This album is a fantastic treat, the true definition of a "hidden gem." I'm not entirely sure why I first purchased this album on its release. Maybe because I was so into Ben Folds at the time and this album is produced by Folds. I had heard William Shatner's previous attempts at "singing" so I was not expecting much besides something to laugh at and listen to every once in awhile. However, Has Been became an album that I have listened to regularly for the last decade. Folds did a wonderful job pulling great emotion from Shatner and focusing more on a spoken-word vibe for the album instead of trying to force Shatner into singing. The album's opener, "Common People," is a great curtain jerker and a more than decent cover of Pulp's classic, thanks to guest vocals from Joe Jackson. Other standouts include: "You'll Have Time," a gospel-infused tirade against the futility of life; "Has Been," the title track that cautions against counting a has-been out; and "Real," an equal parts tongue-in-cheek and sentimental look at distancing Shatner from the various roles he has originated. There is comedy, there is sadness, there is truth, and there is music. I've told anyone who'd listen for the last decade that this album would one day get the recognition it deserves, so it's worth at least one listen.
Feb 5, 2015