Russell Crowe and 30 Odd Foot of Grunts Different Ways of Speaking

The acting world’s dalliances in popular music have blessed us with so many abominations you wonder why studios don’t explicitly restrict the activity in their contracts. There was William Shatner’s foray into the often overlooked spoken word genre; Keanu Reeves strapping on a bass for the aptly named Dogstar and, most recently, Jared Leto and his androgynous gang of cosmic rockers, 30 Seconds to Mars. All have sucked. Bad. Welcome another misguided thespian to the fray, the man who took his role as Maximus in Gladiator so seriously that he co-opted the persona as his own: Russell Crowe. Backed by his band 30 Odd Foot of Grunts he shows his softer side on Different Ways of Speaking with a vocal approach somewhere between Blue Rodeo and Bon Jovi, which he uses to spit at least one embarrassing lyric per song, most nauseatingly evident on the electro dabbling of "Mission Beat” where Crowe sings, "Walking home weighed down, Lebo takeaway/Cheese is burning all around.” Cheese burns particularly rancid on the painful duet with Chrissie Hynde, "Never Be Alone Again” and on "Folsom Prison Blues,” the most inappropriate cover since his synergistic cohort Bill Shatner tackled "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” As Maximus asked in Gladiator, "Are you not entertained?” No Rusty, no we’re not. (Artemis)