Boh Runga and Stellar* enjoyed a breakthrough year in 1999 with their synthesis of guitars and electronic beats realised on Mix, a chart topping debut produced by Tom Bailey (of Thompson Twins fame). Jonathan King's video for 'Part of Me', the album's second single, creates a repressive, futuristic world of glass, concrete and steel where the only plants seen are those grown in strictly controlled conditions. But in amongst the soulless conformity, surveillance cameras and sterile suits, it might be too soon to completely write off Mother Nature.
Website AllMusic argued that the stripped back, "vagually rootsy" sounds of the Nashville-recorded Say It is So made for one of Tim Finn's finest albums to date. The mostly animated video for the opening track follows a depressed computer worker who goes stir crazy, before making a lucky escape alongside the only woman in the office. Aside from romance, he soon discovers adventure can spring less welcome surprises. Directors Matt Heath and Chris Stapp (who made this before their bogan extravaganza Back of the Y) get in an environmental message, once things get aquatic.
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.
Credited to a band with the shortened name The JPS Experience (possibly at the request of Jean Paul Sartre’s estate), the ‘Breathe’ EP prefigured the Christchurch band’s third album — their swansong — and yielded their highest chart placing. Produced by Strawpeople’s Mark Tierney, and hailed by US alternative music bible Trouser Press as “glamorous ennui”, it defines the majestic, woozy pop that was increasingly becoming their forte. Director Matt Palmer’s video never strays from the band — with fluid camerawork framing them in fire, ice and shimmering reflections.
In the tradition of novelty songs, ‘Culture?’ was catchy to the point of contagion. Fuelled by carnival keyboards, it was The Knobz response to Prime Minister Rob Muldoon’s refusal to lift a 40% sales tax on recorded music (originally instituted by Labour in 1975), and Muldoon's typically blunt verdict on the cultural merits of pop music (“horrible”). The giddy, hyperactive video comes complete with Muldoon impersonator (Danny Faye), and casts the band as the song’s 'Beehive Boys'. In the backgrounder, Mike Alexander writes about his time as the band's manager.