The Beautiful Young Crew

Lawrence Arabia, Music Video, 2008

This quietly jaunty but disdainful examination of the self absorbed young and hip, from Lawrence Arabia's second solo album, slotted easily into the soundtrack of MTV's American teen drama Skins. James Milne and director Stephen Ballantyne go in a very different direction with this video as they evoke NZ political party campaign ads of the late 70s/early 80s. Milne makes a very plausible Muldoon era politician as he is paraded through press conferences, meet and greets and photo opportunities. Locations in and around parliament add authenticity.

Beautiful Skin

Strawpeople, Music Video, 1995

Vocalist Victoria Kelly is very much the focus of this moody Strawpeople video. Singing enigmatically of dreams, knives and possible obsession— and magically changing outfits off camera, in patented music vid style  she performs in a shadowy, red-lit dive for an audience that consists of Strawpeople founders Paul Casserly and Mark Tierney. Tierney left the group in 1996. Plans for Victoria Kelly to take on a bigger role in Strawpeople would be derailed by her increasingly busy career as a film composer. ‘Beautiful Skin’ was composed by Strawpeople collaborator Greg Johnson.

Beautiful Machine

Shihad, Music Video, 2008

The title track of Shihad’s seventh studio album sees the band moving beyond the harder edged rock of much of their previous work and embracing new technologies (with a decidedly electro introduction) while lyrically questioning the degree to which humanity has lived up to its potential. Director Sam Peacocke places the band in the wilderness of a damp, fog filled, tussock marsh of blacks, greys and dark greens while a man (an apple short of Margritte’s ‘Son of Man’) and woman rise up and run towards each other: irresistibly drawn to human connection.

Beautiful Haze

SJD, Music Video, 2007

A stoic Sean James Donnelly carries on singing while facing an aerial barrage of feathers, fruit, toys and worse, in this dreamy after dark video, directed by globetrotting commercials maker Lawrence Blankenbyl. The calm amidst chaos music clip captures the wistful essence of the song, which preaches rebellion in the chorus, and going with the flow in the verse. 'A Beautiful Haze' is taken from SJD's fourth album Songs from a Dictaphone (2007), which reached number 11 on the Kiwi music charts.

Sweet Lovers

The Holidaymakers, Music Video, 1988

The first single for short-lived Wellington band The Holidaymakers was a cover of a little-known song by American Bill Withers. It spent six weeks at number one and was the biggest-selling single in New Zealand in 1988. On a low budget director Fane Flaws created a beautifully lit video that captures the song’s infectious brightness and warmth. With a collection of lamps the only concession to props or special effects, nothing detracts from the compelling performances by vocalists Peter Marshall and Mara Finau. Sweet Lovers won Best Video at the 1988 NZ Music Awards.

Come Here

Dimmer, Music Video, 2004

At least 3080 Polaroid photographs appear to have been taken for this piece of animated cleverness, which was created by Kelvin Soh and Simon Oosterdijk from Auckland design company The Wilderness. The clip offers viewers a stuttery cavalcade of beautiful faces, including guest vocalist Anika Moa. The series of scrawled numbers visible below the photos give a viewers an effective lesson in how animation — and filmmaking — is ultimately a series of still images, laid in a row. 'Come Here' comes from Dimmer's second album, You've Got to Hear the Music (2004).

Broken Eyes

Concord Dawn, Music Video, 2006

Mark Trethewey's extraordinary clip successfully captures an unsettling techie, industrial vibe, complete with strangely beautiful post apocalyptic cityscapes, and striking special effects. Skillfully edited, the video adheres faithfully to the intricacies of this DnB colossus, affording the track spectacular depth and authority.   

Listening for the Weather

Bic Runga, Music Video, 2002

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.  

Su'Amalie / Ain't Mad at You

Tha Feelstyle, Music Video, 2004

Shot on location, this gleeful clip could double as a travel promo for beautiful Samoa. In the absence of special effects, the video radiates warmth and sincerity, aided by remarkably slick editing and a cheeky sense of humour. Director Chris Graham also helmed clips for hip hop classics 'Brother' and 'Not Many'.  

Macchina

Decortica, Music Video, 2008

Illustrator/director Leah Morgan's beautifully crafted clip cleverly captures both angst and beauty through captivating special effects and a stunning palette.   "We shot against a green screen, with the band members positioned on a lazy Susan. The thing that killed me was a low angle shot where I was spinning and looking down: I turned pretty green (which must have been problematic in post)." Mathew Bosher, March 09