Party All the Time
February 27th, 2013
Todd plays "Party All the Time" on his piano
EDDIE MURPHY- PARTY ALL THE TIME
A one-hit wonder retrospective
Todd: Ladies and gentlemen!
- Announcer: [shows footage his concert] Eddie Murphy!
Todd (VO): I don't know how many of you youngsters or whippersnappers remember the time when Eddie Murphy was the hottest, biggest celebrity on the planet.
Todd: I certainly don't. I'm only 28.
Todd (VO): But he was. He really, really was. First on Saturday Night Live, then as a stand-up, then with a succession of gigantic blockbuster movies, he was a big damn deal. Some say he was the first "rock star comedian." I mean, look at him with that badass Thriller red leather suit there. He was raw. He was delirious.
Todd: And he had a singing career.
- Video for "Party All the Time"
- Eddie Murphy: Girl, I can't understand it, why you want to hurt me.
Todd (VO): No, just being a "rock star comedian" wasn't enough for him, he wanted to be an actual rock star. And so we got "Party All the time", the chart-topping smash hit written and endorsed by music superstar Rick James.
- Eddie: My girl wants to party all the time, party all the time, party all the ti-ime
Todd (VO): Eddie Murphy became a success in yet another medium. But despite his mega smash hit, Eddie Murphy never became a credible musical artist. In fact, long after his jokes about AIDS-spreading homosexuals went way out of style, "Party All the Time" remains a hilarious punchline to this day.
Todd: But was Eddie's music really that bad? Or did it fail because the world simply refused to let a clown be serious? Well, let's take a look.
Before the hit
Todd: Well first, this happened.
- Various clips of Eddie Murphy in his stand-ups and movies, starting with Delirious.
- Eddie: How would you like to fuck me up the ass?!
- Laughing in Beverly Hills Cop
- From Saturday Night Live
- Buckwheat: O-tay!
- Eddie: Ha ha, very funny, motherfucker!
- ...48 Hours...
- Reggie: Roxanne!
- ...Trading Places...
- Billy Ray: Thank you for correcting my English which stinks.
- ...Saturday Night Live...
- Gumby: I'm Gumby, dammit!
- ...Beverly Hills Cop...
- Axel: Tell him that Ramon went to the clinic, and I think Victor should go check himself out with his physician before things start falling off on the man.
Todd: But you should know that already. We're here to talk about Eddie Murphy's music career.
Todd (VO): So by 1985, Eddie Murphy decided he wanted to be a singer too.
- Eddie: Being a comic, though, ain't like being no singer, 'cause singers get all the pussy.
Todd (VO): Well, that explains that.
Todd: Actually, "Party All the Time" was not Eddie Murphy's first single. His first single was off of one of his comedy albums, a parody of early rap called "Boogie in Your Butt".
- Eddie: Say, put some fleas in your butt
- Say, start to sneeze in your butt
- Say, put a tin can in your butt
- Put a little tiny man in your butt
- Say, put a light in your butt
- Say, make it bright in your butt
Todd (VO): I think I can say with...no hyperbole whatsoever that "Boogie in Your Butt" is the best thing ever recorded in the history of everything.
Todd: And then, at probably the very height of his fame, he recorded an album of music.
Todd (VO): Now keep in mind that when he released his first music album, he was probably the hottest comedian/actor/A-lister celebrity on the planet, and he was only 24 years old. He started on SNL at age 19. Eddie Murphy has had a number of embarrassing incidents in his life, and we're about to look at a bunch of 'em, but considering how young he was when he got big, I'm surprised he didn't have a lot more public humiliation in his biography.
Todd: Anyway, right when he was getting big, he started hanging out with a lot of music superstars like [pictures of Eddie with...] Stevie Wonder and Rick James, as many of you already remember from the PBS documentary series Chappelle's Show.
- Clip from Chappelle's Show
- Rick James: Cocaine's a hell of a drug [laughs]
Todd: And eventually he got the idea that he could use those connections to make his album.
- Picture of said album, How Could It Be
Todd (VO): In his own words, it turned out pretty bad.
Todd: How bad?
The big hit
- Opening for "Party All the Time", which Todd claps along to
- Eddie: Girl, I can't understand it, why you want to hurt me
Todd: I don't think I'm gonna break any hearts here when I say the obvious—"Party All the Time" sucks.
Todd (VO): Not even in a particularly funny way, either, it's just..lame
- Eddie: I buy you champagne and roses, put diamonds on your finger
- Rick: Diamonds on your finger
Todd (VO): Like, why? The-the man did great impressions of James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson. If I were to guess what Eddie Murphy would sound like, I'd have imagined he'd do a [clip of Eddie on SNL impersonating James Brown, singing "Hot Tub"] full-throat, soul-shouting funk music, you know? And yet the man he is choosing to emulate is apparently...
Todd: Lionel Richie?
- Clip of Lionel Richie - "All Night Long"
- Lionel: All night long
Todd (VO): Why would you wanna do that? Even in 1985, when Richie was one of the biggest stars in the universe, why would you want to do that?
Todd: Lionel Richie, by the way, is the person who kept "Party All the Time" off the #1 spot.
- Clip of Lionel Richie - "Say You, Say Me"
- Lionel: Say you, say me
Todd: That's the guy you're trying to be like. [shrugs]
- Eddie: My girl wants to party all the time, party all the time, party all the ti-ime
- My girl wants to party all the time, paaaaarty all the time
Todd (VO): For such a force of personality like Eddie Murphy, it's, it's a real letdown that "Party All the Time" just turned out to be another piece of boring, boilerplate pop music. And yet, unfortunately, it makes sense. Eddie Murphy wasn't some up-and-coming young artist looking to build his fanbase, he was an A-list superstar looking for a gigantic smash.
Todd: And he got it.
- Eddie: Girl, I've seen you in clubs, just hanging out and dancing
Todd (VO): That doesn't make "Party All the Time" any easier to listen to. Unfortunately, what was big in 1986 hasn't particularly aged well. It's-it's just so painfully un-Eddie Murphy. He was brash! Edgy! Told a lot of filthy jokes!
Todd: "Party All the Time" is about a cuckolded boyfriend upset that his girl is partying without him!
- Eddie: I wish you'd bring some of your love home to me
- But my girl wants to
Todd (VO): Eddie Murphy whining about partying too much? What the hell am I listening to? I can only imagine that Eddie Murphy was given this song because legendary superfreak Rick James didn't think he could pull off an anti-party song. But you know what? Eddie's not doing a great job of it himself. Eddie Murphy's voice sounds so weak.
- Eddie: Ooo-woooh
Todd (VO): And the video is...pretty bad, too.
- Background singers: Party all the ti-ime
Todd (VO): I mean, look at Rick James, completely focused like he's some kind of producer genius like "Yes...we are creating magic in this studio right here!" The crowd of random hangers-on dancing like "Yes...this is the jam! This is the shit, y'all!" Eddie Murphy is in...over his head. He does not know what he's doing
Todd: Eddie threw tons of money at this album, hoping to make it what he wanted. But, unfortunately, all he ended up with was this.
- Eddie: Paaarty all the tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime, yeah
The failed followup
- Video for Eddie Murphy - "How Could It Be"
Todd (VO): Eddie Murphy said publicly, yeah, he didn't like that album. He originally had plans to work with all the biggest names in 80's funk, James, Stevie Wonder, Prince. But except for a token appearance by Rick and a donated song from Stevie, they-they mostly stayed away. I-I'm one of the lucky few who have listened to the entirety of Eddie Murphy's first album and...yeah, it's bad. And mostly that album sucks because he did a lot of soft love songs and ballads which he says even he was embarrassed by and had no business being involved with.
- Eddie: How could it be
- That you don't love me
Todd: Uh...stop feeling, Eddie Murphy. I revoke your right to have feelings.
- Eddie: Someone told me they saw you, girl, with another man
Todd (VO): H-How does a man who did such great impressions have such a weak singing voice? He sounds like Weird Al! God, I will never complain about Auto-Tune again.
- Eddie: Please don't tell me there is no more, no mooooore (no more no more!)
Todd (VO): You know the scene in Dreamgirls where his character is forced to sing crappy love ballads until one day he snaps and turns it into a funky rap breakdown?
- Clip from Dreamgirls
- Jimmy "Thunder" Early: I can't do it no more. I can't sing no more sad songs.
Todd (VO): Th-that's-th-that's what I keep expecting to happen here. Also, it's-it's not really fair to hold the fact that he was a comedian first against him.
Todd: But I can't stop myself from doing it anyway. I see this and I always see Buckwheat.
- Eddie: I just can't seem to understand this sudden change
- Clip of Buckwheat fades in
- Buckwheat: Unce...tice..fee tines a mady...
- Clip fades out
- Eddie: That we shared before
Todd: I genuinely think I would rather listen to his cover of "Roxanne" than this.
- Clip of Eddie singing "Roxanne" really badly from 48 Hours
Did he ever do anything else?
Todd: Eddie Murphy was heartbreakingly enthusiastic about these albums, which makes their failure all the sadder.
- Album cover of So Happy
Todd (VO): Determined not to make the same mistakes, he got funkier on his second album So Happy, and actually scored a near...
Todd: ...hit with that song's first single, "Put Your Mouth On Me".
- Video of "Put Your Mouth On Me
- Eddie: I sit down closer, just flesh and eat now
- Your smile's electric, your lips look sweet enough to eat
- Oh baby, just put your mouth on me
Todd (VO): Yeah [singing] can you blow his whistle baby, whistle baby
Todd: Let him know?
- Eddie: Are you worthy of such a big reaction?
- Now Mr. Murphy you need some satisfaction and loving
Todd: This song is not all that dissimilar to "Boogie in Your Butt," when you get down to it.
- Eddie: Put your mouth put your mouth on me, ow!
- I'mma rest while you listen to the band
Todd (VO): Note that he has clearly traded in his Lionel Richie impression for a Prince impression, which, at the very least is an improvement. That second album's a surprisingly much sharper set of Bobby Brown-esque new-jack swing, and it benefits a lot from letting Eddie be Eddie. It's much better than his first album, not that it isn't still dated as all hell.
- Video plays the horns
Todd (VO): Those weren't real horns, that-that sound came from a synthesizer, I'm not stupid, Eddie.
- Eddie: Put your mouth on me
Todd: "Put Your Mouth on Me" made it as far as #27, which apparently was encouraging enough for Eddie to make a third album, Love's Alright in 1993.
- Video for "I Was A King"
Todd (VO): More than a decade into his career at this point, Eddie Murphy was clearly a different person than the kid who told jokes about Mr. T getting buggered up the butt, and so this album was a socially conscious, uplifting hippie soul record.
Todd: And it is by far the funniest thing Eddie Murphy has ever done in his entire life. The opening track is called [photo of the Love's Alright CD] "Yeah", and it's just...four minutes of Eddie and his friends going "yeah, yeah, yeah" as soulfully as they can
- Eddie: [sings "yeah"...repeatedly]
Todd: The first single was a reggae jam about African subjugation called [video for...] "I Was A King", because Eddie Murphy had apparently just watched Roots before this.
- Eddie: I waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas, I waaaaaaas a king
Todd (VO): And he also recruited dancehall star Shabba Ranks for extra credibility that he didn't get.
- Shabba Ranks: Wise up, wise up, my brother wise up
- Wise up, wise up, my sister wise up
- Eddie: Why do you hate I, why do you hate I
Todd: (VO): "Why do they hate I"? Okay, you're not Jamaican, Eddie. You're a fabulously successful American millionaire.
Todd: But the centerpiece of the album is...
Todd (VO): "Whatzupwitu", a complete and total ripoff of [picture of...] Prince's "Alphabet Street" that featured the goddamn King of Pop himself in his waning years of relevance
- Eddie: Man is nothing else
- Michael Jackson: Whatzup, whatzup, whatzupwitu?
- Whatzup, whatzupwitu?
- Eddie: Whatzupwitu?
Todd (VO): I was introduced to this video on an old MTV countdown listing the 25 lamest videos and...they weren't wrong.
- Michael: Whoaaaa! Let me hear the children sing!
Todd (VO): You expect the two of them to start groping each other at any moment. Although if they were to do anything that adult, it'd be a welcome break from anything else in the video. I've seen Lisa Frank posters less sugary and juvenile. The people who made the Care Bear movies would laugh at this. The rest of that decade turned out to be not very good for either of these two men, and it probably wouldn't be fair to blame it on this video, but-but seriously, look at it. Look at it!
Todd: The entire album is terrible, and it ends with a jaw-droppingly bad seven-minute cover of "Hey Joe".
- Picture of "Love's Alright" album cover
- Eddie: Hey Joe, where you going with that gun in your hand
Todd (VO): Jimi Hendrix is apparently one of the few artists he can't do a good impression of.
Todd: And that was the last of Eddie Murphy's singing career.
- Video for "Whatzupwitu"
- Michael: Tell me what is up! Whatzupwitu?
Did he deserve better?
Todd: I would say that he probably deserved a little worse.
- Eddie: Girl, I've seen you in clubs, just hanging out
Todd (VO): He didn't earn those hits. Eddie Murphy's vocals weren't strong enough on their own to merit a singing career. These are vanity projects, plain and simple, and like most vanity projects, they were pretty lame. Weird how "vanity" has become synonymous with "embarrassment". Not everything he recorded was terrible, but he never managed to make a case that he was a guy who wasn't trying to sound like other people, especially Prince, and especially on that last album which sounds like the really bad albums Prince made in the 90's. Eddie Murphy sounded like a guy doing impressions, no more and no less. The only time he sounded like himself was when he'd do that Eddie Murphy laugh at the end of some of his songs. He still finds a way to [clip of Shrek] sing in a lot of his movies. Every single one of them is better than "Party All the Time".
Murphy, of course, continued to be successful and make us laugh to this day, such as last year when he released a [poster for A Thousand Words] film that got a rare zero percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Todd: May you continue to party all the time, Eddie.
- Background singers: Party all the time
- Rick: Woo-hoo!
Closing tag song: Children of Bodom - "Party All the Time"
"Party All the Time" is owned by Columbia Records
This video is owned by me