Friday, January 12, 2007

Nobody Outshats the Shat!

I have actually been planning to write about the genius of one of my favourite Canadians for some time now, but when Dale had the audacity to post a piece featuring Leonard Nimoy singing The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins, I knew I had to take action post-haste. (Actually it was pretty funny.)

William Shatner is a true rennaisence man. He has reinvented himself so successfully so many times over the decades and has marketed his personal brand so brilliantly that it makes Madonna look like a chump. Have you ever wikkied William Shatner? The list of his work just keeps scrolling and scrolling.

And when he put out the album, Has Been, in 2005, he slyly capitalized on his notoriety for butchering a song, and for leaving piles of chewed up scenery in his wake. But then a really strange thing happened. Has Been turned out to be a surprisingly decent album. Mind you, when you team up with people like Ben Folds and Henry Rollins, your chances of producing something non-horrible increase immeasurably.

My favourite cover song of all-time is on this album. To hear William Shatner's version of Pulp's CommonPeople [mp3] is to witness a spectacle in the truest sense of the word. Bill's scenery chewing gusto is modified somewhat by Ben's actual singing ability, but there are some wonderfully odd moments (as one would expect). Halfway through the song, there's a random British guy singing for a few lines, either that or Ben Folds is channeling Jarvis Cocker, but he does come back to his senses for the remainder of the song. And then, of course, the big choir kicks in for the big finish.

It sounds like it should be a big mess, and it is, but it is an absolutely GLORIOUS mess. It is brilliant in its insanity and it makes me smile every time I hear it.

And if you are an old hack specializing in butchering spoken word pieces, is it not a stroke of genius to team up with the Henry Rollins to produce a ripping spoken word rant? "I Can't Get Behind That" [mp3]

There's even a bit of pathos on mending estranged father-daughter relationships in That's Me Trying [mp3].

Today on the Friday Random Playlist, I thought in honour of his genius, I would let Captain James Tiberius Kirk pick the playlist, by begining with his cover of Common People and seeing to where he would boldly lead us (where no man has gone before):

The SHAT Friday Random Playlist

1. Common People - William Shatner and Ben Folds

2. Everything is Automatic - Matthew Good Band

3. London Calling - the Clash

4. Love Cats - OK Go cover

5. Young Offenders - the Constantines

6. How Soon is Now? - the Smiths

7. Paper Shoes - Hawksley Workman

8. Sub-Domestic - the Constantines

9. I Hurt You - the Pretenders

10. Melody Lee - the Damned


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Don't ask me to swear on this in court, but I believe the "random British guy" on Common People is actually Joe Jackson.

Leazwell said...

I adore Shatner! He just gets better with age.

Anonymous said...

The Shat is da Shit. He rocks the known universe.

And #3 - that must have been in honour of me, right??? :-)

Deb said...

Years ago my ex met him - a scene for a movie was being shot at his workplace. He said he was a real jerk and that shattered my image forever. :(

Allison said...
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Allison said...
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Allison said...

I was never able to get past the blue eyeshadow from Star Trek. However, I've never heard any of his albums, etc so I guess I can't really throw stones. He is brilliant on Boston Legal.

Hehe...'Love Cats'...whenever I hear/read that I think of 'Crabbuckit' and how I thought you meant there were actual cats on the track.

mellowlee said...

Oh man, this out to be good. I am going to listen to it later, cause Im going to nap for a bit hopefully. Gawd, I hope I can get online again later!

Anonymous said...

Genius Barbara and yes, it does sound like Joe Jackson. Hilarious and not nearly as frightening as I'd have thought.

I haven't heard the OK Go version of Love Cats so I'm after that next.

Cool post, audacious even!

Fearless said...

Hey Barbara, great post!! I love me some Shat! Okay, that just sounds wrong...

Anyhoo, the "random British guy" on the Shat version of Common People is indeed British songwriter Joe Jackson. Fact.

668 aka neighbour of the beast said...

i love his version of common people too!

your list is especially good this week.

when i saw joe jackson in concert, he was so freakin' funny. he totally slammed a bunch of people who turned up late. i almost cried, it was so good.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

And more adorable with age too, Leazwell. Look at that face! He's better than Santa.

London Calling is indeed for you, Karen! It's a special version of Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday, you gorgeous creature!
(and I like your new avatar!)

I have my fingers in my ears, Deb, and I'm going "lalalalalala I can't hear you!" I'm quite disappointed to hear that about the Shat, but I prefer to stick to my illusions on this one.

Oh yeah, the blue eyeshadow, that was hot. Allison, are you saying you have never been subjected to the Shat doing Mr Bojangles or Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds? Oh man, I'm going to have to find those, except I think I just broke itunes. (long story)
Love Cats would be even better with actual cats imo.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

If I were a napping person, I would say that a nap sounds pretty sweet right about now, Mel. Good luck getting computer time with a teenager back in the house! Best thing I ever did was getting this laptop or I would never get the computer. (I think you are going to love Common People)

It's actually not at all bad, is it Dale? It's certainly not in the same league as Mr Bojangles though.
I'll have to post the OK Go cover of Love Cats very soon (as soon as I fix itunes).

Aha! Thanks for the confirmation on the Joe Jackson question, Fearless. It's hard not to love some Shat, no matter what people say about you when you admit it.

Joe Jackson was one of the few cool Brit guys that got any play on our lameass radio (pre-internet days) so I always have a fondness for him, 668. Where did you see him perform?

668 aka neighbour of the beast said...

i saw him perform in vancouver, and a couple of people near front and centre turned up late. he stopped the show and said something to the effect of "these are the songs i've done already, if they are your favourites, then you should have turned up bloody well on time."

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Way to smack them, Joe! You must have loved that moment, 668.

Anonymous said...

Joe Jackson. Memories. I can totally see him ragging on people for coming in late. Way to go Joe!

Star Trek another show I have never seen. Sometimes I cannot believe the wide gaping holes in my pop culture!

phlegmfatale said...

Wow! I am SO getting this! I love the shit out of the shat! (that sounds like a verb usage problem, doesn't it?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Now that admission really does carry a wow factor, Toccata! You truly must be the only person in the known universe (and perhaps beyond). You should capitalize on that!

It sounds like a death match of verbs, Phlegmfatale! But it is hard not to love the shit out of the Shat - he's a pretty remarkable dude.

Anonymous said...

An old friend told me a story years ago that he'd heard from a fellow journalist of Shatner showing up in some bar in British Columbia sans hairpiece and girdle, drunk off his ass. He bellowed "I'm Captain James T. F*ckin' Kirk, and I'm thirsty as hell. Bartender, I'm buying the house a round!"

I don't know if it's true or not, but it's a pretty damned funny story.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That's a great story, Johnny Yen! I'd like to believe that's exactly what happened.

668 aka neighbour of the beast said...

it was indeed an awesome moment.

we all glared at them, and they were so embarassed and ashamed as they should have been.

it is my number one heckler moment. (i only have two.)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Glaring is about the most fun you can have for free, 668. I'd love to hear your other heckler moment as well!

tydes said...

That whole album is pure gold. Never doubt the Shat, he's got it together.

I could listen to that rant with him and Henry Rollins over and over and laugh every time.

justacoolcat said...

All that and he doesn't have annoying Rosie side kick.

Barbara said...

Thats pretty good Shat!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Rollins and Shatner make a pretty fine team, don't they, Jeff? A dinner party with them both in attendance would have possibilities.

No annoyances whatsoever, JustA! Just pure comic genius.

It is indeed, Barbara W!