William Shatner – Shatner Claus: The Christmas Album
In the late 1960s, when the original Star Trek show was on television, William “Captain Kirk” Shatner
released an album of then-current songs earnestly delivered as dramatic monologues. It’s unclear if
Shatner was trying to be funny when he recorded these songs. Half a century later, when Shatner Claus
appeared, it is obvious everyone is in on the joke.
Shatner Claus contains well-worn holiday numbers expressed in Shatner’s now-signature, overly
expressive style. He recites the lyrics as poems for the most part, but whenever the arrangement calls
for a burst of melody beyond Shatner’s limited ability a superstar guest jumps in and carries the musical
load. Whether it’s Brad Paisley on “Blue Christmas” or Iggy Pop on “Silent Night” this formula works
One’s milage with Shatner Claus depends on the ability to enjoy this performance across the album’s 45
minutes. Shatner only steps away from the schtick for the very Trans-Siberian Orchestra “One for You,
One for Me,” making this a fairly one-note concept.
That said, Shatner Claus is enjoyable in small doses. The punk rock version of “Jingle Bells” at the end
with Shatner and Henry Rollins yelling the chorus is my favorite moment, but any of these tunes have
enough charm and novelty to enliven a holiday part for a bit. Or quickly clear out the room.-Joel Francis