“Talk in this Town” was the follow-up single to Greg’s debut song “Isabelle”. It has a similar folky sound, but with a more upbeat theme. It’s all about gossipmongers, a not uncommon subject in the world of pop.
The video opens with an introduction of the band – it is, after all, the Greg Johnson Set. They’re sitting around in a picturesque old building and it’s the early ’90s so everyone has statement hair. The guitarist has long golden flowing locks so it’s no wonder the director has made a feature of it. Greg bursts into the frame and he’s wearing a hat, perhaps aware that he can’t match his band’s hair action.
Just when this sedate portrait of musos threatens to get a little boring, the video throws in some drama in the form of gossipmongers. Shot in cold blue light, some women and men wearing dramatic make-up whisper, bitch and gossip with exaggerated facial expressions. Things even get a bit surreal with images of eyeballs and mouths, and eyeballs in mouths. It’s a good contrast, taking what could have been a very nice video and giving it a bit of an edge. There’s more to Greg Johnson than mandolins and folk-pop.
Things get even further from the ordinary with the appearance of a young women in a crucifix pose, wearing only body paint and a crown of thorns. A saintly aura radiates from her head. She suffers for the sins of all the gossipers.
As I’ve discovered, Greg Johnson’s videos did get edgier as his music career progressed, perhaps showing that he wasn’t afraid to take his videos in directions that the songs didn’t always suggest.
Best bit: the little girl doing a twirl in front of the band. I bet she’s the biggest gossip of them all.
Director: James Holt
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… sitting around the kitchen table.