In Good Album Bad Album, Hank Hietala ’17 normally describes exactly what the title suggests. This week, he describes two bad albums, both by celebs. Eddie Murphy won’t know what hit him.
Bad Album: How Could It Be by Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy is an enigma. He was an immensely talented but controversial
comedian in the 80’s; he played Axel Foley in the classic crime comedy Beverly Hills
Cop; and then started making movies like Norbit. It turns out he also made a rubbish
How Could It Be is delightfully appalling. It is as predictable and pointless as
Eddie’s collaboration with Ben Stiller on Tower Heist. The album’s eight-track length
is a godsend. Any more of the comedian/actor’s disco crooning and I would
almost ask for 80’s fashion instead of 80’s music, and that’s saying something.
If you haven’t heard the album’s lead single “Party All The Time,” do yourself
a favor and check it out. The thumping synth is worse than Michael Bolton’s sleazilyseductive mullet. The music video showcases the lamest in-studio party ever seen inthe music industry, period.
“I, Me, Us, We” is the closest Eddie comes to funking things up, but still, thetitle sounds like a kindergarten pronoun lesson. It’s the only passable cut on here.The title track is a show-stopping ballad in the sense that you want the show to stop after hearing it. It features sappy strings and Phil Collins piano hits. “I Wish (I Could Tell You When)” is an absolutely feeble attempt at a groovy blues. But at least the songattempts something. “C-O-N Confused” is just laughable. I mean, he doesn’t evenspell out the whole word!
Eddie’s vocal delivery is curiously similar to his recent acting: it’s overdone. He sings like an untalented Michael Jackson crossed with an earnestly cheesy Lionel Richie. And his karaoke-night-in-Beverly-Hills vocals aren’t even the worst part: it’s his dreadful lyrics that take the cake. They are as fraught with clichés as a Michael Bay sequel. On the album opener, Eddie raises an extremely troubling, hard-hitting, deep existential question: “Do I, do I, do I, do I, love you?” It is possibly the most disappointing track Stevie Wonder has ever written. To summarize: How Could It Be packs the emotional weight of dandruff. It’s Eddie at his most hilarious—unintentionally, that is.
Bad Album: Bastard Life or Clarity by Russell Crowe and 30 Odd Feet of Grunts
Russell Crowe’s Bastard Life or Clarity is a courageous effort, because let’s be honest: It takes gladiator-like courage for a celebrity to release such an atrocity to the general public. This album showcases the whitewashed, wannabe rock & roll of the Academy Award Winner’s band, 30 Odd Feet of Grunts. It’s their fifth grunt-inducing effort. The group isn’t aging well.
The album begins with “Things Have Got To Change,” a lyrical clunker where Crowe sings, “Pointless conversation changing nothing, just wasting time.” It gets worse. “Memorial Day” is the story of Russell’s World War II-cinematographer grandfather. It’s a heinous tribute, rife with disastrous attempts at lyrical depth such as “yesterday was significant.” He even includes a self-indulgent spoken word outro. He should leave the words to the good folks in the writers’ room.
The music on Bastard Life or Clarity is overproduced, artificial nonsense. On “Somebody Else’s Princess,” Crowe’s Australian band rocks about as hard as a down comforter sliding down a snowy hill. “Wendy” is equally embarrassing, complete with a soul-sucking trumpet solo, sappy strings and Crowe’s signature disgusting vocal delivery. Basically, Crowe has two modes of singing: mumbling like a pretty boy version of Tom Waits, or going into full power ballad mode as he is on “Hold You.” The track sounds like a cheap Bon Jovi rip-off, with half-assed shouting and vain attempts at sounding manly. With the closing track, Crowe tries to tackle a traditional folk melody on “Judas Cart (Se Bheag, Si Mhor).” It could have been a decent track if it wasn’t preceded by so much nonsense.
The cover artwork for Bastard Life or Clarity features a baby with a hand over its head in disgust; it sums up the album quite nicely. Russell Crowe should stick with what he does best: throwing telephones at concierges.
By Hank Hietala ’17
If you’re interested in partnering with The Spark like Hank for a regular collaboration—or just submitting once—email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re open to anything, especially if it involves30-odd feet of grunts