1988 Countdown #99: Crowded House, “Better Be Home Soon”

The lower reaches of this countdown seem to be filled with tracks that weren’t actually hits, but were presumably beloved of somebody in the MTV programming department. (Or maybe some favors were owed to record companies.) Take, for example, the non-hit “Better Be Home Soon,” from Crowded House’s second album Temple of Low Men. My mighty Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop informs me that when Neil Finn was putting together Crowded House after the demise of Split Enz, he went straight to American record companies, skipping their Australian imprints, and that it took most of a year for the band’s debut album to break down under. The followup, in contrast, flopped everywhere except Australia.crowded01.jpg

(Before we continue, a paragraph devoted to the next entry alphabetically in the aforementioned Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop, since at this writing, “magician/illusionist/actor/musician” Jeffrey Crozier lacks a Wikipedia page. Crozier, 1948-1981, “reputedly died while rehearsing the illusion of self-hanging.” He was billed as the “voodoo psychedelic magician.” Crozier appears to have done better abroad, leaving Australia with an act called The Moon Rock Circus, which he followed up with The Kongress, an act in the Alice Cooper idiom, “replete with electric chairs, smoke bombs and anarchic rock music.” In 1978, Crozier returned to Australia, “where he continued to be ignored by all but a dedicated few. He was even voted Australia’s top magician at the twelfth Annual Wizards Convention.” It is unknown whether Michael Hutchence was among those select fans.)

At any rate, “Better Be Home Soon” is a pleasant lovelorn ballad, saddled with a hopelessly twee video. Large sums of money were spent on creating the image of a low-rent theatrical production. Finn stands on the stage of an empty vaudeville theater. A crescent moon lights up the scenery. Stagehands drag large piles of chairs across the background. The rest of the band join Finn onstage. Cheap clouds dangle from ropes, knocking over some of those piles of chairs. More and more chairs appear on the scene. The propsmaster appears to have cut a deal with a local furniture warehouse, or maybe the stage is being set up for a production of Chair: The Australian Tribal Furniture-Love Musical. Finally, a red velvet curtain comes down, protecting humanity from all those chairs.crowded02.jpg

Advice for musicians: No matter how persuasive directors are, there are some things you should never let them talk you into doing for a video shoot. Among them are (1) sitting on an oversized chair with your legs dangling like a four-year-old (2) wearing what appears to be a red sweater-vest along with a suit and polka-dot tie.crowded03.jpg

posted 13 May 2008 in 1988 and tagged , , , . 1 comment

One Comment Thus Far on 1988 Countdown #99: Crowded House, “Better Be Home Soon”

  1. Scraps Says:

    I love this song; it might be my favorite of theirs, though it’s hard to argue against Don’t Dream It’s Over except on grounds of overexposure. I never saw this video.

Leave a Reply

Keep up to date with new comments on this post via RSS.