Although it doesn't have a single as strong as "Holding Back the Years" or "If You Don't Know Me by Now," Stars is Simply Red's best album since their debut. It's smoother and more polished than their previous work, yet Mick Hucknall is singing better than ever and his songwriting is improving. That is a good thing, too, since Stars is the first Simply Red album not to contain any cover songs. Having absorbed his pop, soul, and reggae influences, Hucknall is now successfully writing songs in his own style, something that, with the exception of "Holding Back the Years," he hadn't managed previously. The result, in Europe and especially the U.K., was a massive commercial breakthrough for the group. Stars even outsold Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band at home. In America, where the band had never established much audience continuity beyond its two number one hit singles, it was a different story, which, given the band's highly American-influenced sound, was a confirmation of the overall decline of English bands in the U.S. in the early '90s.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine