I Hope Yuh Comprehend—A Review of Simply Red’s “Stars”

I Hope Yuh Comprehend—A Review of Simply Red’s “Stars”

In which Jason and The Tusk’s Nate Waggoner send their future into clearer dimensions by reviewing the video for Simply Red’s Stars.

JASON

Hey Nate! I wanna fall from the stars straight into YOUR arms! Just like that Red Bull astronaut. Remember him? Felix Baumgartner literally fell 128,000 feet from the stars and he didn’t have the common courtesy to aim for the lead singer of Simply Red!

I guess the lead singer of Simply Red doesn’t want other people to fall from the stars straight into his arms—he wants to do the falling! He wants you to be his own personal Cape Canaveral. Open your arms for Simply Red frontman Mick Hucknall!

Like, welcome to Simply Red Space Camp, Nate! Here’s your sheer poncho(?). Is that what he’s wearing in this video? Is that a New Mexico wrap? An old burlap sack?? Whatever you call it, he’s not dressed for space travel. He’s not even dressed for our Earth atmosphere. Come to think of it, Nate—what would you wear to space, if you were the lead singer of Simply Red, and you were preparing to fall from the stars straight into my arms?

NATE

I think I’d wear that light and breezy gown that lady’s wearing– perfect for dancing, standing around in a sultry fashion, or being a towering nightmare mountain goddess, crushing goats and mountainfolk alike with the force of my pouty lounging.

Either that or I’d wear the fuckin’ Fitzcarraldo suit Hucknall only wears while jumping, because in the vords of Werner Herzog, “For all the jealousy I caused you / Snakes(?) the reason I’m tryin’ to hide / As for all the things you told me / It sends my future into clearer dimensions.” That’s from “Stroszek,” I think.

Really I don’t think science could ever create an outfit (that’s who creates outfits, right? Scientists?) for proper star-jumping any sooner than it can fulfill my lifelong dream of painting this video on the side of my van. And maybe that’s for the best, because while it might be a fun thing to be a guy with red dreads and a New Mexico wrap who says, “I hope yuh comprehend” to women even though he has a big piece of kale(?) stuck in his teeth and thinks stars literally are shaped like this: ☆, it’s not necessarily the right thing. I mean, even Adam Duritz from Counting Crows would characterize this guy as a scummy weirdo whose attention from beautiful women is completely inexplicable. This is the kind of guy who would tell you you have bad energy while stealing the MDMA from your tent. This guy probably has an offensively-appropriated Native American statue in his backyard that he tells all his opinions about Monsanto to.

JASON

First of all Nate—I stole that MDMA from your tent and I’d steal it again. Second of all if you don’t tell your opinions to a cigar store Indian statue then how will one ever come to life and solve your problems for you?

You gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you kiss a prince, and you gotta complain to a lot of statues of Indians before you say the right combination of words that unlocks my ancestors’ access to this earthly plane of existence from beyond the grave. Oh yeah—that’s right, Nate: I have 1/16th Cherokee blood. I’m practically Iron Eyes Cody.

And you’ll want to iron YOUR eyes after you watch this Simply Red music video. To keep them smooth, crisp, and ready to watch the stars for any sign that Simply Red lead singer Mick Hucknall will fall straight into your arms at any time. Are your arms even strong enough to catch him, Nate? Have you been lifting mannequins shaped with approximately the same shape and weight as Mick Hucknall? Have you been dropping these Mick Hucknall mannequins (micknnequins I call them) from higher and higher locations in order to simulate his final drop from space straight into your arms??

NATE

My original idea was to start small and build my way up: I’d clone a five-pound Hucknall (my max bench weight), then set it off into the wild– its natural habitat, the playa, of course, where it could subsist off of Soylent and conversations about thinkfluencing. The next day I would clone a six-pound Hucknall and lift that, and so on. What I didn’t count on was that my cloning machine would shit out an infant Hucknall, rather than a fully-grown, yet tiny, one. Jason, if you could go back in time and kill baby Hucknall, stopping him from recording and filming the video for “Stars,” would you? Of course you wouldn’t dream of it, because you’re not a monster. I, on the other hand, have 1/16th monster blood and had to deliberate on the matter for some weeks. I ultimately decided the best course of action would be to raise the child in my image, so that it might use its inborn beautiful red hair, inexplicable magnetism to gargantuan mountain cuties, and mellow songwriting talent for the betterment of humanity.

I spent eighteen years inundating the clone child with NPR, James Baldwin, Mad Men, Philip Roth, the New Yorker, burberry coats, the Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol, Candy Darling, Edward Gorey, John Hodgman, cucumber sandwiches, Earl Grey tea, Oscar Wilde, Wes Anderson, Salinger, pate, brie, gin, midcentury modern furniture, existentialism, scooters, Katharine Hepburn, Nina Simone, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” ”Bartleby the Scrivener,” Truman Capote, Morrissey, Marlene Dietrich, Edith Piaf…

But alas, the child rebelled. On his eighteenth birthday, the Mick Hucknall clone said to me, “Father, you have fought tirelessly against my nature these past years, but you have only created a young man with severe anxiety, depression, sensitivity to sunlight, calcium deficiency, asthma, I cry at statues, and only middle-English descriptions of beheadings bring me delight. The other lads on my cricket team call me a ‘corny-ass, Raggedy Andy-lookin’-ass goofy.’ You can no longer deny me my true nature. I am, and always have been, Mick Hucknall, the mellow songwriter who also already exists and who once made a music video called ‘Stars,’ which featured an enormous and foxy woman destroying acres and acres of mountain wildlife with her smooth arms. I now intend to spend the rest of my life wandering the desert, seducing giants, and ultimately, to crash from the stars and into your arms.”

I regret to report to you, Jason, that he is barreling down towards the Earth at this moment, that the force of the impact will almost certainly wipe out all life as we know it, and that I have spent too much time and energy cultivating an East Village existentialist dadbod from rearing the Hucknall clone to build the arm strength necessary to catch him.

JASON

Hey Nate don’t worry about it! Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis and the rest of the Armageddon crew have re-assembled their team and they’re going up into space to destroy Mick Hucknall before he can crash into our Earth and cause an extinction level event! And I should know, Nate! I’m an expert on Mick Hucknall-related cataclysms.

Did you know that the dinosaurs were wiped out by the dinosaur equivalent of Mick Hucknall? Thousands of Mick Hucknalls throughout history have slammed into our planet, sending clouds of ash and easy listening into the air, blotting out the sun and wiping out all life for millennia!

But this time will be different, Nate—this time we’ve got the technology to stop him. I just need you to let Steven Tyler record a song about you falling in love with his daughter Liv Tyler! Nate, I don’t want to close my eyes. I don’t want to fall asleep. Because I’d miss you, baby and I don’t wanna miss a thing. Kind of weird that Steven Tyler is suggesting that an unblinking/unsleeping nightmare existence is the best way for Ben Affleck to bang his daughter but that’s for the boys at NASA to figure out.

So Nate, if they don’t succeed at their mission, and these really are our last days, how will you spend your final moments on this earth before being obliterated by a lovesick Mick Hucknall?!

NATE

Well Jason, with my last few minutes on Earth I’m sure I’d calmly and serenely and with a great deal of peace and acceptance in my heart make sure to gather my closest loved ones, say the things I never got to say to them but wished I had, spend some time relaxing and doing the things I loved the most, maybe finish any artistic projects that the minutiae of life had prevented me from dedicating myself to, read a little, do some reflective writing, meditate, learn to appreciate the music of Dinosaur Jr, get in shape, stop being so reliant on social media for news and entertainment when it always ends up filling me with despair, learn Spanish, run for office, bring the world to a state of racial harmony and equality that nobody’s ever seen before– just to say we did it, y’know, like in those last few moments, that we actually did achieve it at some point, and then I’d take credit for it all. Everyone just barbecuing, waving at each other, but mostly being grateful in their minds and hearts for me, the guy that brought them all together… I don’t wanna say savior exactly, some might say that, but that’s not for me to say.

Then with thirty seconds left on the clock, I’d want to come up with some kind of wise thing to say that would be the last thing anyone says in human history, just really summing it all up. I mean, what have we learned in these crazy million or so years (and who’s counting?) (At this point as I’m saying this I’m wearing a white tux and walking down a flight of stairs on a big stage addressing an audience of the most important people in the world, all dressed in their finest, all consuming the last remaining natural resources as efficiently as possible, maybe some of them are in orgy mode, others praying, others just… enjoying my company, really hearing out what their Lord and savior has to say, savoring it, relishing it, because I’m really just killing it and putting on a great show with my trademark wit and irreverent take on world events, at least that’s what they’ve been telling me, I wouldn’t dream of speaking for them).

Here’s what I think we’ve learned throughout the course of human civilization, I’d say: if you’re falling from the stars into somebody’s arms, make sure it’s a comely woman the size of a small nation and not a bunch of terrified, very important partygoers who might have liked the idea of humanity continuing to exist; that raising a child on French New Wave and pocket squares will only make them become more crunchy than you could possibly imagine; and that if you wish to romance Liv Tyler, as her charismatic Salacious Crumb of a father is strongly urging you to do through song, you must first enter a hallucinogenic hell-world of sleep deprivation.

Well, goodbye forever, life on Earth!

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If anyone asks, this show is about Minions, okay?