True Colours (Split Enz album)

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True Colours
Split Enz - True Colours.jpg
Studio album by
Released25 June 1980[citation needed]
StudioArmstrong Studios, Melbourne
GenreNew wave
LabelMushroom Records (AUS)
Polydor (NZL)
A&M (International)
ProducerDavid Tickle
Split Enz chronology
True Colours
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[1]
Smash Hits5/10[2]

True Colours, the fifth album released by New Zealand band Split Enz, was their first major commercial success. Released in 1980, the album featured more mature songwriting from Neil Finn. Credited to him is the album's New Zealand and Australian #1 single, "I Got You," which also broke them internationally. The US release of the album featured "Shark Attack" and "I Got You" in reversed positions due to the latter's success on the single charts.

Originally, the band thought "Missing Person" to be the album's standout track, not realizing "I Got You" would become the hit. "I Hope I Never" was mixed differently for the Australian single release, with strengthened percussion. "Nobody Takes Me Seriously," "What's the Matter With You" and "Poor Boy" were released as singles in the northern hemisphere.

The album cover was initially released in four colour combinations – yellow and blue, red and green, purple and yellow, and blue and orange – but would ultimately be given another four makeovers with releases in lime green and pink, hot purple and burnt orange, gold and platinum (to mark its sales milestones), and finally yellow, blue and red.

When it was later released on the A&M label, wild, imaginative shapes and patterns covered the vinyl using a technique known as "laser-etching". When light hit the record, these designs would protrude and spin about the room. The album was the first to ever use this technique, originally designed to discourage the creation of counterfeit copies.

A synthesizer melody played in "I Wouldn't Dream of It" was first introduced in an early Split Enz recording, aptly titled "The Instrumental".

True Colours was remastered by Eddie Rayner and re-released on two occasions. Firstly in 2003, and yet again with the rest of the Split Enz catalogue on 20 May 2006 with the bonus tracks: Things and Two Of a Kind. In October 2010, the album was listed at number 22 in the book, 100 Best Australian Albums, despite being a New Zealand production.[3]

Track listing[edit]

Close up of the laser etched A&M release

All tracks written by Tim Finn unless noted.

Side A
1."Shark Attack"2:52
2."I Got You" (Neil Finn)3:24
3."What's the Matter with You" (N. Finn)3:02
4."Double Happy" ([Instrumental] Eddie Rayner)3:15
5."I Wouldn't Dream of It"3:14
6."I Hope I Never"3:24
Side B
7."Nobody Takes Me Seriously"3:32
8."Missing Person" (N. Finn)3:32
9."Poor Boy"3:19
10."How Can I Resist Her"3:26
11."The Choral Sea" ([Instrumental] T. Finn, N. Finn, Rayner, Noel Crombie, Malcolm Green, Nigel Griggs)4:29

NOTE: On the A&M version (SP-4822), tracks 1 & 2 are inverted. The listing above is the original Mushroom (AUS) / Polydor (NZ) listing.

2006 Re-release[edit]

True Colours Tour, Commodore Ballroom.

All tracks written by Tim Finn unless noted.

Side A
1."Shark Attack"3:00
2."I Got You" (Neil Finn)3:29
3."What's the Matter with You" (N. Finn)3:09
4."Double Happy [Instrumental]" (Rayner)3:27
5."I Wouldn't Dream of It"3:22
6."I Hope I Never"4:34
7."Nobody Takes Me Seriously"3:30
8."Missing Person" (N. Finn)3:39
9."Poor Boy"3:28
10."How Can I Resist Her"3:33
11."The Choral Sea [Instrumental]" (Split Enz)4:51
12."Things" (N.Finn. Single, released October 1979)2:48
13."Two of a Kind" (Recorded at Harlequin Studios, Auckland, June 1979)3:41


Reviewed in Roadrunner at the time of release, it was described as, "a thoughtful, reflective album. The approach to songs is more straight forward, more serious, than the Split Enz we are all used to."[4]

Chart history[edit]

Country Peak
Australia[5] 1
New Zealand[6] 1
USA[7] 40
UK[8] 38
Canada[9] 10


Split Enz[edit]


  • Produced and engineered by David Tickle
  • Assistant Engineer: Scott Hemmings
  • Recorded at Armstrongs, Melbourne 1979
  • "Two Of A Kind" Produced by Tim Finn and engineered by Doug Rogers
  • Recorded at Harlequin Studios, Auckland 1979
  • Cover Art: Noel Crombie
  • Design and layout: Traffic Design Studios
  • International Management – Nathan D. Brenner
  • Project Coordinators: Dean McLachlan, Peter Green

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Hepworth, David. "Albums". Smash Hits. No. 7–20 August 1980. p. 28.
  3. ^ O'Donnell, John; Creswell, Toby; Mathieson, Craig (October 2010). 100 Best Australian Albums. Prahran, Vic: Hardie Grant Books. ISBN 978-1-74066-955-9.
  4. ^ Robertson, Donald (8 February 1980). "Albums". Roadrunner. Parkside, SA: 21.
  5. ^ Kent, David. Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W. (1993). ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  6. ^ "New Zealand Charts". Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  7. ^ "All Music Guide". Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  8. ^ "UK Chart Stats". Archived from the original on 18 January 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  9. ^ "RPM Canadian Charts". Retrieved 13 July 2011.