now commonplace practice of online collaboration. Their old bio at Amplifier promised a fabulous web experience with “CLUBDNE interactive”, and directed viewers to to watch their video for “Be There”. Sadly all is but a cyber memory now.

Greg Johnson “Beautiful Storm”

Greg Johnson gets drench in meteorological metaphors with the upbeat “Beautiful Storm”. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Greg Johnson tours an Asian city and sings “Beautiful Storm” to camera as the surroundings move rapidly around him.”

Director: Bernadine Lim
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ma-V-Elle “Don’t Be So Shy”

Ma-V-Elle have “Don’t Be So Shy”, described by the Kiwi Hit Disk as a “cool slice of original, soulful pop”. It’s the final Ma-V-Elle track funded by NZOA. The duo was to eventually disband, with Lavina ending up in the Australian Idol final 12 in 2006, among other achievements.

December 1999

Ardijah “Way Around You”

I’m pretty used to Ardijah videos not being online, and indeed “Way Around You” isn’t available. It’s a breezy house jam

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Breathe “Sick & Tired”

“Sick & Tired” is another track from Breathe’s second album, the one that seemed really big at the time, but has now faded into history.

Fiona McDonald “Bury Me”

Described in a review I found on a vintage website as a “edgy, emotionally charged” song, “Bury Me” is another single from Fiona McDonald.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Garageland “Good Luck”

Garageland have the blusey “Good Luck”, another track off their second album “Do What You Want”.

The D4 “Come On!”

Another early track from The D4. “Come On!” is an typical piece of energetic rock. Here’s a fan video, setting the song to clips of rally cars sliding around corners.

Director: Alex Johnson
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

The Exponents “Big World Out Your Window”

“Big World Out Your Window” was the final Exponents track funded by NZOA. It was a single off their 1999 album “Hello, Love You, Goodbye”, a half-studio, half-live collection. There’s no sign of the “Window” vid, but I do know it was filmed on Mt Eden.

Director: Andrew Moore


Here’s a video from the world of non-NZOA funding. Director Marc Swadel made the “Crystal Chain” video for Flying Nun group The Subliminals for “300 bucks and one re-used 100 foot reel of 16mm film”. As a NZ On Screen commenter notes, 100ft of film is only two minutes, 45 seconds. The solution? “A lot of repeats, keying over footage with footage, and other lo fi tricks”. It’s a moody delight.

Director: Marc Swadel
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision