Harry says, 'Shatner... while being a God, is anything but a HAS BEEN!!!'
Published at: Feb. 22, 2006, 4:21 a.m. CST by staff
Hey folks, Harry here... I don't do this often. Fuck, I never do this. I'm pretty damn sure I've never written up a "pop" album in the history of Ain't It Cool News. I've written up a couple of soundtracks... scores to STAR WARS movies, LORD OF THE RINGS films... but frankly not many others. Why? Well, frankly - there's a finite number of hours in my day that I can dedicate to writing and covering things. And that time is shrinking because frankly at 34, a certain amount of my priorities have shifted. This doesn't mean I don't love AICN, I do... desperately. But at this juncture in my life I've learned a degree or two about delegating responsibility, administrating and pursuing endeavors that I always felt I'd have time enough for later in life.
Most of you probably don't read my MySpace page because frankly you don't care about my "real world" life, and that's fine by me. Well... about 4 weeks ago, a dear old friend of mine, one that invaded my bedroom at Sundance back in 1998, to make sure I saw an amazing film that morning... well we were talking and he mentioned how I had to hear William Shatner's HAS BEEN... that apparently it was an awe-inspiring album from the Shat...ner... I made fun of him. I made ALOT of fun of him. You see, I have Shatner's ROCKETMAN burned into my memory - right alongside his tear-inducing version of "ROW ROW ROW YOUR BOAT" from Star Trek V. Yeah... I had all that I've ever needed of Bill Shatner's musical ambitions. They belong right there beside Nimoy's Bilbo Baggins song. On the oddity and freakshow world that surrounds the cult of personality produced albums that just suck.
Then... about a week ago, my girlfriend, an aspiring music manager... happened to say that the best produced Album she's heard in forever was William Shatner's HAS BEEN. Now... my previous friend that brought this album up to me was given his copy for Christmas from Alan Skinner of CREATURE FEATURES... who apparently bought 20 copies to give to everybody that he knew. My friend gave his copy, after listening a 100 times to TIM CURRY. That's kinda awesome. But the thing is. He's a freakish loving geek. There's a chance that he allowed the awesome brilliant aura of Shatner to over-shadow any critical thought... but this... this was my girlfriend, and albeit... while certainly she's dating an insane geek... and I would say she's a geek, she's more of a music geek with a beginning serious affair with films. And her taste in music as I've had it introduced to me has been incredibly interesting. She's introduced me to Sufjan Stevens, The Magnetic Fields, Mates of State and Dear Nora along with quite a few others... I have to say, I'm growing to really look forward to listening to the next album she brings over. It's so nice to have someone want to introduce something that isn't being constantly pushed in my general direction all the time.
But this was WILLIAM SHATNER... How the fuck is this girlfriend introducing me to something SHATNER? I'm the geek. I'm supposed to introduce her to his sweaty pudgy chest as his shirt was ripped repeatedly and as he kissed alien women of a rainbow of colors and eyebrows and ear-shapes. Today was an interesting day... and as I'm finishing up my final draft on my latest PENTHOUSE piece... I decided to put on William Shatner's HAS BEEN.
OH.... MY.... GOD....
I feel like I'm about as late as humanly possible in recommending this to you, but hey... just wait till you get my DVD lists from January & February - then you'll know the meaning of late. But after the first 3 tracks - I rushed to AIM to notify the friend I made fun of for recommending Shatner's HAS BEEN. He then begged me to write it up. SO... Here I am.
I'm not a music critic... and a great many of you would call my ability to critic or recommend anything is suspect beyond words. BUT... ya know what? I don't fucking care. I know what I like, I know what I love... and this Album... well...
You know how when you put in a classic Isaac Hayes album, you put it in... it's like an injection of soul... Isaac Hayes is so cool sounding, that just hearing him emote the lyrics and the phrases on his songs... you feel you're becoming sexier, yummier, cooler and blacker. And all of that feels like the greatest thing in the world. Calling HAS BEEN the great albino Isaac Hayes album isn't an insult. This album has soul dripping out of every track. Only... this isn't the soul of Isaac Hayes... Duke of New York, A#1. This is fucking SHATNER!!!!! William Shatner! This is HIS soul. His cool. His suave. His libido. And I know - it's kinda hard to draw comparisons... but Captain Kirk fucked every species in the universe. He wasn't limited to the variety here and now, but that fucker boldly went where no other man has gone before. Yes... I know, I'm confusing reality with fiction... or vice versa. He goes into that a bit on "REAL"
"I have saved the world in the movies... so naturally there are folks that think I must know what to do. Just because you've seen me on your TV doesn't mean I'm any more enlightened than you." then this twangy singer comes in to be the "singing" voice of Shatner to sing, "While there's a part of me in that guy you've seen, up there on that screen... I'm so much more. And I wish I knew, the things you'd think I'd do, I would change this world, for sure. But I eat and sleep and breathe and bleed and feel. Sorry to disappoint you, but I'm real." This isn't sung funny, or with irony. It's sung earnestly and real. It's also the only track that really refers to Shatner's on-screen persona.
The tracks run the gamut of sounds and styles. There's literally a bit of something for everyone here - and throughout it all, there's so much wit and humor - twisted and tangled into a wizened soulful swagger that pauses and all means it's the voice of that genius, SHATNER.
My two favorite tracks are YOU'LL HAVE TIME and HAS BEEN. That isn't to say there's a bad track, it's just that these two songs are just fucking breathtakingly awesomely written and produced and performed.
Admittedly - it'll make you want to wear a toupee, rip off your shirt and make love to your woman as only Shatner could. It actually creates that delusion. That conceit of being smarter, wizer, hipper, cooler, sexier and shatnererer...
I've often felt that as a geek... the key to living a sane and reasoned life is to carry the ultimate trifecta of well-functioning male unit in your skull was to assign your logic centers to Spock, your emotional centers to McCoy and your actions to Kirk. In an emergency, what would Kirk do. He'd consult logic and emotion, and then without a moment's hesitation he would act. But act from the direction and consultation of cold consideration and warm humanity. That's why he'd kick Picard's ass seven ways to sunday!
As for this album... I'm afraid it's deeply entrenced into heavy rotation here at Geek Headquarters. Now - rather than rushing out to fuck Shatner... Go to iTunes or go to Amazon via the link below on the CD cover. It's amazing.
P.S. -- Shit after continuing to listen.... I've found myself falling desperately in love with IT HASN'T HAPPENED YET... which is the most fucking emotional thing that Shatner has put me through in twenty years... Not since, "His was the most... human..." Shatner is an icon of rare power! Kudos Shatner! Kudos Ben Folds! And yes, I am now familiar with the fact this came out October 5th, 2004... but I've only just discovered it. And I figure more than a few of you might want to be similarly enlightened. Cuz... this is fucking cool!