Amber Claire “At Seventeen”

2003-amber-claire-at-seventeenAmber Claire covers Janis Ian’s outsider anthem “At Seventeen”. The original reached #37 in 1975, while Amber Claire’s cover made it to #28. In case you’re wondering, Janis Ian was totally down with Amber Claire’s version, and even did an impromptu duet with Amber Claire on a visit to New Zealand in 2005.

But back to Amber Claire’s version. The video is very simple. It sees Amber Claire performing the song on a grand looking stage area, along with her band.

But there’s something a bit weird about the band – the accordionist looks like Clayton Weatherston. OMG. He has the same shaggy blonde hair, the same light beard, the same narrow glasses. Of course, the video was made four years before the murder, and I’m sure this musician no longer styles himself that way, but it’s uncanny watching the video now.

If you ignore that and party like it’s 2004, you’re left with a rather restrained music video. The song is long – four and a half minutes – and the video doesn’t do much in that time. Just lots of different angles of Amber Claire and her band. Oh look, there’s the guitarist plucking the guitar strings.

The song is an ode to high school outsiders who go on to blossom into kick-arse adults. The lyrics have a strong a tension between the dorky teenage self and the successful adult self. But we just see Amber Claire looking glam in a pretty gown. How’d she get there? What was high school like for her? The video doesn’t care.

Best bit: the accordionist’s ability to also play a keyboard while the accordion rests on his lap.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… rainy day woman.

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