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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bold, inventive, and nothing short of brilliant, July 6 2006
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Transformed Man (Audio CD)
Let me just come right out and say it: I think William Shatner's The Transformed Man is brilliant - brilliant, I say. It's easy to make fun of this album, especially the first few times you hear Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds or Mr. Tambourine Man - hey, I once made fun of Shatner's unique interpretations of these classics myself. The fact that Shatner doesn't actually sing tends to throw one off. When I got the chance to listen to the entire album, though, I was increasingly stunned by the realization that this unique recording was absolutely blowing me away. I have written a number of humorous reviews of very bad items, so I feel compelled to say that this is not one of them. Call it a novelty album if you like, but I sincerely believe this is one of the most underappreciated works of musical genius ever recorded. Heaven help me, but I really and truly love this album.

The Transformed Man is not about Shatner trying to sing (he knows his dramatic reading style is not singing); this is a full-blown concept album of remarkable proportions. I happen to believe Shatner took this album very seriously back in 1968, and that this truly is about the music and not Shatner's ego or ersatz campiness. Shatner didn't just throw this album together; a lot of thought and work went into this. You'll notice that the first five tracks actually consist of two songs apiece. Each two-part track is meant to reflect upon a different aspect of the duality of man. Of course, you don't get this effect when some radio station cues up Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds or Mr. Tambourine Man for comedic purposes; those guys never play the first half of each track, so it's impossible for the listener to know what Shatner was actually trying to do with this album. That is the main reason this album is universally looked upon as comedic. As he has described it in at least one interview, Shatner thought that the lyrics of some modern-day songs were of literary merit, so in making this album he added a background of new, modern music to his readings of classic literary pieces, then juxtaposed this effect against his unique interpretations of modern songs with evocative lyrics delivered in a bold new fashion.

Shatner's passionate reading of Hamlet's mad, suicidal soliloquy is amazing, conveying the very depths of emotional trauma and confusion. Some find his overdramatization campy, but I tell you I was moved by the force imparted in Shatner's impassioned delivery. Shatner's "must give us pause" line is indescribably powerful; I'm adding this line to my personal catchphrase repertoire. The dramatic reading of Hamlet melds into It Was a Very Good Year; rising from the depths of Hamlet's emotional trauma, Shatner now imparts a sense of frivolity and wonderfully subtle humor in his delivery. This song's nostalgic reflection of the past serves as a clear counterpoint to a young Hamlet's visions of a bleak future.

Shatner recreates the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, and then Romeo's pure love that could not go unspoken is transformed, in How Insensitive, into the implacable silence borne of a love that died - here is a man now asking himself how he could have reacted so emotionlessly and coldly to his once-significant other at the end of that long-ago love affair. The sounds of a bitter, desolate wind close out the final moments of the song, reinforcing the effect conveyed by Shatner's delivery. One of the more impassioned tracks on the album is Theme From Cyrano/Mr. Tambourine Man. Cyrano is a marvel of self-confidence; he has no desire to prostrate himself before others or to do anything that is not motivated by true art. After the transition to Mr. Tambourine Man, we find a man prostrate with inaction, desperately chasing after Mr. Tambourine Man in hopes of going anywhere and doing anything at all. The famous and much-mocked final lines convey a sense of desperation so deep that it can no longer remain quiet.

Shatner's Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds cannot be explained or described - it must be heard. 99.99% of the world's population will think it's the most inane song ever recorded, as Shatner goes over the top and then some in his unforgettable delivery, but to me this is the centerpiece, the truly priceless masterpiece of this artistically significant album, a most forceful counterpart to Spleen's themes of dejection and darkness. It also provides a wonderful lead-in to the album's final track, The Transformed Man, in which Shatner rises above the dual nature of human life and, in a moment of spiritual enlightenment, imparts the beauty and power of a philosophical epiphany.

I honestly think The Transformed Man is uniquely bold and brilliant, but I don't want to mislead anyone. You would have to look long and hard to find anyone praising this album the way I have, for I am in the tiniest of minorities here. The odds are that you will find only unintentional comedy in this one-of-a-kind recording. Either way, though, you come out a winner: you will either get an unlimited number of laughs from the album or you will actually see something quite amazing, unprecedented, and downright moving in Shatner's uniquely brilliant, unforgettable blending of literature, modern music, and reflections on the duality of man.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bold, inventive, and nothing short of brilliant, June 1 2004
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Transformed Man (Audio CD)
Let me just come right out and say it: I think William Shatner's The Transformed Man is brilliant - brilliant, I say. It's easy to make fun of this album, especially the first few times you hear Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds or Mr. Tambourine Man - hey, I once made fun of Shatner's unique interpretations of these classics myself. The fact that Shatner doesn't actually sing tends to throw one off. When I got the chance to listen to the entire album, though, I was increasingly stunned by the realization that this unique recording was absolutely blowing me away. I have written a number of humorous reviews of very bad items, so I feel compelled to say that this is not one of them. Call it a novelty album if you like, but I sincerely believe this is one of the most underappreciated works of musical genius ever recorded. Heaven help me, but I really and truly love this album.
The Transformed Man is not about Shatner trying to sing (he knows his dramatic reading style is not singing); this is a full-blown concept album of remarkable proportions. I happen to believe Shatner took this album very seriously back in 1968, and that this truly is about the music and not Shatner's ego or ersatz campiness. Shatner didn't just throw this album together; a lot of thought and work went into this. You'll notice that the first five tracks actually consist of two songs apiece. Each two-part track is meant to reflect upon a different aspect of the duality of man. Of course, you don't get this effect when some radio station cues up Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds or Mr. Tambourine Man for comedic purposes; those guys never play the first half of each track, so it's impossible for the listener to know what Shatner was actually trying to do with this album. That is the main reason this album is universally looked upon as comedic. As he has described it in at least one interview, Shatner thought that the lyrics of some modern-day songs were of literary merit, so in making this album he added a background of new, modern music to his readings of classic literary pieces, then juxtaposed this effect against his unique interpretations of modern songs with evocative lyrics delivered in a bold new fashion.
Shatner's passionate reading of Hamlet's mad, suicidal soliloquy is amazing, conveying the very depths of emotional trauma and confusion. Some find his overdramatization campy, but I tell you I was moved by the force imparted in Shatner's impassioned delivery. Shatner's "must give us pause" line is indescribably powerful; I'm adding this line to my personal catchphrase repertoire. The dramatic reading of Hamlet melds into It Was a Very Good Year; rising from the depths of Hamlet's emotional trauma, Shatner now imparts a sense of frivolity and wonderfully subtle humor in his delivery. This song's nostalgic reflection of the past serves as a clear counterpoint to a young Hamlet's visions of a bleak future.
Shatner recreates the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, and then Romeo's pure love that could not go unspoken is transformed, in How Insensitive, into the implacable silence borne of a love that died - here is a man now asking himself how he could have reacted so emotionlessly and coldly to his once-significant other at the end of that long-ago love affair. The sounds of a bitter, desolate wind close out the final moments of the song, reinforcing the effect conveyed by Shatner's delivery. One of the more impassioned tracks on the album is Theme From Cyrano/Mr. Tambourine Man. Cyrano is a marvel of self-confidence; he has no desire to prostrate himself before others or to do anything that is not motivated by true art. After the transition to Mr. Tambourine Man, we find a man prostrate with inaction, desperately chasing after Mr. Tambourine Man in hopes of going anywhere and doing anything at all. The famous and much-mocked final lines convey a sense of desperation so deep that it can no longer remain quiet.
Shatner's Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds cannot be explained or described - it must be heard. 99.99% of the world's population will think it's the most inane song ever recorded, as Shatner goes over the top and then some in his unforgettable delivery, but to me this is the centerpiece, the truly priceless masterpiece of this artistically significant album, a most forceful counterpart to Spleen's themes of dejection and darkness. It also provides a wonderful lead-in to the album's final track, The Transformed Man, in which Shatner rises above the dual nature of human life and, in a moment of spiritual enlightenment, imparts the beauty and power of a philosophical epiphany.
I honestly think The Transformed Man is uniquely bold and brilliant, but I don't want to mislead anyone. You would have to look long and hard to find anyone praising this album the way I have, for I am in the tiniest of minorities here. The odds are that you will find only unintentional comedy in this one-of-a-kind recording. Either way, though, you come out a winner: you will either get an unlimited number of laughs from the album or you will actually see something quite amazing, unprecedented, and downright moving in Shatner's uniquely brilliant, unforgettable blending of literature, modern music, and reflections on the duality of man.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, Aug. 16 2014
This review is from: Transformed Man (Audio CD)
you don't me to tell you how awesome this CD is
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bill really puts the SHAT in Shatner, March 2 2004
By 
This review is from: Transformed Man (Audio CD)
Dreadful rubbish. Well worth 5 stars!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well, a campy five stars., Oct. 27 2003
This review is from: Transformed Man (Audio CD)
Once Shatner's Capt. Kirk character was described as 'a swaggering dictatorial braggart with delusions of godhood.' That pretty much describes the performances on this CD! If you love the 'Golden Throats' type of comedy albums that weren't originally intended to be funny as they obviously are now, this is probably as good as it gets. Speaking of things that are unintentionally hilarious, given the ridiculous prices some people think they can get for a used copy, this CD just SCREEMS to be reissued. Until then, if someone offers a used copy at a reasonable price, who knows, someone out here may actually buy it!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shatner hits one out of the park!, Oct. 20 2003
By 
Brian Beissel (Frackville, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Transformed Man (Audio CD)
I cannot believe how wonderful this album is. It will take civilization as we know it and improve it! AHA!
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Transformed Man
Transformed Man by William Shatner (Audio CD - 2004)
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