William Shatner has released his third album, a concept album using many well-known songs unified by a `space' theme. No, it is not a great work of art. And, no, it will probably not garner the acclaim of his last album, 2004's remarkable Has Been. With that said, Seeking Major Tom is full of fun moments, Shatner-style.
Musically, Shatner surrounds himself with some true heavyweights. The selection of guitarists alone is impressive, including Zakk Wylde, Ritchie Blackmore, Johnny Winter, Wayne Kramer, and Dave Davies, to name a few. The playing is never less than solid; at times, it is inspired.
Through the proceedings, Shatner does what he does best: portray William Shatner. He talks, ruminates, and emotes his way through the tracks, and even takes a stab at singing on Black Sabbath's "Iron Man." When it works, it is quite fun. When it doesn't, it can be a head-scratching-and-shaking experience.
Ultimately, Seeking Major Tom is a fun listen; however, at its length of over ninety minutes, it could definitely have been shortened with no detrimental effect to the listening experience or the intended `concept.' The album becomes rather tedious after an hour.
What is good, though, is great. Highlights include "Space Cowboy," which lets Shatner show off his swagger, and a funky, hilarious run through "She Blinded Me with Science;" "Rocket Man," while not as dementedly inspired as his 1978 take on the song (see YouTube), is still quite welcome. And, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is a perfect vehicle for the over-the-top, histrionic force that is William Shatner.
Has Been was, mostly, the words of Shatner set to music; Seeking Major Tom is the work of others set to Shatner, and it doesn't work as well. Fans of Shatner, different takes on the familiar, a good laugh, or all three, will find much to like about this album.