Strawpeople “Drive”

1999-strawpeople-driveBic Runga does vocal duties on this cover of the Cars’ bleakest song. It’s the highest charting Strawpeople song, reaching number 7, but yet I don’t think it’s held up as well as the original.

Perhaps it’s just down to music trends. The moody synths in the Cars’ version are right back in fashion, whereas the drum and bass styles of the Strawpeople’s version sound like an awkward trend from the late ’90s. Perhaps in another 10 years, this version will sound just fine.

The video is computer animated and its quality is a sign of how advanced CGI had become in the late ’90s. Sure, the lip-sync isn’t precise, but it’s better than the pixelly comedy worlds of earlier videos.

Bic is represented as a blue chanteuse performing in a bar with an insect band. Disappointingly, the insect DJ does not take advantage of his many legs and just uses two for his turntable work. Bic has a far off look in her eyes, as if she’s seen too much.

Hey, we’re in New York City, cruising on the Hudson River, past the Statue of Liberty (yay!) past the World Trade Centre (oh…). Combined with the bleak tone of the song, the appearance of the WTC – only two years from its end – takes on a somewhat tragic tone.

The trio also put in an appearance at Grand Central Station, with the sped-up commuters bustling behind them. There’s a sense that the gravity of the song has created a bubble around the trio, making them immune to the outside world. All that matters is this seriousness.

Best bit: the insect muso cigarette break.

Director: James Cunningham
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Tim’s vlog.

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