Friday, July 15, 2011

Message to my Girl

This isn't a real message to my girl; I have no girl to send any message to and the old one has long ago politely notified me of her appreciation for my not sending her any. If I'd ever wanted to say anything to her now, it would probably be "They play squash in the music video for 'Our House'" and "Despite our separation your safety, well-being and happiness are my biggest priority - where you're concerned." And if the explosively frequent views I get from Alberta these days are caused by the old one...that message will get read pretty quickly.


Actually it's a review on the song and the pretty creative music video.


From New Zealand, Split Enz (Enz spelled that way to illustrate the NZ abbreviation of their native country) was a band that began in 1971 and dissolved at the end of 1984. They had a cult following.


I didn't really know much or think much of the band. The earliest I'd seen them was when I was unaware of what band it was, nor was I interested in the least, when I fast-forwarded through this boring, old music video on one of my mother's tapes as a child. 
My mother's two videotapes of nothing but music videos, MuchMusic interviews and its old music/interview show, Spotlight, are legendary for their length and wide coverage of just about all the pop of the past thirty years. I spent an entire afternoon earlier this year, going through and fast-forwarding through over hundreds of music videos from around 1982 onwards to 1997. That tape is something like eight hours long and contains artists ranging from Genesis, Split Enz, Arrested Development, Hanson, Robyn, Crowded House and TLC to Barenaked Ladies, Mariah Carey, Backstreet Boys, Eurythmics, Blue Rodeo, Oasis...enough about that video tape.
What I was fast-forwarding at one point was a singer walking along, with a fence interposed between him and the camera. Then another band member walked past him in the opposite direction, and the camera followed him. Then the third came along going in the original...I see why I originally fast-forwarded it. But what I was speeding through, out of disinterest and ignorance at the time, was the music video to 'Message to My Girl.'


Earlier this year, when I eventually came to the video again, I decided to watch it properly to actually see what it was because I remembered annoyingly fast-forwarding through it before (I think I was speeding the tape to the music video for Hanson's 'Where's the Love' originally, which was way, way at the other end of the tape).
What I got was a sweet, simple, romantic song about the singer arranging his thoughts and feelings towards his girl.
Here's the video...you might see what I'm going about when the fence part comes along.

When I heard it, I also recognized the music from the TV upstairs a few times. Nowadays, instead of the videotape, my mother often watches the old retro music channels that are available on the Roger's Box we have, and I'd heard that song play on it a few times. I was surprised this music video was to that song.


The music sounds very warm and meaningful to me, and there's also this piano that sounds like it's in wonder. The bass has a nice sound to it as well.
However, and I don't normally say this, the lyrics have a big part of it. They sound fawning and truthful, while also a little unsure. They're quite beautiful; any girl would probably have a huge "fluttery heart" feeling listening to it, as well as any man who has a large feminine side. For me, I'd love to play the song to the girl that would make me feel the same as the vocalist. There isn't one though, and the old one would probably think I'm nuts if I still felt that way.


As for the music video, the medium I'd originally found the song in, the original thing that annoyed me and instilled in me a feeling that it looked old and boring, it's quite colorful and creative.
It looks like one of those music videos that was made on a low budget, so they simply used their imaginations. That's what I like about it. Neil Finn simply walks around a studio full of props, some of which light up. It looks like he walked a long way, but he simply went in a half-circle. Other band members occasionally feature, like during the walking along the fence bit, as well as in the beginning, and when the pianist appears to do his part, by himself as Neil walks by. Then he enters a doorway and joins the rest of the band, playing together, at the end. Two percussionists work together, one hitting a snare and hi-hat, and the other striking a bass drum tilted upwards. The camera focuses in turn on the bassist and pianist, then just floats away, revealing the entire studio and journey Neil took to get to the band. It's kind of fun but also eerie, long but short, and simple.
It's not that hard to play on bass, though it gets a little more difficult near the end. The song is largely on C#.


I give it an A-.


Play the song to your true lover. It's a perfect one for that crowd. I play it because it simply just sounds beautiful...and if I'm optimistic I'll know what to put on when I have someone to display those feelings to.


Justin C.



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