Creating New Zealand's first local hit involved a lot of trial and error, as a company best known for making radios grappled with how to make records. Sixty-six years later Neil Finn visited musician Jim Carter, whose Hawaiian-style guitar is part of the magic of the original 'Blue Smoke' track. Finn "gently persuaded" Carter to help him record a new version on a laptop in just a few hours. Alongside newsreel shots of WWII soldiers, this evocative clip features footage of two musicians from different generations sharing memories, and making music about saying goodbye.
‘Message to My Girl’ finds Split Enz in a time of transition — foreshadowed here when the Finn brothers walk past each other in opposite directions. Tim has just completed his solo album and will shortly leave, while Neil is coming into his own as the band’s new leader. The track is an unabashed love song to his wife. The accompanying video was shot in two extended takes, with the only edit obscured halfway through — and staged in what looks like a theatre set storage area. New drummer Paul Hester makes his debut but no Noel Crombie suits this time, just civvies.
'Land of Plenty' is a love letter to Aotearoa, featuring another take on the conversational vocal stylings heard on global smash 'How Bizarre'. Channelling his Niuean father's love of NZ, Pauly Fuemana namechecks favourite streets, Mt Ruapehu, white water and "open caves that glow supreme". Taisha Khutze (now in The Lady Killers) supplies some impressive vocal stylings of her own. In 2013 co-writer Alan Jansson joined Fuemana's widow in criticising what they saw as "noticeable similarities" between this top five hit, and the song for a 'Land of Plenty, Land of Quattro' car ad.
A remixed version of a lighter song from hip-hopper King Kapisi’s third album Dominant Species, this down and dirty number gets a burlesque style treatment from director Sam Peacocke. Behind the Old West frontage of ‘King Kap’s Confectionary’ store (where the new flavour is coconut), a very dapper King Kapisi presides over a hallucinatory mix of candy, dancing girls, Donnie Darko-inspired rabbit suits — and a striking smoke effect, created from ink spreading on water. Lollipop was voted Best Hip Hop Video at the 2006 Juice TV Awards.
Director Justin Pemberton takes this love song by Paul Casserly and Fiona McDonald (from fourth Strawpeople album Vicarious) and transforms it into an exercise in noir influenced, brooding unease. His video takes place over a night at a rural motel (with McDonald as a receptionist, and Casserly up to no good with a range of medical equipment). A tarot card-reading, yoga-practising new-ager, a traveller with unexplained cages, and random appearances from stringed instrument-playing senior citizens contribute to the growing sense of disquiet.
A lone boy in the wilderness and a mysterious airborne menace feature in this evocative, NZ Music Award-winning video for Avalanche City (aka musician Dave Baxter). Discovering a stag who’s fallen victim to the abstraction from the sky, the boy takes it upon himself to fight back, before it can inflict more damage on the forest’s residents. Despite the song being a last minute inclusion on Avalanche City’s second album We Are for the Wild Places, it later became the only Kiwi song to hit number one in 2015. An earlier video for the song was shot in one extended take on Raglan beach.
The first single from Bic Runga’s chart-topping second album Beautiful Collision is — according to AudioCulture's profile of the singer — an autobiographical song about the stresses of touring. 'Get Some Sleep' peaked at number three in the New Zealand charts, and was the best-selling song by a local artist in 2002. Two videos were made; the version aimed at local audiences sees Runga roaming Aotearoa in a mobile radio station playing CDs and records, greeting fans and generally broadcasting happy vibes: Yes...we do believe Bic may be having fun.
This music video features Greg Johnson sitting in front of a kaleidoscopic green screen, while the backdrop changes through green paddock to wavy blue, and everything in between. Alongside the Kiwi scenery, Johnson sings of a woman he is extremely keen to know better. The clip’s final shot reveals a different locale than expected. 'Cut to the Chase' is taken from 2000 album Sea Breeze Hotel, which NZ Herald writer Russell Baillie praised as expressive and wide-ranging.
After Bic Runga's debut album Drive sold — and broke — a bunch of records, another five years passed before she found time to perfect her follow-up. Fears it would join the long list of disappointing second albums proved unfounded: Beautiful Collision scored three NZ Music Awards, and became the biggest-selling local release of 2003. The album's third single 'Listening for the Weather' spent 20 weeks in the Kiwi charts. Shot mostly on DV and Super 8mm, the video offers a snapshot of life on tour: dressing rooms, concert halls, road signs...and lyrics about home not being too far away.
Electronic soul band Shapeshifter is one of the NZ acts whose songs were covered by international artists in Nick Dwyer’s Making Tracks TV series. Dwyer takes that relationship a step further with this infectious music video for one of the singles from their fourth album Delta. He accompanies their lyrics, about putting aside the pressures and problems of everyday life, with a series of vibrant images from around the world. Gathered during his globetrotting, they celebrate human connection and the simple pleasures afforded by music (and a NZ 1990 t-shirt).