Review: Brent Spiner’s Dreamland + Interview + Signed CD Giveaway | TrekMovie.com
jump to navigation

Review: Brent Spiner’s Dreamland + Interview + Signed CD Giveaway April 27, 2008

by John Tenuto , Filed under: Interview,Music,Review,TNG , trackback

Dream On Spiner Fans — Brent Spiner’s newest CD, Dreamland, was released on March 11th, to much deserved acclaimed. There are many words that could describe Dreamland, yet, like dreams, the most appropriate is pastiche. Trekmovie.com talks with Spiner about the CD and provides a look at this unique musical journey of the imagination.

A blend
Dreamland blends many entertainment styles together. It is sometimes a standards album, sometimes a film noir experience, sometimes a comedy, sometimes an audio drama. Amazingly, these styles blend together to create a fun listening experience and according to Spiner it is by design:

The styles blended naturally. I see it more as an audio film. We’re getting a lot of comments from younger people on MySpace who’ve heard it and they have no reference to radio. For them it’s like a movie they’re listening to.

The songs on the CD reflect Spiner’s eclectic appreciation of music. He has a fondness for standards and the songs of Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis, Roy Orbison, and Bobby Darin. Spiner’s idea for the album was to explore the theme of dreams. For this he needed help filling out the ‘characters’ and so he brought in accomplished cabaret singer Maude Maggart and Mark Hamill, best known as Luke Skywalker, but also a prolific voice actor. Spiner creates a story of a man who love of his life is symbolically the woman of his dreams. The story is told by Spiner and Maggart as the actors, with Mark Hamill playing an amazing array of various characters.

The stream of consciousness narrative, appropriate to the character’s dreams, and is helped by excellent sound engineering which enhances the ‘theater of the imagination’ by creating an array of sound effects which are almost their own character. The theater concept extends to the use of “scenes” in the place of "tracks" and even the artistic cover by Susan Manders which Spiner notes "evokes a romance of a certain age.”

But what about Spiner’s singing?
He’s good. Actually, he is very good, especially in duets with Maggart and on peppy songs such as “To Know You Is To Love You” which is Spiner’s favorite track, for good reason as Maggart provides all three vocals originally sung by the Nichols Sisters. Spiner, who was Broadway singer before (B4?) Data, has a strong voice suited to Dreamland’s collection of standards. Spiner is able to keep up with the very talented Maggart and CD also benefits greatly from the voice talent actor of Hamill.

The songs on the album are fun and moody, helping the story as any good musical play should. The best songs on the album are “To Know You Is To Love You” and “What’ll I Do” along with Maggart’s songs. Actually, every song on the album has much to admire, from arrangements by John McKinney to solid vocals by the singers.

If you enjoyed Spiner’s previous album Ol’ Yellow Eyes is Back, you will definitely have a good time with Dreamland which is a more mature and complex effort. And for fans of standards and radio/audio dramas, Dreamland will make a good addition to your collection.

Available straight from Brent
Dreamland is available exclusively from Brent’s website, TheRealBrentSpiner.com. The CD costs $19.99 (or you can get one with a personalized signature from Brent Spiner for $29.99). TheRealBrentSpiner.com also offers samples and downloadable songs.

Win a signed CD
Brent has provided a signed copy of Dreamland to be given away to a TrekMovie.com reader. To win you must answer the following question correctly. Name the movies, TV episodes, or albums where Brent Spiner sings the following 5 songs

  1. "Very Thought of You "

  2. "Bravo, Stromboli!"

  3. "Oye Como Va"

  4. "Till Then"

  5. "A British Tar"

UPDATE: Contest Over and winner selected. Thanks to those who entered.

 

VIDEOS

Behind the scenes making of Dreamland

Brent Talks to TrekMovie about Dreamland
In case you missed it, here is a video from the recent Grand Slam of Brent talking to TrekMovie.com’s Anthony Pascale about the CD (and wondering when I was going to get around to reviewing it).

More on Spiner and Dreamland at TheRealBrentSpiner.com.

 

Comments

1. Commodore Lurker - April 27, 2008

I really don’t want my fifth “first”, but Brent really is a pretty good sing as evidenced in “Nemisis”. I don’t know the damn answers, rats.

2. Deck Officer - April 27, 2008

Ooo! OOO! The last one is Insurrection!

3. Dr. Wh-at now?! - April 27, 2008

So freaking awesome! Go Anthony! Yeah!

4. TrekkyStar - April 27, 2008

Brent is FUNNY! He sounded like Picard!

5. Xai - April 27, 2008

I enjoyed Data in the series, but felt he was utilized badly in the TNG Movies. He was far too often the comic relief only and while Brent can do great comedy, the rest suffered.
I recall him making guest appearances on NBC’s “Night Court” … this guy is talented.

6. Brian - April 27, 2008

Wow! I actually know most of those!

7. Al - April 27, 2008

Sick of Mr Spiner and his singing myself. No offence meant, just a fact

8. Andy Patterson - April 27, 2008

While I don’t really know Spiner’s voice I admire his dedication to what Tony Bennett calls the “Great American Songbook”. At least a lot of those selections are. I do however have tremendous respect for Mark Hamill’s voice talents. His Joker alone is a five octave tour de force. And if what Kevin Conroy (voice of Batman) told me is true— that Hamill does Solomon Grundy without the help of any special effects, ….well that’s truly impressive. And hurts my throat just thinking about it.

9. SirMartman - April 27, 2008

will the second album have the all time hit,,,”Tiny Little Life Forms” ?

:o )

10. Katie G. - April 27, 2008

#9. SirMartman

Ooooh, I hope so. It’s my favourite!! (Doesn’t hurt that the rest of the Bridge crew are looking at him like he’s lost his mind.)

His voice was okay (in Nemesis) but I don’t know if I’d buy a whole CD of him. Guess if it was recorded in a studio it could be perfected.

And John, what do you mean by – –

“…The story is told by Spiner and Maggart as the actors, with Mark Hamill playing an amazing array of various characters.”

Is he pulling a ‘Shatner”? A narrative or story on his CD?

Holy Snikee!

kg

11. Shamrock - April 27, 2008

Dreamland is wonderful. I’m actually listening it right now.
I think it is the second most important work,after Data, that Spiner has done. And it is nothing like OYE (thank godness).

12. Deck Officer - April 27, 2008

Lol, Brent Spiner sings the hits.

13. Chad N. - April 27, 2008

Spiner is a riot.

I’ve only experienced his singing through the moments in Trek. The samples he has on therealbrentspiner.com sound cool. Consider my interested!

And the fact that Mark Hamill is voice acting on the album is awesome. (“Love that Joker!”)

14. Adam - April 27, 2008

Is he always so sarcastic and dismissive?

15. Teleportation Girl - April 28, 2008

ah, the broken dreams of la-la land. it is a story we know so well. i hope brent finds some sort of peace. He is funny and charming on stage, although one gets the definite sense he may be a tad bit bitter. sucks to be human, data.

16. Battletrek - April 28, 2008

he a good singster

17. Jean Prouvaire - April 28, 2008

I enjoyed Dreamland but, after only one listen so far, not as much as Old Yellow Eyes Is Back (which is definitely worth hunting down – romantic, fun and eminently relistenable).

In my opinion the songs in Dreamland work better than the script and dialogue, which I found just a tad undercooked. At times I didn’t want the songs to be interupted or cut short by the talking and sound effects. And the overall mood, while suitably dream-like, lacked much of the zing! of the first album. Much kudos though to Spiner and his collaborators for presenting something a bit more daring, a work that’s dramatically cohesive rather than just another album of standards. Special mention has to be made of Maude Maggart who both stands on her own and blends really well with Spiner’s voice.

Brent Spiner can also be heard on:

* the original Broadway cast recording (and video) of Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday In the Park With George (in a supporting role)
* the Broadway revival of 1776 (as the lead)
* the television soundtrack of Geppetto (in a supporting role)
* the concert recording of My Favourite Broadway: The Love Songs (as a featured performer)

I haven’t heard Geppetto or My Favourite Broadway, but the other two cast recordings are well worth getting if you like Spiner’s voice (as I do) or musical theatre (as I do). Sunday in the Park is a modern masterpiece (though not necessarily accessible on first listen) and, as John Adams in 1776, Spiner is vastly vocally superior to his predecessor.

And one day he simply HAS to record a full version of Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies”!

18. British Naval Dude - April 28, 2008

Much better than Worf’s take on Sinatra wit “Fight & Slay” and “It Was A Very Good Day to Die” and fur goodness sakes, vast improvement o’er Doc Sevrin’s and his Hip E Latenight Orchestra’s trumpeted “Yeah Brother” album… glad that Hannibal kilt that Adam bloke… yikes…

whar tha’ hell is Wesley’s album? gunna wait on dat one…

Good fur Spiner… a likable bloke he be…

arrrrrrr….

19. shat hands - April 28, 2008

I always wanted him to do the whole song in nemesis…….cut far too short for my liking.

I may well part with my hard earned latinum!

20. Ralph F - April 28, 2008

Agreed; would really love to hear Brent do a full-length recording of “Blue Skies”.

21. Hat Rick - April 28, 2008

If they ever make “Star Trek: The Musical,” I’ll know who I’ll want to be in it!

(When will they make it, anyway? ;-) )

Edit: I just Googled “Star Trek: The Musical,” and apparently someone’s already written it!

22. Spocko - April 28, 2008

I was watching “Dude where’s my car?” a few days ago and never realized before that Brent Spiner played the weird french guy who liked ostriches.

23. Hat Rick - April 28, 2008

Maybe that will finally motivate me to see that particular cinematic masterpiece! ;-)

24. Katie G. - April 28, 2008

In case anyone wants to know, here are the answers.

1. ‘The Very Thought of You’ — is from Brent’s CD ‘Ol’ Yellow Eyes is Back’ (1991).

2. ‘Bravo, Stromboli’ — is from the TV Movie ‘Geppetto’ (May 2000) with Spiner as the character ‘Stromboli’.

3. ‘Oye Como Va’ — is a song sung by Brent on the soundtrack from the movie ‘Out To Sea’ with Matthau and Lemmon.

4. ‘Til Then’ — is his duet with Linda Emond from the CD from ‘1776: The New Broadway Cast Recording’ (1997)

5. ‘A British Tar’ — is from the movie ST:Nemesis.

By the way, I didn’t win. [sniff]

kg

25. Shamrock - April 28, 2008

#24. A British Tar is not from Nemesis but from The Insurrection.
No wonder if you didn’t win.

26. Hat Rick - April 29, 2008

“A British Tar,” if I’m not mistaken, is from HMS Pinafore, by Gilbert and Sullivan. That operetta has particular meaning for me, since it was the play that our school put on during one of my middle-school years — many, many, many years ago.

It was a great play.

27. Katie G. - April 29, 2008

Just saw my post now. Number 5 is not ‘Nemesis’, it’s ‘Insurrection’. Crap. No wonder I didn’t win!! I KNEW it was from Insurrection. Damn. That’s what I get for staying up and doing stuff when I’m tired. Oh well.

Ooops. Just saw #25. Yeah, yeah, I’ll get over it. “INSURRECTION”.

#26. Hat Rick

Love the line where Picard asks Worf if he knows Gilbert and Sullivan and Worf replies that he hasn’t met all of the crew yet. Who’s on first…

kg

28. Hat Rick - April 29, 2008

Worf was never that big on musicals, the big lug.

;-)

29. Jean Prouvaire - April 30, 2008

^ And yet he recognised Irving Berlin.

30. Hat Rick - April 30, 2008

I guess still waters run deep. ;-)

31. CarolAnne - January 21, 2009

I think “Dreamland” is a very weird exercise in self-indulgence. What is it supposed to BE, anyway? A concept album? A radio show? A comedy? A musical? An audio film noir? I’ve heard it described as ALL those things. I’ve heard tracks from and the only feelings it evokes from me are bewilderment and boredom.

In answer to Adam’s question: “is he always so sarcastic and dismissive?”…yes, he is. And very touchy on the subject of “Dreamland”. He gets very defensive when talking about how great it was to make and how fantastic Mark Hamill is and how perfect Maude Maggart is, and on and on. Even the comments on YouTube get to him; he takes them seriously!

I think he should stick to acting. He really doesn’t have what it takes to make it as singer, although he does sing passably well.

32. NickAKlein - July 21, 2011

I disagree completely. Yes maybe he can be a little sarcastic at times, but he is very funny (like as the ostrich man in “Dude Wheres my car?”) and i do think he has what it takes to become a singer. He already is! I admire Brent Spiner and i also hopes that he records the rest of Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies. He is my role model and when i get older i would hope to be married to someone as brilliant and talented as Mr. Spiner. (I’m only 14) And i also realize that not many people will see this because i posted this about 2 years late :)

33. DakotaDee - July 25, 2011

You lie!!!! You don’t want to marry someone like him, you want to marry HIM! Your 48 years younger than him theres no chance! Go back to Wesley Crusher!! (:

34. NickAKlein - July 25, 2011

Dakota!!! I will not go back to liking Wil Wheaton!! He was a boy, but Brent was a man!! I don’t care if he’s 48 years older me we could make it work! :) Your just jealous!! (by the way do u wanna go to wonderland this week?? I’ll call you in a sec)

35. DakotaDee - July 25, 2011

I feel so bad for Will Wheaton!!! You were obsessed with him! Poor guy. lol And i’m not so sure if it’s possible for a man Brent Spiner’s age to hav SIX kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!
much less 1.
and yeah wonderland sounds fun!

36. NickAKlein - July 25, 2011

You lie!!!!! He is not that old! And he still looks pretty hot for 62! I saw him on superhero movie (which was kinda stupid but brent spiner made it ok to watch) and he’s still got it! And i still like Wil Wheaton I just like Brent better. (I mean he’s been an actor, director, singer, hes funny, and still hot! :)
And mabye we shouldn’t go to wonderland!!! Your mean! (just kidding i already got tickets) But I won’t like it!!

37. DakotaDee - July 25, 2011

WONDERLAND WILL BE A BLAST BECAUSE IM AWESOMER THAN BRENT SPINER, SPINER THE WINER!!! :D

38. NickAKlein - July 25, 2011

i think i spelled maybe wrong…….

39. NickAKlein - July 25, 2011

NO YOU ARE NOT!!! and by the way, you spelled whiner wrong………… :)

40. DakotaDee - July 25, 2011

Oh hush!:P

41. NickAKlein - July 25, 2011

These Would You Rather cards are disturbing!!
ok, ok, would you rather eat someone’s kids or someone eat you kids??
Would you rather kill a man with your bare hands or kill a bear with your man hands??
Would you rather have hands that strech all the way to the floor, or be seven feet tall? (your legs only take up two of the seven feet!) :)

42. DakotaDee - July 25, 2011

1.I would eatyour six kids with brent spiner then blame it on him.
2. kill a bear O.o
3. ohh jeez.. arms. :P

43. NickAKlein - July 25, 2011

YOU ARE EVIL!!!! I would never believe it becase he’s perfect and you are a freak who eats children!!!!

44. DakotaDee - July 25, 2011

Hey, your the one who asked. :P

45. NickAKlein - July 25, 2011

Yeah but your the one who replied!

46. DakotaDee - July 25, 2011

I didn’t want to be rude! Rudey!

47. NickAKlein - July 25, 2011

CANABOLISM!!!!

48. DakotaDee - July 25, 2011

hahahahaah.
Shut up.

49. NickAKlein - July 25, 2011

Dakota, what if Brent Spiner went on this page and saw this stuff?? That would be embarassing… He would probably think im a creeper or something! But i’m also pretty sure no one has gone on this page for like 2 years….. :)

50. DakotaDee - July 25, 2011

lol, i know right, he’d HATE me lol.
Creeper.

51. NickAKlein - July 25, 2011

He’s soo cool though… :)

TrekMovie.com is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.