When I first heard that William Shatner was releasing a new album with Ben Folds called Has Been, I laughed my ass off. I thought back to my college radio days, when Ben Fold’s awkward Fear Of Pop project was released, featuring a couple of Shatner tracks that were… well… interesting. After hearing his cover of Pulp’s “Common People,” I was under the impression that this album would be an amusing joke. Shatner quickly destroyed that theory with the second track, “It Hasn’t Happened Yet.” The cut is a spoken word piece accompanied by Folds’ arrangement, which is filled with very personal and sometimes painfully honest thoughts from Shatner’s life.
One of the most amazing moments on this album is “What Have You Done.” Shatner wrote this unaccompanied piece about the drowning accident of his wife Nerine. “My love was supposed to protect her. It didn’t.” By far the best track on the album is the Lemon Jelly collaboration “Together.” This is the perfect follow up to “What Have You Done,” as it was co-written by William and wife Elizabeth Shatner. In typical Lemon Jelly style, the electronica duo provides a lush and melodic backdrop to Willam and Elizabeth’s words. My hat goes off to William Shatner for giving us one of the biggest surprises of the year. Make sure to have Scotty beam you up a copy asap.