These days, it may be normal for an entertainer to make a transition into other creative endeavors, but that wasn't always the case. Before the days of the hybrid performer, most people stuck to the one thing that they did best and let their other interests remain a hobby rather than become a profession.
But over time, superstars have broken out of the box that they've been relegated to and explored their other artistic talents for the world to see. Eddie Murphy was one of the earliest performers to take this task head on and managed to execute the mission in admirable fashion when he gave his hilarious jokes a rest and opted instead to sing about love on his 1985 album, How Could It Be.
The album came at the perfect time in Murphy's career, as he was one of the hottest names in all of America and riding high off of the success of the box-office smash, Beverly Hills Cop, which the funny man starred in as his first lead acting role. With the world all but in the palm of his hand, Murphy decided to pursue a lifelong dream and record an album -- and not a comedic LP. He had released two comedy albums at that point, but this time he was in the studio to craft a full-blown R&B, pop-driven album.
Largely produced by Aquil Fudge and featuring contributions from heavyweights such as Stevie Wonder and Rick James, How Could It Be was panned by critics. The album was far from a dud, peaking at No. 26 on the Billboard 200 and spawning the hit single, "Party All the Time," which would make more than a little noise and become one of the biggest songs of that year.
Prior to doing standup professionally, Murphy was a member of a band called EMMK, which was inspired by his love for The Beatles' music. The actor-turned-singer has been quoted saying that even if he "was dead broke," he'd still have the music bug and continue to create songs. How Could It Be serves as a testament to his love affair with music and is a solid effort by any standard, let alone from a full-time comedian.
Today (July 20) marks 30 years since this forgotten album came along and we mark the occasion by sharing its five best tracks. Enjoy.
Known for coming up with hilarious jokes, Eddie Murphy tries his hand at songwriting with the pop selection "C-O-N Confused." Crooning lyrics that he penned, Murphy dances over the glitzy production addressing the confusion he has in addition to the rest of the world. "Don't be afraid, little girl / Because the entire world is so damn / Con, con, con, con, con, con, con," he sings. While Murphy's inexperience as a singer comes to light as he falters a bit vocally, the catchy melody and infectious beat are enough to carry this track over the top and make it bearable given the fact that the album is a vanity project in the first place.
"How Could It Be"Featuring Crystal Blake
Eddie Murphy flexes his feathery tenor on the LP's title track and turns in a credible effort detailing his lover's cheating ways. A straightforward ballad that speaks to the heart -- Rick James worked with him on this one -- he's joined by fellow singer Crystal Blake, who does an effective job as a collaborator and beefs up the song's quality with her vocal ability. The effort, featuring somber keys, drum kicks and snares, was a minor hit, but serves as a delightful ditty and one of the better efforts on the album.
How Could It Be kicks off with the opening selection, "Do I," an uptempo tune that is surprisingly impressive and captures the listener's ear on impact. That's likely because Stevie Wonder wrote the lyrics. Murphy lays it all out on the line for his woman, crooning affectionate declarations of his love for her over the festive soundbed. Featuring an addictive hook ("Do I, do I, do I love you"), strong songwriting and a jamming beat, "Do I" gets the album off to a great start and gets our nod of approval.
"Everything's Coming Up Roses"
"Everything seems to be coming up roses," belts Eddie Murphy on this funky tune. Written and produced by Stevie Wonder, he provides the part-time singer with the perfect ingredients to cook up an infectious jam. Murphy sure doesn't disappoint. Quality lines like, "There we were, two lonely souls / Searching life for that one to make us whole / I looked for her, you looked for him / Only finding there was something missing," are an indicator of this song's brilliance and will have you singing along verbatim in no time.
The ace in the hole on this album comes in the form of the club-ready ditty, "Party All the Time." Co-written by Rick James and Eddie Murphy, the song revolves around the latter's lover, who seems to have a hunger for the nightlife instead of his companionship. The track was released as the first single from How Could It Be and was an unlikely hit, climbing all the way to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, garnering a considerable amount of radio airplay. Rick James provided additional vocals and Murphy credits him with "doing everything" on this effort -- Murphy says he learned to produce music just from hanging out with James. "Party All the Time" may be seen as a novelty record to most, but serves as a guilty pleasure for a sizable contingent of music lovers and still gets burn today.
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