If you live in the U.S., chances are you’ve seen the above commercial for the upcoming NHL All-Star Game — probably ten times an hour when watching your favorite team on TV. Visually, it’s a pretty cool commercial, with elite NHL players as celestial bodies in the sky, playing hockey among the stars. But if that tune playing in the ad has started to grow on you after hearing it for the 40th time, you’re probably asking, hey, what’s that generic-sounding alt-rock noise in the background?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
That song you hear in NBCSN’s All-Star Weekend commercial is called “Stars,” by the 1990s alt-rock band HUM. Like so many alternative bands that debuted after Nirvana, HUM was a one-hit wonder — and yes, “Stars” was their one hit.
From what I recall — me being a long-haired, flannel-wearing alterna-rat during the mid-to-late 1990s — “Stars” was played a lot on Chicago alt-rock radio station Q101 back in 1995. HUM is from Champaign, Illinois, which is about a 2 hour drive from Chicago, so that probably helped them get air time in the Windy City.
The music video for “Stars” was also in heavy rotation on MTV in ’95. Hell, even Beavis and Butt-Head made fun of the video, which, back in the 1990s, was a sign that a band had “made it.”
In all fairness, though, “Stars” is a pretty catchy tune. You can hear the 5-minute song on YouTube; the bridge kicks in at the 3:42 mark, which is that crunchy rhythm used at the end of the commercial.
What could this mean for HUM — a band that has not cut an album since 1998 or toured since 2000? Will this NHL commercial reignite their career, much like playing “Chelsea Dagger” at Blackhawks games did for The Fratellis? Will HUM update their website for the first time since 2013, or get an honest Wikipeida page that obviously wasn’t written by the drummer?
More importantly, what mid-1990s alt-rock song should the NHL resurrect next? My vote is for “Starseed” by Canadian group Our Lady Peace. It has “star” in the title, so the NHL wouldn’t have to think too hard about it. I could see the NHL using it to promote the 2016 All-Star Game. Hey, a 1990s kid can always dream. ■