Release Date: Oct 5, 2004
Record label: Shout! Factory
Genre(s): [There is no word to explain this genre.]
That's the approach of Has Been in a nutshell, but the album gets far stranger very quickly as Shatner begins a series of spoken song-poems, all but two written by him and revealing his introspective musings on love, life, work, fear, disappointment, regret, and everyday mundane things that get on his nerves. Even the two songs not written by him -- "That's Me Trying," Nick Hornby's tale of a neglectful father ham-fistedly reaching out to his adult child, and Brad Paisley's peak behind the personal ballad "Real" -- feel autobiographical, feeding into the sentiment that this record functions as a kind of last testament, Shatner getting everything off of his chest while he still has a chance to do so. That he's doing it while cracking jokes, or while Folds crafts the title track into a mock spaghetti Western theme, just makes the entire project all the more surreal and oddly affecting.
Complete the following sentence: "Ben Folds, Nick Hornby, Brad Paisley, Joe Jackson, Aimee Man ... " The chances of an average life-form guessing "William Shatner" are equal to the Starship Enterprise turning out to be made entirely of smoked salmon. But these are the crew members for the further musical voyages of Captain Kirk. Words cannot ...