William Shatner is a genius. Decades after being the dreamy, overacting captain of the Starship Enterprise, William Shatner's second career of self deprication has finally hit its stride. Last year's winner of the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor (Boston Legal) and sometime gameshow host (Show Me the Money) and Priceline.com pitchman has teamed with the likeliest of bedfellows for Has Been one of the most interesting albums of the year. Though the album was finished in 2001, he is just now beginning to promote it.
Rocker Ben Folds, who teamed with Shatner once before for "In Love", a track for Fold's first solo album 2001's Fear of Pop, co-wrote all the original tracks with Shatner and produced the LP which features appearances by Aimee Mann, Joe Jackson, and Henry Rollins among others.
While it is difficult to take this album seriously at first, the straightforward pop style is meticulously crafted, clever, and most of all enjoyable. Far from the novelty album one might expect, Has Been is emotionally and lyrically complex. From a cover of Pulp's "Common People", a lament for a wasted chance as fatherhood, to Shatner's Western themed address to his often vocal critics, it is clear that everyone on this album made it because they wanted to not because there was a political message, existential crisis, or pitch for a Peace Prize nomination. Has Been is the most pleasant musical surprise in a long time. - Highly Recommended
Listen - Common People
Listen - That's Me Tryin' (Feat. Ben Folds & Aimee Mann)