Way back in the darker days of 1991 – when Star Trek was extremely popular and a year before Patrick Stewart was named the sexiest man on television by TV Guide – Brent Spiner (aka DATA) released an album of him crooning away at “old pop standards” that accompanied every dinner he ate between the ages of 5 and 13. Why, at the age of 13, Spiner stopped listening to tunes penned by Ira and George Gershwin, Rudy Vallee and Sammy Cahn, we may never know. Perhaps his father – “a hell of a mambo dancer” – and the key to his knowledge of these tunes, left for another, newer Operating Family. Or maybe his interests changed to the more avant-garde with Coltrane breaking on to the scene, or folk music with Bob Dylan’s arrival, perhaps to feel more natural and connected with the earth and his roots and to experience real life, becoming the change he wanted to see in the world: Androids that can make a difference.
Do androids dream of electric guitars?
If this record is any indication, me thinks not. You have a tepid washing of 12 songs, backed by an orchestra, of mawkishly sentimental renditions of askance standards with Spiner’s voice sounding more like a trumpet muted by donuts. And it’s a great listen, albeit really creepy at points. There are a few fantastic suprises, like the can-can “Carolina In the Morning” followed by Randy Newman’s “Marie.” (I’m pretty sure that’s the only “contemporary” songwriter to make the cut, and damn if he didn’t choose the right one.) Patrick “Sexy” Stewart, Jonathan ‘The Voice” Frakes, Michael “Imma Vegan” Dorn, and LeVar “Game Changer” Burton all show up on the track “It’s A Sin (To Tell A Lie)” as The Sunspots (pun!) with quips and background vocals, sounding as stoned and burly as you remember the early 90′s being.
Ol’ Yellow Eyes is back? Never left as far as I’m concerned.
Click the links twice to D/L or listen: