Something So Strong (N Finn/N Froom) and World Where You Live (N Finn) – Crowded House 1987

 Something So Strong was the first song written by Neil Finn specifically for the band, earlier Crowded House releases had been written by Finn during his Split Enz and pre-Crowded House days, his co-composer here was Neil Froom who was also the producer of the record and often contributed keyboards to their recording sessions. The eponymous album Crowded House  contained several exquisite guitar rock songs and this one considered both the positive and negative aspects of the power of love: “Love can make you weep/Can make you run for cover/Roots that spread so deep/ Bring life to frozen ground.” It charted #3 in NZ, #7 in USA and #10 in Canada and #18 in Australia, for a bona fide international hit for the band.CH24A fragment of the opening riff from Deep Purple’s Smoke On the Water is played at the beginning of the song, the promo clip features the three incredibly young, fresh-faced members of the band joyfully strumming and playing the song in a barn whilst flirting with several girls, a vintage American car is parked just outside the barn. The video director was Brit Evan English who imbued the clip with all the youthful energy, radiance, and commercial sheen of a toothpaste advertisement, which was exactly what their record company wanted for the US market. Hester and his drum kit are hoisted up and out of the barn on a tractor and Nick Seymour gets a dousing, in the best Gatorade traditions of American gridiron, at the end of the clip.

Despite having a broad, international release in various formats, World Where You Live only charted in Australia and the United States, reaching #43 and #65 respectively in1987. CH6Neil Finn explained the unusual inspiration for this song in a 1998 interview with Goldmine “I was staying at my manager’s house in L A , and there was a woman who lived next door to him who always seemed to be having wild sex at about 6.00am in the morning. It used to wake me up, and I had no idea about her, except that she was really rampantly enjoying the thrash-around. I think that’s where I got the lines “I I don’t know where you go, do you climb into space, to the world where you live”, just speculating about this mystery life, that  was going on next door.” The music video for the song shows Neil Finn holding a flying dollhouse in his hands, and then letting it go as he sings the lyrics while an oversized dollhouse comes into view. The rest of the band comes into the house, and then the whole band starts performing in a room inside the house. One scene shows Neil turning a page in a book containing maps of his home country, New Zealand, while experimenting with more dollhouses. Another scene shows the band coming out of the house while a party is going on, and the very last scene shows the empty room in the house, indicating the band has left, except that a chandelier is dangling back and forth and Paul Hester’s  drums are still left in the room before the video fades to black.

The band’s debut album was an unqualified success, selling over 2 million copies in the USA and Aust alone, charting #1 locally, #3 in NZ, #8 in Canada, and #12 in the USA, it generated approx. $20 million over the counter, and the band outstripped INXS as Australia’s biggest musical export at the time.CH1

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