The Mint Chicks “F**k the Golden Youth”

2004-the-mint-chicks-f-the-golden-youth“F**k the Golden Youth” is a 108 second explosion of weird pop delight. The video is all ’80s art-school, with animated collages of random images and felt-tip pen expressions. The Mint Chicks also feature, wearing gold suits and moving with even more of an urgency than the song.

Like a lot of the Mint Chicks’ early videos, this one puts the band at a distance. We only ever see the band performing in wide shot, and lead singer Kody is further hiding behind a pair of novelty sunglasses. The camera gives more attention to the drawings of people in the collages than to the band itself.

It makes the Mint Chicks seem a bit mysterious (by this point they were already notorious for their spirited live shows) and very rock. But can a band get away with being mysterious forever? Sooner or later they will have to be ready for their close up.

Best bit: the giant “CRACK” letters, for the babies and troops.

Note: Despite the video being available on the websites of MTV Australia, UK, US, Norway, Sweden and Italy, it’s not actually on MTV NZ. The video is, however, available to purchase on iTunes NZ for $3.59.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… those rock ‘n’ roll kids and their wacky backstage antics.

The Feelers “The Fear”

2004-the-feelers-the-fearThe Feelers get all existential with “The Fear” and to drive home the point that this is serious, man, the video stars James alone. This is the first time the other two have been absent from a video, so you know it’s serious.

The video opens with James watching some home movies, then we get a 70 second uninterrupted shot of him lip-syncing to the camera. Even in Sinead O’Connor’s epic lip-sync video “Nothing Compares 2 U”, she still got out and wandered around some statues. Mr Reid is stuck in the same room, expressionless, looking like every last emotion has been sucked out of his body.

Fortunately the rest of the video has a bit more variety, with James mooching around the cool studio apartment, playing his guitar and watching some more home movies. But he still looks sullen, even when he’s singing the cheerful lyrics, “Look out on the bright side!”.

He also sings of the fear “that someone can replace you”. But one thing is for sure – since the Feelers’ peak years, there has not yet been a New Zealand pop-rock band come along with the Feelers’ popularity or longevity.

Best bit: the little kids having fun in the projected home movies – I’m glad someone’s having a good time.

Director: Tim Groenendaal
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… art school kids end-term assessment.

Gramsci “Fall to Earth”

2004-gramsci-fall-to-earthGramsci is always serious and his videos are always serious. “Fall to Earth” continues with the seriousness, but this time ramping up the rock vibe.

The Gramsci band play in a dark space, silhouetted against a colour-changing wall of LED panels. Sometimes it seems like the colours directly relate to the mood of the song, other times it just seems like a random rotation of colours. But when the song explodes into a rockstravaganza, it’s all red.

Because the band are shot in silhouette, we don’t really get a good look at them. They are mystery men, playing in the shadows. This leads to a certain disconnection between the band and the song. In a way, it could be anyone playing it.

It is a really strong song and maybe it does work having the band acting as humans props in service of the song. Though given its strength, I would rather see the energy primarily come from the band than the lighting and editing.

Best bit: the flash of red and green stripes, Christmas cheer amongst the monochrome.

Director: Tim Groenendaal

Next… the 70-second stare.

The Fanatics “Buddy”

2004-the-fanatics-buddyTokyo is an amazing city and it can look brilliant in music videos. For example – “Intergalactic” by the Beastie Boys, and “Just Can’t Get Enough” by the Black Eyed Peas both take the city and do their own thing with it.

But there’s also the genre of the low-budget Tokyo video shot by a New Zealand band who wants to make the most of their Japanese visit by shooting a music video shoot at the same time. This is one of those videos. It’s like a wide-eyed New Zealander bewildered by the big busy train stations and the streets that are full of Japanese people. (When people shoot videos at Britomart station in Auckland, it’s never about the trains or the masses of commuters.)

The Fanatics do make an appearance in the video, busking their cover of the Snapper song around Shinjuku. It’s a stark contrast to their mysterious, shadowy appearances in the Fanatics previous videos for “Models” and “TV”. Suddenly here are two quite ordinary New Zealand musicians busking in Tokyo.

But the one big saving grace of this video is the ghostly animation. Some ghoulish white shapes fly around, smooshing the faces of unsuspecting commuters. It’s taking the run-of-the-mill Tokyo music video footage and doing something a bit interesting with it. Nice.

Best bit: The Fanatics “Buddy” karaoke screen, for singalong fun!

Director: Simon Ward
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… lurking in the shadows.

The D4 “What I Want”

2004-the-d4-what-i-wantWell, this is impressive. One-take wonder videos are cool and all, but when there’s a lot of stuff happening that involves very specific timing, it takes a lot of effort to get it right. Directed by Wade Shotter, the “What I Want” video puts the D4 in one place and changes the scenery around them.

In just over three minutes, the D4 go on an adventure involving a bed, a suburban living room, a blood-red rock backdrop, cheerleaders, strongmen, glitter and a disco floor, a Japanese backdrop, a political press conference, an office cubical, and back to bed.

The description at NZ On Screen notes that the shoot took one and a half days of rehearsals, was shot on film and used the 10th take. And nothing was added – what you see in the video is exactly what was filmed.

Unlike other one-take wonder videos where the novelty of the video overwhelms the song, “What I Want” seems to work well because it puts the band’s performance at the heart of video. While all this crazy business is happening around them, the D4 still get to rock out.

Best bit: the cheerleader outfits, emblazoned with the name of the NSFW opening track of the D4’s previous album, 6twenty.

Director: Wade Shotter
Nga Taonga

Next… more holiday pics.

Tha Feelstyle featuring Camillia Temple “Feels Like Forever”

2004-tha-feelstyle-feels-like-foreverBack in 2004, the song’s vocalist Camillia Temple was famous for being the third-place-getter in the first series of NZ Idol. She’d recorded her contribution to “Feels Like Forever” before Idol, and I’m guessing her contract with the TV show meant she wasn’t able to appear in the video. (At least, I haven’t been able to spot her.)

But the absence of the Idol diva isn’t felt, with Aaradhna and Sara-Jane providing some lady glam, along with Submariner and Manuel Bundy.

The video puts Tha Feelstyle in two settings – in front of a green-screen with an ever-changing display of background images (flags, photos and a cool car) and in a hip white-walled, wooden-floored room. It’s a big change from the rooty Samoan world of “Su’Amalie/Ain’t Mad At You”.

Sometimes the video feels a bit uneventful – there’s only so many times you can see a pretty lady in a nice dress before it starts to become repetitive – but it’s generally cool, stylish video.

Best bit: Submariner reading a Sub-Mariner comic.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… on their marks.

Sommerset “In Between”

2004-sommerset-in-betweenI don’t think this video actually ended up having NZ On Air funding, but still going to include it. “In Between” was filmed by Andy Morton at a gig in Berlin, the same German show that also features in the band’s “Faded” video.

“In Between” is a really basic live video, filmed with one camera down the front of the stage. It’s one continuous shot, but it’s a masterclass in when to move a camera. Andy Morton is obviously really familiar with the song, so the camera is always pointing at the right place and captures all the action.

The potential monotony is broken up by a using a few filters on the footage. It seems to capture Sommerset at their peak and is a lot more compelling than the band’s earlier, more complicated videos. This is how you make a cheap-as music video that doesn’t suck.

Best bit: the on-stage beer fridge.

Director: Andrew Morton

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the case of the missing idol.

Seven Suns “Dragged Along”

2004-seven-suns-dragged-alongI found a bunch of forum comments from Seven Suns fans, raving about how great they were live. Whatever that experience was, it doesn’t come across in this video. It is so dull.

This video was another recipient of the $1500 from Positively Wellington Business for producing the video in the Wellington region. And the video is indeed filmed in a Wellington location – the Clifton Terrace car park, which runs under the elevated motorway. It could potentially be used as an edgy urban setting, but instead it looks like a big, empty concrete car park, swamping the band.

The band all look utterly bored, like they’re running through the song for the 50th time. It doesn’t help that the song is fairly sedate and at times sounds like bad Christian pop (and not all Christian pop is bad). But when it’s accompanied by visuals of a grey car park, with almost all the colour taken out of the palette, it all adds up to a massive snoozefest.

This was Seven Sun’s only NZOA video funding, but lead singer Adi Dick returned in 2007 with a much better video for a solo song.

Best bit: the buffed-over graffiti on the concrete, a ghost of an exciting past.

Director: Gareth Moon

Next… more road stories.

Saccie “Beat 2 Beat”

2004-saccie-beat-2-beatWhen it’s shot well, skateboarding is an exciting visual delight to have in a music video. Sadly, “Beat 2 Beat” opens with terrible footage of an ollie. There’s no follow-though and the satisfying sound of the board landing has been replaced with a sound effect of an explosion. Ugh. Get out of my house.

The rest of the video is rough home video footage of Saccie and a breakdance crew stomping around central Auckland and Saccie performing at a club. But just to confuse things, in the middle of it there’s 25 seconds of animation with somewhat higher production values. Given that animated music videos are notoriously difficult to do well, on time and within budget, did they just give up on the animated stuff and flesh out the rest of the song with the home video?

“Beat 2 Beat” isn’t an especially strong track, but a good video could have sold it more, picked up on its cool grooves. As it is, it’s just comes across as a frustrating, disappointing mess.

Best bit: Saccie’s fourth generation iPod.

Redline “Time After Time”

2004-redline-time-after-timeRedline was rock/metal band that was the next project of former Tadpole guitarist and Internet Mana (remember them?) candidate Chris Yong.

The “Time After Time” video starts with the arresting image of P being smoked. The methhead is a pretty young woman who hasn’t reached the “faces of meth” stage. She’s shown out partying at the club but wandering about like a zombie, such is the insidiousness of crystal methamphetamine, etc. We also see her struggling through a boring desk job, and blobbing out at home. You know the P has ruined her life when her flat looks like a young dude student digs.

But it’s ok. Redline are here. They’re performing at the same club where the meth addict dances her cares away. Are their uplifting and supportive lyrics enough to drag her out of her addiction? Nah, she’s seen purchasing a suspicious packet from a shady man.

Because it’s a G-rated music video, much of the drugginess is implied. We’re just left with a young woman who seems a bit lonely and sad. Maybe the band will eventually cheer her up.

Best bit: the giant CRT monitor in her office.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… home video.