November 04, 1985 12:00 PM

Eddie Murphy

Murphy is on one monster of a roll. So this record, his first stab at straight singing, will probably win a Grammy even if it doesn’t deserve it strictly on musical terms. Those who have heard Murphy’s wickedly funny send-ups of James Brown, Elvis Presley and others won’t be surprised that he would present himself as a serious singer. But How Could It Be proves that a good mimic is not necessarily an original stylist. While Murphy doesn’t embarrass himself, he is at his best when he unconsciously (one hopes) apes Stevie Wonder or Michael Jackson. For such a witty observer, Murphy’s lyrics (he wrote or co-wrote four songs) are surprisingly simplistic: “Once upon a time an orange bus drove through the morning dew/ And in the bus were children of assorted hue/ Being shipped from the ghetto to a fine white school.” The slick setting provided by Wonder, Rick James, Greg Phillinganes and other musicians only illustrates how thin Murphy’s voice is. When James’ rich, deep tones chime in on Party All the Time, the comparison makes it clear that singing really isn’t the turf for Murph. (Columbia)

You May Like