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How Could It Be

Eddie Murphy

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Album Review

In 1985, movie star and influential live comedian Eddie Murphy took a risk and released a serious, all-music effort. Despite his best intentions, How Could It Be is often marred by its lack of great material, and Murphy's voice is thin and often lacking control. Although Murphy's will is strong, at this point he didn't possess the chops. The best thing about How Could It Be is his distillation of influences and established artists who assumed production and writing duties. "C-O-N Confused" nicely updates the mid-'70s Al Green up-tempo Memphis sound. The poignant title ballad has Murphy mining genuine drama. "Party All the Time," written and produced by Rick James, has Murphy simply along for the ride, benefiting from one of James' best synth-based hooks. Some of the other songs aren't so successful. The well-meaning, vaguely Beatlesque pop of "My God Is Colorblind" and the jazzy and pensive "I Wish I Could Tell You When" essentially fail due to the vocals. Murphy brings out the heavy artillery to close the album out. Stevie Wonder, who produced and wrote "Do I," also gave Murphy a true gem, "Everything's Coming Up Roses." The track has Murphy sounding more polished, and would have been more than comfortable on Wonder's In Square Circle. How Could It Be does offer some solid tracks, but more often it displays a singer with potential and not much more.

Biography

Genre: Comedy

Like Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor before him, Eddie Murphy was the preeminent African-American comic of his era; in fact, Murphy was arguably the preeminent comic of the 1980s, period — at his peak, no other performer, regardless of race, was a bigger star or a more audacious talent. Combining Pryor's viciously acute observational gifts and love of obscenities with Cosby's undeniable mainstream appeal, Murphy quickly leaped from clubs to television to film —...
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How Could It Be, Eddie Murphy
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