Imagine it is 1985. Ronald Reagan is the president. Back to the Future dominates in movie theaters. Commodore Computers launches the Amiga personal computer. And comedy superstar Eddie Murphy—perhaps the most gifted comedian to ever get his start on Saturday Night Live—puts out How Could It Be, an album featuring the song “Party All the Time.” The music is characterized by one critic as “Gumby goes disco” but it makes it to no. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
But for Murphy‘s role as the lead singer, it’s kind of forgettable. Until it comes back 35 years later on the internet and a lot of people who weren’t even alive in 1985 decide it’s a real banger.
The first comment on the viral tweet of Murphy’s video for “Party” reads, “this song sounds like cocaine.”
The 1980s were characterized by blizzards of Colombian Marching Powder blasting the dance floors of the United States, and “Party All The Time,” written by Rick James, surely had some double meaning to it, but to listeners younger than 35 in 2020, it apparently felt more like discovering an awesome hidden secret about the voice of Donkey from Shrek—even though Murphy has proven in the years between ’85 and now that he’s a gifted actor, inspiring Academy Award buzz for performances such as his star turn in Dolemite Is My Name.
Tweets best illustrate how this song Murphy recorded when he was just 24 really hits younger listeners (and older listeners who forgot about it till their kids reminded them) today.
More, uh, “mature” social media users took the resurgence of “Party All The Time” as an opportunity to educate the young folks on the rest of Murphy’s body of work.
In a time when celebs are frequently destroyed on social media for extremely politically incorrect past work, some in the know are just waiting for Millennials and the 20-somethings in Generation Z to discover more of Murphy’s past work, like his comedy albums Delirious and Raw. Both albums are full of material that would get him completely “canceled” today.
As of September 25, 2020, however, “Party All the Time” is back on the charts—no. 75 on iTunes—and rising.