Daily Song Study

William Shatner – That’s Me Trying

In songs on October 14, 2011 at 8:47 am

There are few things better than having a musical expectation surpassed. That happened to me in 2004, when I heard William Shatner’s second solo album, Has Been. His first album, released in the late ’60s, was legendary for its horribleness. It was so bad that he waited nearly 40 years to release another one. By all rights, the new record should have been the stinker of the century.

But, damn.

A good deal of the credit can of course be given to Ben Folds, who was Shatner’s chief collaborator. But the former starship captain didn’t just get up and phone in his lines. He was involved in every step, and his writing & delivery here are impeccable. As years go by, I grow more fond of this album, not just due to its quality, but because there really is nothing else like it anywhere, which is quite a feat.

This track is one of the better ones, bringing in Folds & Aimee Mann on the chorus vocals. The story is engaging, and the atmosphere is suitably somber, yet hopeful. And undeniably unique.

  1. OMG. This song just rocked my world. Sersiously. I listneded to this album back in 2004 and liked it a lot. Forgot about this song, haven’t listened to it in years and right now, understanding that i’m now a parent, it just blew my mind. BLEW.

  2. Honestly, this is my new favorite song. I listen to it several times a day.

  3. The thing is, it does a comical undercurrent. The dad really is a shmuck. but… you know… in his own buffoonish way he is trying. The mood makes it serious and mak the humor so nicely subtle… it’s bloody well brilliant.

  4. And of course the chorus. The importance of a good chorus cannot be overstated.

  5. Subtlely is the song’s key, yes. That gentle mixing of humor & sadness. Damned fine work.

  6. […] one of the best examples has been Ben Folds‘ unorthodox partnerships with non-musicians. We covered his work with William Shatner earlier, and recently he did an album with author Nick Hornby which is just as […]

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