If you thought William Hung’s 15 minutes of fame were painful, just wait until you hear his album.
William Hung gained notoriety by being one of the worst contestants ever on the hit television show American Idol. While the show’s judges hated him, America fell in love with Hung’s “Engrish” version of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs.” MP3 and video versions of Hung’s performance hit the web, websites went up, and William Hung replaced “The Star Wars Kid” as the official choice of nerds everywhere.
The culmination of this two month long joke comes in the form of Inspiration, Hung’s 15 track album by Koch Records.
Each song on the disc has Hung singing over the top of what appear to be MIDI versions of hit songs. At best, the musical tracks sound like bootleg flea market karaoke discs. It adds to the overall cheezy feel of the album.
The star here though is William Hung. Those who heard his performance of “She Bangs” on American Idol will be amazed to learn that it’s probably the best song on the disc. Two months of singing that song repeatedly at mall performances and frat house parties have done Hung some good. That’s not to say it’s good — it’s horrible beyond belief. But it’s the best song on the disc.
My favorite tracks of the disc were Hung’s renditions of the Eagles’ “Hotel California” and Elton John’s “Rocket Man”. Both songs sound like Hung heard them about twice before recording them. There are multiple weird word timing issues in both songs that make me think he may have heard the songs for the first time the same day he recorded them.
“Can You Feel The Love Tonight” and “Circle of Life” made me laugh as well. Hung has a desire to sing songs with big open notes that he can’t hit. Not that he can hit any of the notes, really, but the big loud open ones are more noticable I guess. When Hung opens up his voice and hits those big notes it makes you forget for a moment that he can’t speak English very well. One of my favorite tracks on the disc was “I Believe I Can Fly.” Why not? He believes he can sing already.
To try and trick listeners into thinking Hung has an ounce of talent, the producers have cranked the reverb up to 11 on most of Hung’s performances. On a few select tracks, they even had Hung double some of his vocals. Neither take lines up, so the end result is some of the tracks sound like there are two Chinese guys singing off tune instead of one.
Supporting the album title Inspiration, Hung offers some inspirational thoughts to his listeners in random tracks placed in between a few of the songs. On “Be Yourself,” Hung offers the following nugget: “It doesn’t matter if it’s children, adults, uh, maybe even seniors … All these people just like me and they like me for my real self. It’s great to be myself. And have people respect me for who I am. And I wish more people in the entertainment industry can be who they are. It makes life happier for everyone in the world.” Most of them are even goofier than that. Hung even does a piece on Perseverence. We’ll see if he’s singing that same tune a year from now.
One of the last tracks on the disc is “YMCA.” While listening to it I couldn’t help but think of the Chinese waiters in A Christmas Story — you remember, the guys who sang, “Deck da harrs wirf bowrs of horry, Fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra …” Except this version goes, “Irsh fun to stay at da, Y, ERM CIR AH!”
My biggest issue about the whole album is it seems like everyone is in on the joke but Hung. American Idol knew he sucked. People know he sucks. I’m sure the record label knows he sucks. No one else is laughing with Hung; they’re all laughing at him. And yet he goes on, singing his heart out and offering little bits of wisdom like some sort of Confuscious Idol. It’s a little hard to enjoy the joke when you feel like the target doesn’t “get it.”
I really wanted to end this review with something stating the fact that Hung’s 15 minutes of fame are finally over, but it appears I’ll have to wait. MTV is reporting that Hung’s album sales are soaring. Many record chains cannot keep the disc in stock, and it may end up being the highest selling debut album of the week and possibly of the year so far.
I’m starting to believe he can fly, too.