William Shatner feat. Rick Wakeman – O Come, O Come Emmanuel

“We are BACK, it is DECEMBER, and so it is high time for the annual game of ‘Can We Get Tom Feeling Festive?’.”

Tom: Apologies for the delay in service here, folks, my laptop died and I had to wait for a repair.

Tim: We are BACK, it is DECEMBER, and so it is high time for the annual game of ‘Can We Get Tom Feeling Festive?’.

Tom: For our new reader: this is a game that Tim tries every year and which my Grinch-like self increasingly regrets, as a parade of cash-in Christmas albums goes past. THAT SAID: from the title alone, Tim, this is a strong start.

Tim: To kick us off, well. I don’t know how it’s taken William Shatner until now to release a Christmas album. I also don’t really know how well ‘Shatner Claus’ works as an album title, but there it is anyway. A load of tracks, mostly each featuring a slightly well known musician. This one in particular caught my eye simply because I couldn’t quite imagine what Mr Shatner’s voice could bring to this typically quite reserved hymn.

Tim: And you know what? It doesn’t sound too awful.

Tom: I mean, “doesn’t sound too awful” is a low bar to clear. And I say this as someone who genuinely, unironically enjoys Shatner’s cover of Common People. You’re going to need to elaborate on that.

Tim: The opening instrumentation sounds about right, with his voice working as an admittedly somewhat peculiar narration, and whoever the anonymous female vocalist is, she can clearly pull it off. Slightly let down by his speaking over the chorus, and him talking ominously about Satan and hell gives a vibe that’s more comedic than festive, but I can’t deny that Rick Wakeman’s keyboarding sounds very good, and by the end of it all I’m almost just impressed that it’s all holding together.

Tom: It does just about hold together! That is… not actually an endorsement though?

Tim: If you want to check out more of his festive work (and you really really should), have some recommendations: Little Drummer Boy was almost featured instead of this, because it’s a lot of fun.

Tom: I just listened to that as a comparison, and… no. No, that’s even worse.

Tim: There’s a weirdly almost ska version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer; the punk version of Jingle Bells is…worth checking out; and his rendition of Feliz Navidad is exactly as you would imagine it to be.

William Shatner – Bohemian Rhapsody

I think this is what it sounds like when a man has a breakdown.

Tom: After the trailblazing success of ‘Common People’, what could the legendary, er, “singer” come up with next?

Tom: I… I think this is what it sounds like when a man has a breakdown.

Tim: Oh my…

Tom: It’s off his new album – entirely space-themed covers – and, well, it’s more bonkers than his last one, that’s for sure. Last one had some half-decent tracks on it – and Common People, with its enthusiastic kids choir, was almost better than the original – whereas this, it seems, it back to the classic Shatner lunacy.

Tim: Yes. Um, it’s sort of… well, just… it… um… a bit… oh, never mind.

Tom: But what lunacy it is.