Friday, July 31, 2009

William Shatner - Has Been

6/10

This is a Very Special Album with many Very Special Guest Stars. It was produced by Ben Folds and features performances by Henry Rollins, Joe Jackson, Adrian Belew, Brad Paisley, and many others. Unfortunately, it's not nearly as funny as one might expect. Okay, Shatner's delivery is frequently great, but there's too much "serious" material, such as a short, musicless piece about Shatner finding his dead wife and wistful songs like "It Hasn't Happened Yet" and "That's Me Trying" that aren't unpleasant, but not especially interesting. There's also a terrible call-and-response gospel song that goes on forever ("You'll Have Time"). It's far from the most painfully unfunny thing recorded by a Star Trek alumnus (Nimoy's "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Earth is far, far worse) but it's right up there.
The best track here is "I Can't Get Behind That," a spoken-word duet where Shatner and Henry Rollins just rant about things they hate over an awesome drumline. If only more of the songs here managed to have that song's energy. Has Been isn't terrible and a hell of a lot more accessible than The Transformed Man, but it lacks that album's demented charm.

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