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Ponder the Mystery (feat. Billy Sherwood)

October 8, 2013 | Format: MP3

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Product Details

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I am a huge fan of Shatner's Has Been, and I liked Seeking Major Tom a lot, too. So I was looking forward to this release with great anticipation. I am somewhat disappointed in the results.

I can't fault Mr. Shatner. His delivery is sure and compelling, and while after only a couple of listens I am not completely familiar with his lyrics, it is obvious that he put his heart and soul into this album.

The guest list for Ponder the Mystery is impressive, and they all turn in excellent performances. In fact, all the music is first rate.

I hate to do so, but I have to echo some of the sentiments about Billy Sherwood. He is a gifted musician, and he undoubtedly worked hard on this project, but his droning vocals get to be really hard to take. They are distracting and often irritating.

I liked the other Shatner albums so much I sprang for the pricy vinyl release of Ponder the Mystery, and I wish I hadn't. A download would have been good enough. I do love the orange and cobalt blue vinyl though.

I will continue to ponder this mystery, and perhaps my opinion will change.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What is there to say? The album is decent and as typically intrpospective as his previous full length album of original material, "Has Been." It just has one massive downflaw. Billy Sherwood's production doesn't work. Spoken word broken up with very bad vocals. I like Shatner's songs, but I wish there would be a stripped down version that ditched many of the elements of Sherwood's productions.
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Let's face it: the words "a new William Shatner album" don't generate breathless anticipation for many people, but I have to admit that this one is pretty good. I am a longtime fan of both Star Trek and progressive rock, and this confluence of both worlds was more than enough to pique my interest. The music is very good! Billy Sherwood writes and performs some of his most focused and melodic tunes to accompany Mr. Shatner's spoken word recitations of his own verses. And what verses! They are very personal and reflective, delivered with his warm, measured tones. There is candor, sadness, humor and wonder in equal measure. He unabashedly ruminates about mortality and the meaning of existence--surely topics that preoccupy him greatly at this stage in his life. Yet the melancholy gives way to joy and optimism by the time the album concludes. Mr. Shatner celebrates the fact that has seen a lot and done a lot. And he continues to work at a breakneck pace that would exhaust a man half his age. I only gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because there is an implied finality that does sadden me. William Shatner is an imperfect man who has led an imperfect though storied existence. Were this to be his final artistic statement (it won't be), it's one that would befit an iconic figure for my generation.
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By GTO on October 16, 2013
Format: Audio CD
One of the great under-rated poets of his time, Shatner paints a picture of a pensive man sitting on a beach in despair, one hour before Sunset and beyond as darkness sets in. What makes the album "Prog" is not necessarily 100% due to the inclusion of such YES alumni as Rick Wakeman, Tony Kaye and Billy Sherwood and a host of other Proggy-superstars - but in part due to the progressive, thought-provoking questions that his lyrics attempt to find answers to - a "Must listen" for the Monday morning Existentialists in us all!
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Not a bad album. Better than his last one, Seeking Major Tom, but a far cry from Has Been which was a fantastic album.
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I've been playing this CD in the car and the more I listen to it, the more I like it. William Shatner does a good job with this. The lyrics are worth listening to. I recommend this CD. Nice work, Captain Kirk!
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Format: Audio CD
Shatner is good. His lyrics and vocal stylings (such as they are) are as interesting as ever. But, goodness gracious, what horrible backing vocals. They are cringe-worthy.

Shatner is as good as he was on "Has Been." And the best you can say for this album is that the weak artistry behind him still allows tracks 2, 3, 7, and 8 to shine fairly well. But this is an iffy purchase, at best. If you haven't heard Shatner's "Has Been," start there first. That's a great album.
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I like William Shatner. I like rock `n' roll, but I don't think the two mix very well. 'Ponder the Mystery' is a collaboration between Shatner and Yes' Billy Sherwood that while it lists a whole host of featured players, has great production values, but the execution of Shatner's spoken word script and Sherwood's production yields a CD that just doesn't work.

'Ponder the Mystery' is a progressive rock CD that sounds for all the world like a lost Yes album with a story scripted by Shatner, about an older man walking along a beach, realizing his mortality and asking where his life went. Unfortunately Shatner's poetic and philosophic insights are puerile which any teenager would consider a pretty simple philosophy. This should be a warning for actors who want to write because they've read a lot scripts and picked up some poetic phrases here and there, and even though they may have a felicity for words, this is one of those things you shouldn't try at home folks, it's dangerous territory out here in the world of words.

Sherwood's playing, while very reminiscent of Yes at the groups best, has it's interesting moments but his background singing interjections become annoying very quickly, and while meant to highlight and punctuate Shatner's themes only detracts from them. 'Ponder' hosts a wide range of guest performers with varying and distinctive styles, from Edgar Winter, Robby Krieger, Edgar Froese, and even Vince Gill but those styles aren't put to good use, they're invisible in the fabric of the music and melt into the background.
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