Something in the Water

Brooke Fraser, Music Video, 2010

'Something in the Water', from singer-songwriter Brooke Fraser's third album Flags, is a giddy, infectious love song with a rollicking country/folk setting. It was voted Most Performed Song of the Year at the 2010 APRA Silver Scrolls. The partly animated video, made by the Special Problems production team of Campbell Hooper and Joel Kefali, loosely recasts the song as Homer's Odyssey with a multi-costumed Fraser as Penelope waiting for her Odysseus to return from across the water (but not above a playful poke of the tongue to finish off proceedings).

System Virtue

Emma Paki, Music Video, 1993

This evocative music video scored a double-header: it was voted best video at both the NZ Music Awards, and the NZ Film and Television Awards. Emma Paki won gongs for singing and songwriting. Director Josh Frizzell mixes images of Paki singing on the streets with often sombre portraits of locals in their element, from children to gang members. Widely regarded as Paki's magnum opus, System Virtue became one of the most played local music videos of 1994. Killing Joke's Jaz Coleman produced the song; a much lusher version later appeared on 1996 album Oxygen of Love

Loyal

Dave Dobbyn, Music Video, 1988

This is a cleverly-choreographed one shot video for the Kiwi classic written by Dobbyn when based in Sydney. (Even if it's debatable whether the moving house/moving on imagery actually suits the lyrics of the song.) Dobbyn's jersey and his video girl's entire get-up firmly date-stamp the romance and real estate story in the 80s, but the song has outlasted the knitwear: In 2001 APRA members voted it the third-best New Zealand song of the 20th Century. Loyal was later used by Team New Zealand as its campaign song for its 2002 defence of the America’s Cup.  

Lollipop

King Kapisi, Music Video, 2006

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.

Dragons and Demons

Herbs, Music Video, 1981

'Dragons and Demons' is a track from Whats' Be Happen? — the first release from the Auckland pioneers of Pacific reggae. The album had a shot of the Bastion Point protest on its cover, however the emphasis in this song — written by original vocalist Tony Fonoti — is more personal than political as it exhorts people to control mental dragons and demons. Fonoti’s devotion to Rastafarianism made him uncomfortable with the band’s growing commercial success, and led to his departure. ‘Dragons and Demons’ received a new lease of life in 2009 when it was featured in Taika Waititi’s film Boy.

Montego Bay

Jon Stevens, Music Video, 1980

Upper Hutt-born singer Jon Stevens pulled off the remarkable feat of having consecutive number ones on the New Zealand Top 40 with his first two singles. 'Montego Bay' was the second (taking over from 'Jezebel' in January 1980). It was a cover of a one-off 1970 hit for American Bobby Bloom, written for the second largest city in Jamaica. The cut-out palm trees of the studio set were as close as Stevens and band got to the Caribbean. 'Montego Bay' stayed at the top of the chart for two weeks and was voted 'Single of the Year' at the New Zealand Music Awards.

Counting the Beat

The Swingers, Music Video, 1981

The opening images of this video — the swinging guitar, fingers on the fretboard — make for a defining moment in Kiwi music video history. The clip was actually shot in Australia; by the time they recorded the song, The Swingers had relocated from Aotearoa to Melbourne. They would soon be history. Aussie cinematographer/ director Ray Argall ('World Where You Live') matches the beloved composition with colourful images, quirky humour, and an infectious dance finale. In 2001 music organisation APRA voted the chart topper fourth on their list of the top Kiwi songs to date. 

I'll Say Goodbye (Even Though I'm Blue)

The Exponents / The Dance Exponents, Music Video, 1983

A young, blonde and big-haired (it was the early 80s) Jordan Luck and his fellow band members hang out in Auckland's old Leopard Tavern for this sing-along classic. Model Debra Mains — star of a number of DD Smash videos of the time — smoulders as the spurning lover. A rest-home of elderly extras join in for the famous chorus. The dial phone looks positively pre-industrial. The song was voted number 89 in the APRA Top 100 New Zealand songs of all time; the Dance Exponents' debut studio album Prayers Be Answered stayed in the charts for a year.

Nature

The Mutton Birds, Music Video, 1992

This muscular early 90s cover of The Fourmyula’s pastoral 1969 classic comes from the first album by Don McGlashan’s band The Mutton Birds. The award-winning music video was directed by Fane Flaws — the first of six he made with the band (after previously working with McGlashan on The Front Lawn’s Beautiful Things clip). Guest vocalist Jan Hellriegel features amongst the battery of kaleidoscopic and psychedelic digital effects used to evoke the joys of nature. In 2001 the original tune was voted best NZ song in 75 years by songwriters’ association APRA. 

You Make the Whole World Smile

The Red Nose Band featuring Hammond Gamble, Music Video, 1992

The video for this Red Nose Day chart-topper makes the most of a powerhouse combination: celebrities and cute babies. Although lead singer Hammond Gamble gets his share of screen time, the result is largely devoted to close-ups of perhaps the biggest pile-up of famous Kiwis to cram into a single music video. The faces include appearances early on by Simone Kessell, Ilona Rodgers, and Aussie actor Mark Raffety  plus The Wizard, sports legends Grant Fox, John Kirwan and Jeremy Coney, newsreaders Judy Bailey and Anita McNaught, and singers Tina Cross and Suzanne Lynch.