This morning I had a sudden urge to listen to some Huey Lewis and the News. I know. It’s not a regular thing. It happens here and there.
The video for “If This is It”* is nuts. It starts off with an amazing bit of 1980s technology, the tape deck powered by D batteries. How enormous and preposterous do those things seem now? It then goes into utter weirdness. Apparently Huey’s ex-girlfriend is ignoring him. Huey, roaming the well-populated beaches of wherever(.…America? I guess California) sees her everywhere, dressed in a white swimsuit whilst busy being fondled by guys who spend a lot of their time in the gym, if you know what I mean.
*Fun fact: I had no idea there was an “if” in the title of that song.
Well, all I really mean is that they spend a lot of time in the gym. Those characters aren’t terribly well fleshed out.
The middle part of the video features a visit to a seance for some obscure reason, which promptly sees Huey panic and run away, to return to the beach once more looking lost and upset. We see really weird inserts of members of The News here, buried in sand up to their necks or…playing tennis while emerging from the sea in a sequence that looks like it was recorded the other way and played backwards. Okay.
Finally Huey confronts the ex, who it turns out isn’t being fondled by men in his imagination but is actually just sitting there on the beach holding court with muscle-bound dudes. Not sure where the little girl who answered the phone early in the video is. Who’s watching the kid? Is this some kind of reveal, that it wasn’t just in Huey’s mind? Or is this whole adventure on the beach a journey into his subconcious? Is this an excellent example of a music video from a time when nobody except for Queen and Peter Gabriel had any idea at all how to make music videos?
Anyway, Huey grabs the ex-girlfriend and rather worryingly holds her in place in a vaguely threatening manner while yelling at her in front of everyone at the beach. Turns out Huey Lewis is a weird, insecure and mildly frightening man. A blonde lady witnesses this, and later as Huey sits dejected on an empty beach, this lady wanders along from whatever she was doing off-camera, takes him by the hand and they walk off.
I love the 1980s logic that Huey has essentially upgraded by ending up with a blonde after the brunette broke his heart. This is kind of awesome, but mostly as a sociological point of interest. The whole video is a bit disturbing really, and reinforces all kinds of bad behaviour that many adolescent men unfortunately fall into but that many of us do grow out of. It’s entirely possible I’m reading way too much into a Huey Lewis and The News video on a Monday morning.