Review Summary: The Plan 9 From Outer Space of records.
Steven Seagal. You know him: winner of countless Mixed Martial Arts belts for His fighting prowess and winner of countless Raspberry Awards for his acting lack thereof. But what you probably didn’t know is that Steven Seagal had a musical career. That’s right – apart from the “album” being reviewed here, there’s rumour of at least one other collection of musical farts by the King of Mumblers. Which is kind of bizarre, if you think about it – if the guy can’t even talk, how will he sing?
The answer is: atrociously badly. In fact,the whole album is exactly as bad as you imagined it to be. This goês way beyond “deluded celebrity vanity project” status – this is a downright atrocity, and should constitute legal cause for either suicide or a prosecution for torture. In fact, screw Metallica – this
is what American soldiers should have fed Iraqian prisoners to get them to talk!
Tasteless puns aside, though, this is pretty bad. It’s not campy, like Ah-nold’s or Hulk Hogan’s albums, nor is it “harmlessly dull” like Lillian Garcia’s debut. This is flat-out bad
. Bad beyond salvation. Seagal obviously fancies himself to be some sort of guitar hero, as the cover shows, but anyone expecting a slab of Vai-Satriani instrumental wankery will be sorely disappointed. There is some self-indulgent guitar, sure, but played so laughably badly that you can’t help but cringe. This would never hold up in a fully instrumental, guitar-driven album.
However, I actually wish
this album was fully instrumental. That way I wouldn’t have to listen to Seagal try to sing. His tone is flat and expressionless, and while he is obviously going for sentiment in many of these songs, his delivery is about as sincere as his movie dialogue. Here and there, this isn’t such a big problem – well-crafted songs like Don’t You Cry
actually manage to overcome these handicaps and be halfway decent. But then there’s the rest of the album.
Hoo boy, the rest of the album. How should I put this… The first few songs are just dull. The first five songs are just dull repetitions of the first one; bad, sure, but not offensive. But then along comes My God
, a homophobic, intolerant, downright racist diatribe thinly disguised as “spirituality”. Its centerpiece of “my God is better than your God, my God is bigger than yours” leaves no doubt as to what Seagal is trying to convey, and it is somewhat surprising that no-one made waves about this song. It’s the vilest thing in the album, and the one that really kicks in the atrociousness.
It’s like after My God
, the album stops pretending to give a damn. From track #7 onwards, the music suddenly suffers a 180 degree shift, and we go from a country album to a reggae/calypso one. And oh, dear Lord, the reggae/calypso songs! If before we had a white man (who wishes he was native american) trying to be black, now we have a white man (who wishes he was native american) trying to be black trying to be West Indian. Did your minds just implode, too?
The result of this cultural-identity crisis is a laughably awful, so-bad-it’s-good track called Lollipop
. This track seriously has to be heard to be believed. Seagal thankfully steps down and leaves the protagonism to some Shaggy wannabe, who is such a breath of fresh air that he actually lets us imagine that this album could be good in the hands of any other artist but Seagal. In latter tracks, he is also joined by his female counterpart, whose voice is pretty good, too.
However, as good as the guests are, the songs suck. You listen to them in slack-jawed disbelief, and the only thought you can muster is “well, at least Seagal isn’t trying to sing reggae”. And then, on Strut
, Seagal tries to sing reggae. And your heart caves in.
Seriously, apart from the camp factor, there isn’t a single redeeming factor in the latter half of this album. Ridiculous song follows ridiculous song, including a few brief (and rather dull) returns to country. And as dull as they may be, they’re welcome, because at least when he was doing country, Seagal sounded semi-comfortable. With reggae, he just comes across as awkward.
And did I mention the lyrics. Holy sh*t, the lyrics. Apart from the aforementioned My God
includes the following piece of high poetry: “you’re like a ghost/the more you eat, the more you’re hungry/ a hungrier ghost”. Sheer genius.
Besides, Seagal doesn’t even make sense in his messages. Jealousy
is the clichéd “oh, I’m a huge star, woe is me” rant, while My God
is…well, see above. Other songs come across as mysoginistic, while yet others try to show Seagal as a sensitive guy. Coherent much? Wikipedia states that “many of the songs reflect Seagal's esoteric Buddhist and spiritualist stance”. What!? The on ly “spiritual stance” I can find here is the one related to ogling and otherwise appreciating nubile females.
Oh, and did I mention that at one point Seagal states that "my reputation is not for sale"?! Uhhhh...yeah, Steve. Obviously not.
Anyway, enough talking about this piece of crap. I can’t believe little Asian boys were forced to slave away producing thousands of CD’s just so this sh*t could be burned onto them. I can just hear the producers: “hey, Steve, your popularity’s dwindling! You have to put out a CD, it’ll broaden our fanbase, it’ll be great!” Well, guess what – it isn’t. Not by a long shot. In fact, it’s anything but. This, my friends, is the Plan 9 From Outer Space
of records. Hey, it’s worse than Sid Sings
. And that’s saying a lot.
Remember that famed two-word review for Spinal Tap’s Shark Sandwich
? Well, I could do one like that for this album, too. Those two words would be EPIC FAIL. Very little is commendable on this album, but if you must, Don't You Cry
is probably the most bearable song in the album, while Lollipop
is the funniest and My God
is the most offensive.
But otherwise, keep away. Keep well away. You have been warned.
Don't You Cry