The Verlaines “Mission of Love”

At the end of this video, there’s a clip with James Coleman interviewing Karyn Hay about the video. She explains that the Verlaines’ American record label weren’t happy with the video because it didn’t contain enough “pop-star lip-synching”.

And indeed it’s a very non-commercial video. Despite being a lively pop song, the video goes for quite an abstract treatment. The video starts off seeming like a standard pop road video, with footage of rural New Zealand. But it’s shot in grainy black and white, with bleak scenes of lifestyle blocks. Even a trip to the beach in a bang-up old Valiant is stark, not sunny.

Later there’s colour footage of the back backstage at a gig, but it’s blurry and dimly lit. Hey, let’s throw in some kaleidoscope effects to make it even less pop.

But it’s not all bleak. Suddenly and unexpectedly there’s a drive-by on a field full of cherry trees, bursting with their brilliant pink blossoms. This leads to a live performance at the Glue Pot, where the band play to an almost empty pub, with a lone dancer grooving under a strategically placed pink spotlight.

So if you look at it in pop terms, yeah, it’s not a great pop video. But it is a great pop song with a cool video that has plenty of humour lurking within.

Best bit: The seven seconds of actual lip-syncing.

Note: keep watching after the video for the chat with director Karyn Hay.

Director: Karyn Hay
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

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One thought on “The Verlaines “Mission of Love””

  1. It’s a Pontiac Laurentian not a Valiant. The live sequence was shot after a Gluepot gig so is “staged” with the lone dancer. A lot of the video was shot on Super 8.

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