February 22, 2009


Music To Watch Space Girls By

I can't claim to be much of a Trek watcher, but for whatever reason, I've always had a particular admiration for the work of Leonard Nimoy: His two autobiographies (I Am Not Spock [1977] / I Am Spock [1995]), his wondrous turn in Information Society's Pure Energy, his recent jaunt into BBW photography. Which is all to say I was not surprised, my friends, to find myself in awe of this -- his 1967 opus, the secretly great Mr. Spock's Music From Outer Space.

True, it may appear like some shameless, assembly-line bit of Trek-schlock, but in time, I've come to think of it as A.O. Scott does The Wrestler: "It’s a bit phony, perhaps, but to refuse to embrace [the subject's] deep hokiness would be to cheat yourself of some of the profound pleasure it offers."

Yes: Nimoy – perhaps the only Jew on Earth gifted with a listenable baritone – really seems to've put his heart into this album, and that is what makes it so endlessly, inconceivably good. This thing has everything from the solemn spoken word to the lighthearted '60s romp, from mini-plays ("A Visit To A Sad Planet") to torch songs ("Lost In The Stars" -- co-written by Kurt Weill!), and even a bizarre closing track about a sea war ("Amphibious Assault"). Why Nimoy took this so seriously, and how he actually ended up succeeding, our simple human minds may never be able to fathom.

Oh, Music From Outer Space. If only we had more things like you down here on Earth.

Leonard Nimoy – Spock Thoughts [Mr. Spock's Music From Outer Space, 1967]
Leonard Nimoy – Highly Illogical [Mr. Spock's Music From Outer Space, 1967]

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