William Hung - Hung For The Holidays
Andy Warhol famously coined the term fifteen minutes of fame, as the story goes at least once in a person's life may we experience some level of celebrity whether it is merely a spot on the local news for saving a cat up a tree or being talented enough to make it to a national level for some recreational activity such as sporting or chess. People feel good about themselves for a little while, get a few pats on the back and a measured respect from close relatives along with the obligatory shouted round of drinks at the pub. Ultimately however, this small victory reveals itself as not making a lick of difference to the world and time goes on. The fuel of the memory of months long past burns out, and people forget.
Consider William Hung. For those who were living sheltered in a cave somewhere in the Andes in 2004, the diminutive asian took the world by storm performing an off key vocal rendition of Ricky Martin's hit song She Bangs
whilst auditioning for American Idol. His shortcomings in talent were soon ignored in favour of his stereotypical asian camp appeal and an exceptionally positive attitude which is a true inspiration to us all ("You can't sing, you can't dance, so what do you want me to say?", "Um, I already gave my best, and I have no regrets at all."
). People found this a genuinely amusing and heartfelt moment, and whilst he certainly did not make the cut for the next round Hung was plucked out of his obscurity studying civil engineering at the University of California to become a short lived worldwide cult figure with fansites springing up all over the internet and a run on the talk show circuit.
The inevitable happened and with a $25,000 record deal in his pocket, Hung recorded his first album Inspiration
, which was a collection of woeful pop standards such as I Believe I Can Fly
, Can You Feel The Love Tonight
and The Circle of Life
. It's far from appealing selling point of exploiting an asian man who can't sing lost critical appeal even before it was released but despite this it still managed to sell in excess of 195,000 copies. He has since appeared on TV shows such as Arrested Development and starred in movies and commercials, then after a while his flame burnt out and everybody moved on to the next flavour of the week. Despite this, Hung did release a second album the same year (and two more after that!), a christmas album entitled Hung For The Holidays
Short introduction Holiday's, Greetings & Wishes
features christmas bells and Hung thanking us for purchasing his album. He wishes us a merry christmas and happy new year, and whilst the sincerity in his voice sounds genuine the asian accent is thick and comes off as an obvious ploy for whatever cretins that recorded and produced this to try and milk it as much as possible. Short interlude Greetings: Holiday Reminder
does the same thing, Hung asking us to give back to the community and help others in need as does Greetings: Hopes & Dreams
where Hung wishes us a lot of success and that our dreams come true. It's all rather painful, but in comparison to the music itself it is a saving grace. The content is entirely christmas music standards of course, but how does one really describe christmas music? Well it has a cheap jazz vibe, with harpsichord, triangles, jingling bells and other miscellaneous "christmas" instruments filtered through a kind of "Muzak" elevator music production. Considering the genre you can't expect much musically, but when you introduce the variable of an asian man who has a flat, off-key voice singing Deck The Halls
, Silver Bells
& Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
you have an abysmal collection of music not worth picking apart individually. Hidden track, bonus Queen cover We Are The Champions
is the only non-christmas song on the album but it's goes a long way to showing it's not the genre that is at fault here.
Hung For The Holidays
is the sound of cashing in on a long lost novelty appeal. Christmas albums do not tend to be popular as a general rule, 3 CD's of disposable and flaky renditions of traditional standards for the all time low price of $5.99 advertised on the home shopping network towards the end of the year might appeal to old gran who wants to set a seasonal mood around the house but that is about it. William Hung tapping into this market is a poor idea indeed, in terms of ironic appreciation he has long past his popular appeal and though a few bucks might be made in the process it really isn't worth exploiting this man any further.