Weekend Herald - Canvas - - CONTENTS -

Ruth Spencer looks at the high points of the 90s in New Zealand music.


Well I was kind of a-won­der­ing, WON­DER­ING whether you, too, know all the words to Can’t

Get Enough? Su­per­groove in­vented its own genre, a blend of rap, funk, rock and nov­elty act. They had more en­ergy than any­one should legally have and a horn sec­tion that de­fied the tra­di­tional rules of horn sec­tions by be­ing cool. They also had an abun­dance of pla­tonic re­la­tion­ships rem­i­nis­cent of my man Mike Plato.


Ba­si­cally the Spice Girls, but they were here, in the mall, where you could scream at them in per­son. They wore clothes as seen on TV, shiny tight things and rub­ber over-thongs. Their big­gest hit, Tonight, was launched off the back of the TV pro­gramme that cre­ated the band. Reader, I au­di­tioned. For­tu­nately it was be­fore they fig­ured out how funny the bad au­di­tions are, so the world was gifted Jo Cot­ton in­stead. She made us laugh with her wit, not her singing.


Wan­der­ing the depths of the for­est, you stum­ble upon a fairy grotto where a mys­te­ri­ous le­mon juice sales­man plies his wares. You un­wrap your Chupa Chup and reach for the lasers. You’re at The Gath­er­ing, the only place to be at New Year’s in the 90s. Or maybe you’re not. Like they say of Wood­stock, if you can re­mem­ber the am­bi­ent hard­core in­dus­trial trance vi­brat­ing the mist, were you even there?


We wanted to break Che Fu’s Chains and help him out, and OMC went global, how bizarre. If you couldn’t rap along to 3 The Hard Way’s

Hip Hop Hol­i­day you could still go “OH NO” re­ally loudly in the cho­rus and feel cool. Sis­ters Un­der­ground’s In The Neigh­bour­hood gave the sub­urbs so much street­wise cred that it felt like you were in a music video just walk­ing to the dairy. MC OJ and Rhythm Slave did a TV ad rap­ping about school sta­tionery and no one ac­tu­ally cringed. It was a dif­fer­ent era.

Ev­ery­thing else

There was a lot. We were lost in love and we didn’t know much, we won­dered why love did this to us but we knew you had to put your clock back for the win­ter. If you want to see a Gen X-er look pained and wist­ful with­out men­tion­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, drop words like Glue­pot, Bodega and Quadrophe­nia into con­ver­sa­tion. Ask them to pro­nounce Bressa Creet­ing Cake or HLAH. Then re­mind them the Red Nose Day song got to num­ber one. Twice.

Nineties’ music was the best of times, ex­cept when it was the worst of times.

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