Review: William Shatner’s Seeking Major Tom

I’ve enjoyed many of the tracks on William Shatner’s Has Been for several years now (it was released in 2004) and felt I owed it to myself to give his new album, Seeking Major Tom, a listen. I wasn’t let down but I wasn’t overwhelmed either. The lineup is a bit inconsistent and the gimicks of reprising tracks at the end of other tracks and adding ground control & air traffic chatter to tracks gets old fast (it’s done several time here).

The album did not have the originality and appeal of Has Been which included such memorable tracks as Ideal Woman, I Can’t Get Behind That, Common People, Real, That’s Me Trying, You’ll Have Time and, of course, the title track Has Been. Seeking Major Tom is made up almost exclusively of cover tracks (the one exception being a track called Struggle) which, as noted above, are inconsistent.

The inconsistency is in tracks that seem to switch between really good Shatner (Peter Schilling’s early 1980’s hit Major Tom (Coming Home), David Bowie’s Space Oddity, Steve Miller’s Space Cowboy, Deep Purple’s Space Truckin’, Thomas Dolby’s She Blinded Me With Science), Shatner doing an impression of himself – in a bad way (a version of Queen’s Behemian Rhapsody that’s reminicent of his version of Rocket Man from the 1978 Science Fiction Film Awards), Shatner doing karaoke (U2’s In A Little While, a version of Elton John’s Rocket Man that didn’t need to be done, Pink Floyd’s Learning to Fly), Shatner almost singing (Black Sabbath’s Iron Man) and Shatner not even being on the track (K.I.A.’s Mrs. Major Tom sung very nicely by Sheryl Crow).

One of the tracks I liked but haven’t mentioned yet is Golden Earring’s Twilight Zone. Also, his version of Duran Duran’s Planet Earth seems to work.

All of the above would have worked fine for me on an album that was ten to twelve tracks long. But with 20 tracks the fun parts are diluted and the whole things comes off as Shatner trying too hard to be Shatner.

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