Tuesday Tunes:That's Me Trying

William Shatner: Kirk, TJ Hooker, Denny Crane. Like the Hoff he’s spent a lot of time lately sending himself up.

Also like the Hoff, Shatner’s made a couple of stabs at a musical career. His 2004 album Has Been gets most of its play for an astonishing cover of Pulp’s “Common People”, but the whole thing is pretty credible. (That’s probably helped by the impressive list of collaborators on the record: Ben Folds, Aimee Mann, Brad Paisley, others.)

Ben Folds co-wrote most of the record, and “That’s Me Trying” shows it. Shatner’s spoken word is a father’s letter trying to make contact with his estranged daughter, full of self-conscious missteps and sad pauses, and the gentle piano and softly-sung choruses (Folds and Mann) make this the strongest track on the album.

Has Been is a strange record. It flicks back and forth between humour and seriousness and sadness (“What Have You Done” is about how Shatner found his third wife drowned in their swimming pool) and never quite finds its tone. It’s probably not for everyone, but I like it.

“That’s Me Trying” [YouTube]

“That’s Me Trying” [Spotify]