Monday, October 26, 2009
Whether or not you like Bob Dylan could very much depend upon whether you've heard Blood on the Tracks, which is a masterpiece by absolutely any standard. On the other hand, if his Christmas album, Christmas in the Heart, is the only Bob Dylan album you've ever heard, you would have every right to rank him somewhere between Mrs. Miller and Tiny Tim in the pantheon of singing oddities. Here Comes Santa Claus, Winter Wonderland, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Little Town of Bethlehem, there will never, ever, be worse versions of these songs. Impossible. Christmas in the Heart bubbled up from some insane reverse Bizarro world American Idol where only those with the most disagreeable vocal cords are free to embarrass themselves.
There's no blood on these tracks, just phlegm, buckets of phlegm, tangled up in sputum, you need shelter from the expectorant, Heimlich me in the morning, the idiot cough, if you see him, say gesundheit, he's gonna make me grateful when he goes. The songs aren't uplifting, imbued with subtle texture, but Leonard Cohen times Tom Waits divided by Josh Groban. Dylan finally proves to the world that he can sing worse than ANYBODY, just try to sing worse than this, I dare you.
And all those people who think they can do a Dylan impersonation? Like Elvis impersonators, they've now got to decide between the early Dylan who couldn't sing or the older, degraded Dylan who REALLY can't sing. Good luck with it and don't hurt yourself.
Most importantly, this album is going to have a profound effect upon the war on terror. If al Qaeda wants statements from American soldiers they've captured in Afghanistan, all they have to do is play Dylan's Christmas album over and over and the troops will be begging to confess to the fact Dick Cheney was behind 9/11.