More than 35 years after the release of his debut solo album, William Shatner teams up with Ben Folds to create Has Been, a surprisingly pop-driven, lyrically potent collection of songs written by the duo. With the exception of 'Trying,' co-written by Folds and novelist Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About A Boy), 'Real' by Brad Paisley, and Pulp's 'Common People,' Shatner proves to be a witty and self-deprecating poet, while Folds' talent for crafting the perfect pop melody has never been more evident. Has Been will be released on October 5th by Shout! Factory.
After his rendition of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" on the infamous Golden Throats
album (though it first appeared on the Transformed Man
LP), one could argue that the world needed a new William Shatner album about as much as it needed a big-screen remake of TJ Hooker
. But Shatner's back all the same with an intriguing, introspective collection of mostly spoken-word tracks that are all the more compelling when it becomes clear that Has Been
is, in fact, no joke. Ben Folds
played on and produced the record, creating rich, melodic, and varied pop musical backgrounds to Shatner's world-weary, boozy-suave yet thoroughly impassioned delivery. Joe Jackson
, Aimee Mann
, Henry Rollins
, Brad Paisley
, and Adrian Belew
also stop by to lend their divergent talents. Highlights include the Rollins/Shatner rant "I Can't Get Behind That" and the Folds/Mann/Shatner collaboration "That's Me Trying", which tells the painful story of an attempted family reconciliation. Shatner mixes a healthy amount of self-awareness with a just a dollop of self-mockery and then combines it all with plenty of raw vulnerability to create an effect that is surprisingly touching, highly entertaining, and unlike any music you've ever heard. --John Moe
Amazon.com Exclusive Footage
William Shatner was recently caught on tape by paparazzi responding to reports that some people hadnt yet heard his new album. See him read Amazon.com customer reviews of Has Been as he makes his case: high bandwidth, low bandwidth.