I wasn’t sure where to put this (here or the Pit.) This song is oddly addictive (plus it seems to be played at least once a day when I’m listening to XM) but, let’s face it, it’s Shatner doing a spoken-word version of a Pulp song. The worst bit is that it sticks in your head and stays there. I know the album was discussed sometime in the past, but I don’t want to go digging up old threads. So, how is the rest of the album and should I spend my hard-earned money to support Shatner?
“Common People” is the most fun single of the year, and the album will surely get nominated for a much-deserved Best Spoken Word Grammy. The entire album is light-years from Shatner’s horrendous covers of songs like “Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds,” mainly because he has the amazing Ben Folds as the producer and arranger. Shatner’s lyrics show real depth and emotion, hopes and fears and doubts, and he does it all with a roguish wink and a nudge, like he finally is in on the joke, and he’s loving every minute of it. Collaborators like Folds, Joe Jackson (on “Common People”), Henry Rollins, Aimee Mann, and country singer Brad Paisley all shine on their various songs, but this is Shatner’s album, and they make him look even better than he already is.
I’m an opinionated music snob, but it bothers me when people diss this album without having heard it (or worse yet, after hearing and LIKING it). William Shatner is really a cool, well-meaning guy who is not without talent. Whether he’s playing the role of self-deprecating ham or lonely soul-searcher, he does it with charm and a sense of fun that’s missing from too much pop music out there. As he says on the title track where he addresses his critics, “‘Has been’ implies failure. Not so! ‘Has been’ is history. ‘Has been’ was. ‘Has been’ might again.”
You can always wonder over to Amazon and hear 30 second snippets. “Common People” is definitely the highlight.
God, I love, love, love the part where Joe Jackson swoops in with his magnificent pipes and drowns out Shatner.
Don’t blame me. I voted for Kodos.
If “Has Been” offends your music snob sensibilities, take heart from the fact that the uber-snobby Pitchfork Media gives the album 7.5/10! :eek:
William Shatner covers Pulp?! I like Pulp, I have to hear this.
Oh, I’m the one who said I am a music snob, but I loved the album, just in case there was any doubt. And while Pitchfork Media has introduced me to some interesting new bands, I find them way too snobby for even me.
It’s not just Shatner’s and Jackson’s lyrics, it is also that amazing guitar throughout the whole tune. John Painter (a long-time Folds collaborator and friend) does an incredible job on it. And I especially liked the gimmick of drafting about one hundred people who went to see Folds and Shatner perform in Nashville as the chorus.
I’ve never heard the original of “Common People,” but with I’m having a hard time thinking that it could be better than this cover.
I got the album last night. I originally bought it more or less as a laugh, one of my friends more or less dared me to get it.
I ordered it online (couldn’t find it locally) and it arrived yesterday. I listened to the whole album 3 times last night. I was amazed. It’s way better than I expected.
Common People is great, but there are other songs I really like too - Together and Real especially.
What started as a joke for me turned out to be my favorite album of the year so far. Amazing.
I actually prefer it to the original, which is an amazing song. But dang, it does stay in your head. My favourite part is Shatner faux whispering “Are you suuure, you wanna live like common people…”
I just bought the song from the iTunes store. Ah, instant gratification . . .
I just wanted to check back in and say that not only did I guy “Common People” from the iTunes store, I also got “Has Been” (the song) and “Real.” They are addictive. The sense of humor in “Has Been” is great, and I think it speaks to a lot of us. (The do-nothings making fun of those who have at least made an effort—yep, I know about that.)
“Common People” and “Real” also are continuing to go through my head. All these songs are really quite good, in a fun way.