48May “Leather & Tattoos”

2004-48may-leather-and-tattoos48May got into a bit of trouble with this song, on account of it having more than a passing resemblance to “Punk Rock 101” by the Texan punk-pop band Bowling for Soup. According to the Htown Wiki, the song was pulled from the rerelease of the band’s debut album The Mad Love, and indeed the track is currently not available for purchase on iTunes.

The worst thing – “Punk Rock 101” is a rant against cookie cutter punk-pop, and also a fine example of how to include references to other songs and artists without directly copying their work. It even has the sneering refrain “Same song! Different chorus!”. Oh dear.

But if you go back to a time before any of that happened, you end up with 48May breaking into a bleak student flat. This is where the subject of the song lives – the goth chick with the leather and tattoos – only she’s not home.

Weirdly it looks more like a dude flat, but then the lyrics do mention she likes wrestling, monster trucks and Slipknot. Jon sneaks upstairs and joins the rest of the band rocking out in a couple of bedrooms.

Jon then ventures into the girl’s bedroom and discovers a pair of novelty fur-lined handcuffs. Well, that’s something. The band play some more, then enjoy an instant coffee and sandwiches in the kitchen.

Then suddenly – uh oh! – the goth chick is at the door. Will she discover the four pop-punk intruders who have been enjoying her Nescafe? Nah. She opens the door and finds the room empty, with just an open window to suggest something might be astray. The goth chick seems to sigh a little, as if she was expecting a punk-pop party at her house, with the empty room instead reminding her of the emptiness of her life. Bummer.

Despite the drama around the song, the video is ok. It captures 48May’s energy and even though it has a very American sound, there’s no mistaking the very New Zealand setting of the video.

Best bit: the slow-motion food-in-mouth throw, perfect caught.


Director: Greg Page
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a good fry-up.

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