This is a bit of a narrative journey, but stay with me. It pays off IN SPADES! A couple days ago, I heard the song Africa while driving with my girlfriend. After I bored her with stories about the song’s greatness, I happenchanced upon this interview with the song’s writer. In that article, I watched music video, and I don’t mind telling you, it’s a masterpiece. So much goodness here:
0:01 – We fade in, spinning globe and a slow, percussive build. You know you’re in for something special. Wikipedia tells me that this video was directed by someone named Steve Barron (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!!), but don’t be confused, this is some Terrance Malick imagery shit right here. Hope you’re paying attention.
0:21 – You’re hero is an obvious lover of knowledge. And is that a kerchief fashionably slung around his neck like a blue-collar ascot? You’re in. To recap, this is going to be a mind-bending safari thrill ride, and this guy’s got the keys to the jalopy. We’re all in.
0:58 – Beautiful and bespectacled, our lady of the video aims a sultry gaze. At what, we can’t be certain. Is it the bearded peruser of books that’s captured her interest? Perhaps it’s dreams of the dark continent that is the song’s title? And maybe she’s just a lusty librarian—maybe a student, but her eyes betray more confidence than curiosity—feeling the emotions we feel as fans after getting our first look at Toto’s drummer, bell-shaker and pianist. She has to be a librarian, right? Turned on by that kind of musical acumen and range? Save the simple acoustic guitar on the quad for the students.
1:10 – An exhilarating drum bridge launches us into the chorus where, what in sweet 80’s heaven is going on? It appears that Toto is using the magic of film to shrink themselves down on some books about The Birthplace of Humanity. Hopefully this gets explained.
1:21 – Are these all the books you have about Africa!? I’m questing with a torn piece of parchment that I have somehow fantastically tracked back to this very library! Give me more books about Africa! I’m questing!
1:50 – A stranger lurks. Tension builds.
2:00 – “Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti” is some all-time lyrical genius.
2:20 – Not in a million years would I have imagined that mustache was the thing singing this chorus. Just, wow.
2:32 – Is there any way that guy could be more dressed like your goofy uncle? Or how about that underachieving cousin of yours in the background? Those are rockstars, people.
2:34 – Wristbands on a pianist. It’s practical. I get it. When Big Data finally brings advanced metrics to ivory tickling, you’ll see a correlation between wristbands worn and the lower numbers of keys missed. Also, that pianist wrote this song. Don’t judge an innovator.
2:39 – These can’t be ALL the books you have about Africa, can it? Anything more obviously titled? Maybe hiding under a mystically miniaturized rock band?
3:10 – Yahtzee!!! And then, well, I won’t lie to you guys, things move quickly and get a little confusing…
….A spear crashes into the wall…
…the sexy librarian drops her glasses and is never seen again, and you’d feel pretty lost about what it all means except that our hero shows us the exact emotion to feel about all this.
A thousand words in that thousand-yard stare right there. Fear and excitement, he thrills at the unfolding of events, and thanks to him, you feel all these things too.
3:32 – Ant then the book falls open. That’s it. The end of the rainbow. What’s it all mean? I’d like to think that our hero is putting together the very story of the legendary hunter who threw an opportune spear into an apparently arid and thus super-flammable library. But he wasn’t ready to reveal himself. Like the Africa of 1982 itself, there’s a romance to the unsolved mystery here. It’s best that way. Even when the promise of closure goes up in flames…
…Isn’t it best this way? You tell me, does this look like a guy who is unsatisfied with the way his adventure ended?
Not at all. He had his great African walkabout, and while he’ll bask in this deep, life-altering moment a little while longer, he needs to get back to the states to raise his 13-year-old son, Zach Galifianakis, who’s in talks right now about fleshing this out in a movie called Kingdom of Desire: The Toto Story.
“Hurry, boy. It’s waiting there for you.”
Crying out in the night,
Dusty “Wild Dog” Riedesel