Dead Flowers “Watch Her Play”

Hey, you want some early ’90s digital video effects? Well, this video has them. There’s so much going on that it’s a little overwhelming in the beginning. Animation! Green screen! Pixillation! Solarisation! Things calm down a little once the verses get started, but it still feels like overkill.

Most of the video is based around the band performing in front of a green-screen backdrop. The background images involve swirly rainbow waves, giant flaming flames, and something I will describe as microwave pizza vomit. There’s a lot going on.

We see the crazy girl of the lyrics burning a Barbie doll in a fireplace. Actually, she’s not so much burning it as just holding it near the roaring fire. Maybe Barbie is cold and needs to be warmed. Maybe the girl is conscious of hazardous fumes that might come from burning plastic.

But, ok, it’s 1993. This was new technology and there was a kind of 1960s psychedelia revival happening, though it also feels like the extravagant visuals were trying to disguise a lacklustre song. But while “Watch Her Play” isn’t as strong as the Dead Flowers’ later work, it’s still not terrible – especially considering it was the first single from their second album. I think that while the video likes the song, it likes itself more.

Best bit: Bryan furiously flips through a 1994 wall calendar of scenic New Zealand.

Director: Jonathan Coates
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

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