This is another song and video that I have a disproportionately high level of love for. Even the near daily use of the song in the sports store TV commercials haven’t killed it for me. So come with me into the world of Zed and the “Renegade Fighter” video.
The song starts off with a spooky music-box sound. It’s a dark and stormy night and we’re inside an empty house. Lightening flashes, the venetian blinds flap and suddenly there’s guitarist Andy with that opening chord. Bassist Ben (who’s doing the vocals on the verses) appears and does an alarmingly sexual slide on his instrument. The chorus kicks in and there’s Nathan in the corridor giving a hearty lip-sync of the chorus. It’s like a curious mash-up of a classic boy band video and a cool but arty rock video.
Second verse has Ben sitting in a perfect boy band pose. The camera stays on him for a straight 25 seconds, even sticking around when the chorus starts with Ben just doing a teen idol stare at the camera.
The band rock out together for the next chorus (nice pacing), then we return to Ben in a room draped with fairy lights, cutting to Andy delivering a few licks on his guitar.
There’s some clever editing in this video, echoing the spooky strobe-like lightning effect. The video isn’t obsessed with making this a pretty pop video, and there are some delightfully weird touches. But then just in case we’d forgotten these were teen dudes, the video ends with Nathan giving Andy a playful punch.
“Renegade Fighter” was Zed’s highest charting single (reaching number four), and I like to think of it as Zed at their absolute peak as kings of teen pop-rock.
Best bit: the pattered wallpaper, looking a bit too authentically New Zealand to be a “Song 2” homage.
Bonus: here’s Zed performing “Renegade Fighter” live, with no shirts on, in front of an audience of adoring, screaming fans. It’s only 1:47 long, probably due to the camera having a fangirl freakout.
Next… stripped down acoustic styles.