Remember when Pat Boone released his heavy-metal album "No More Mr. Nice Guy" in 1997? I figured it was a goof, having fun with his wholesome christian image by doing swingin' big-band versions of "'devil's music" classics. I still maintain that his version of "Paradise City" kicks butt over Guns'n'Roses' original.
But now I'm starting to think that that was really just the beginning of a bizarre career shift. What is one to make of this oddity I found on iTunes:
Pat Boone "Everybody Dies" - From '04, a hip-hop (!) single contemplating death's inevitability, whose artwork features Pat lying in a coffin! And I can't find a shred of info about it anywhere.
But his latest album really makes me wonder if he's gone off his rocker: "We Are Family" finds him singing - I swear, I'm not making this up - funk.
And soul. And disco. No, he doesn't have any hidden reserves of grooviness that he's letting out now. His voice has the same bland, white-bread sound it always had. At least his dreamy '50s and '60s hit ballads like "Love Letters in the Sand" had a nice Bing Crosby-like crooner appeal to them. But even that voice, as inappropriate as it would be, is now largely gone. He croaks through each number like your grandpa at karaoke night. Dueting with original soul-men who still sound great makes for a startling contrast:
Pat Boone: "Can't Help Myself" - Yup, the Four Tops classic. He also mugs along the way Kool and the Gang, Earth Wind and Fire, Sam & Dave, KC & The Sunshine Band ("Do a little dance, make a little love"...yeah, very little), and even the Godfather himself ("Papa's Got A Brand New Bag") on what must have been one of his last recordings. What a way to go out.
And did you ever think you would hear Pat Boone singing Junior Walker: "Shotgun! Shoot 'em if they run, now." Pat Boone's gone gangsta!