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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Fans of Aotearoa New Zealand music reveal their True Colours

Audioculture (The Noisy Library Of Aotearoa) has just revealed that Split Enz’s 1980 album True Colours has taken the top spot in the publicly voted AudioCulture Classic NZ Album Readers Poll for 2023.

The poll launched on AudioCulture Iwi Waiata on Monday 1 May to celebrate the site’s 10th birthday, which is today, 31 May 2013, the last day of Te Marama Puoro o Aotearoa NZ Music Month.

True Colours – the band’s fifth album – was a popular choice from the start. The 1980 release includes the trans-Tasman No.1 hit ‘I Got You’, plus Top 40 hits ‘Shark Attack’ and ‘I Hope I Never’. As voter Darryn Harkness eloquently put it, "I think Split Enz could quite possibly be the crown jewel of NZ rock 'n' roll...and this album has it all, the songs, energy and drama!" 

In 1980 True Colours was a shot in the arm that re-energised Split Enz. The album launched the band into widespread popularity and the top of the New Zealand album charts, remaining in the Top 40 for 79 weeks. The Split Enz line-up on True Colours was Tim Finn, Eddie Rayner, Neil Finn, Noel Crombie, Nigel Griggs and Malcolm Green.

In a 2020 piece on the album for AudioCulture, Gary Steel writes “... 40 years later it remains what it always was: a poptastic selection of great tunes that remains fresh ...”

Fiona McQuarrie voted all the way from Canada, and says, "It's a classic that sounds like New Zealand, and sounds like the world at the same time."

Split Enz also claimed the number three spot in the AudioCulture Classic NZ Album Readers Poll, with their 1975 release, Mental Notes.

As they say on their website "AudioCulture concentrates on New Zealand popular music history, rather than topical music events and contemporary releases. So it is true that acts that have been around the longest will have an advantage. But the output of New Zealand popular music, its profile and fanbase, have increased exponentially in the 2000s – as reflected in the number of different albums that received votes. Up until the 90s, it was rare for a New Zealand album to have a broad impact, outside an act’s fanbase. Airplay and awareness have increased remarkably in the past couple of decades, but the field is now so crowded it’s harder for an album to be noticed."

The top 10 albums are:

1.   Split Enz – True Colours (1980)

2.   Fat Freddy’s Drop – Based on A True Story (2005)

3.   Split Enz – Mental Notes (1975)

4.   Various – AK79 (1979)

5.   Hello Sailor – Hello Sailor (1977)

6=  Shihad – The General Electric (1999) 

6=  Toy Love – Toy Love (1980) 

6=  Supergroove – Traction (1994)

9.   Bic Runga – Drive (1997)

10. The Chills – Submarine Bells (1990)

The time something like this was undertaken was the 2001 search for the “top New Zealand song”, undertaken by APRA, accross its songwriting membership and some non-writing musicians, commentators, and producers.  Back then, the Finn brothers were prominent in the Top 30, with three songs by Tim, two by Neil, and one they co-wrote. Dave Dobbyn had four, plus one collaboration with Ian Morris.

Read the full story on the Audio Culture Website

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