Friday, April 24, 2009

OSF: What Were You Thinking Making that Song

The theme for this week's Old School Friday is songs that should never have been made. I know everybody likes to branch out and I'm not hating on anyone for trying because sometimes the person has more talent in his or her pinkie than the rest of us have in our whole body like Jamie Foxx, for instance. He began in comedy, has proven he's also an exceptional dramatic actor with Ray and now The Soloist. Furthermore, we could see that he could sing "fo' real" even when he was acting a fool like he did in his song to Serena, "I Wanna Be Your Tennis Ball."

And I love when comedians spoof songs, as did Mo'Nique doing Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" at the BET Awards. O.K., she's not actually singing but dancing. Still it's a riot. Watch Here.

I also get that there's something called being able to sell a song, meaning you don't have to be a great singer but you do have to connect with the audience. And that's well and good. I'm all for folks going for the gusto, even folks auditioning badly for American Idol, but please, don't try to hoodwink me and break into a singing career mostly because you've got stardom, money, and a name.

I'm talking about Eddie Murphy, an exceptionally talented man who technically can sing and is a genius performer as we saw in Dream Girls, but you remember when Eddie seriously with all his heart wanted to become a triple threat? He was already in comedy and movies, but he wanted to be a singing star too.

Yeah, I've selected "Party All the Time" by Eddie. It's not the worst song in the world, but I don't think the song would have ever been made with Eddie Murphy if he hadn't been a big star in another field first. He's got musical skills, yes, but this was just out and out connections-will-get-you-there music.

I remember the interviews and hype about his singing. However, as he recorded more, he slowly drifted toward doing comic renditions like his Saturday Night Live alum The Blues Brothers and Joe Piscopo who did parodies, which was an indication that the general public was not accepting him as a music star. But I know some people liked it, and Rick James produced it, so there you have it.

Murphy is a big Michael Jackson fan, and I think you can see that here. Speaking of comedians who sing, does anyone remember Bill Cosby's Silver Throat album?

Next, this song is about a comedian just getting plain old ugly. It was done in 2007 so technically it is not old school as defined by OSF rules, but it uses an old melody, "Puff the Magic Dragon," which was a poem first, written by Lenny Lipton in 1959, and then recorded by Peter, Paul, & Mary in 1963.

In 2007, along comes this conservative's political satirist to rape the song and replace its words with "Barack the Magic Negro" lyrics. This political statement rendition was based on an article by David Ehrenstein at The LA Times; however, while the article "Obama the Magic Negro" talks about a literary theory applied to the real world and has some objectionable lines of thought, the song "Barack the Magic Negro" by satirist Paul Shanklin is racist garbage set up to be "cute."

Rush Limbaugh popularized it on his show, and then the song was given out as Christmas gifts from RNC chair candidate Chip Saltzman to his fellow Republicans. The singer is presented as Al Sharpton singing about his envy of Barack Obama and how he won't have any work if Obama is elected.

Sorry, but this was the first song that came to mind when I saw the theme for this week.

To avoid leaving everyone in a bummed-out mood, I'm closing with Milli Vanilli. You remember them. The producers put good looking guys, Rob and Fab, on the covers of their albums and in videos and on stage, but chubby, ordinary black guys were the actual people singing. The guys with locks that made hearts go pitter patter were lip synching.

There's nothing wrong with song itself, it's the fraud that was wrong. People realized the group was fake when their song "Girl You Know It's True" started to skip at a concert. I think somebody made that song skip. Oh, the irony of the fakery put on blast with a song about knowing the truth. ;-)

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msladydeborah said...


Interesting choices VP. I really think that we should of had a theme regarding hairstyles and colors that never should of been seen in public. Rick James could of been the flat out winner in that one!

I never like Eddie Murphy as a singer. Maybe if he found his own personal niche it would be better for him.

I thought that I wanted to hear Barack the Magic Negro-but after three bars it was a wrap. Ugh! We need to have a song with Rush as the major A-Hole. LOL!

Regina said...

I KNEW that someone would post Eddie's poor attempt at singing!!
I liked the Milli Vanilli song but it got way more press after the whole lip syncing thing!!

Marvalus said...

You know, when that Eddie Murphy song came out, it was stuck in my head for months and I walked around singing it all the doggone time!

I won't press play for fear it will happen again...

Oh, Milli Vanilli...::heavy sigh::

Hagar's Daughter said...

Oh Edward, Edward, Edward what were you thinking?

On a good day I'll still do a Milli Vanilli move - lol.

Anonymous said...

Yes! The Eddie Murphy song takes the cake. Definitely should have thought twice before embarking on that career attempt. And I have to confess that I actually had the Milli Vanilli song. (*hangs head in shame*)