Review Summary: Everyone's favorite wheezy troubadour gets a little X-mas spirit.
All the great icons in American popular culture have put their own stamp on the tacky yuletide classic that is the Christmas album. With the release of his 47th album, Christmas In the Heart
, Bob Dylan has now reached the same iconic stature as American luminaries such as Alvin and the Chipmunks, Larry the Cable Guy, and whoever the fuc
k wrote “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”. Well, he does manage to dispel the thought of this being a cash in as Bob Dylan will be donating his royalties from Christmas In the Heart
to the World Food Programme, Crisis UK and Feed America, and regardless of if the album is good or not, helping feed the needy is always a commendable act.
Sadly, the charitable aspect of Christmas in the Heart
is its only real positive. Christmas in the Heart
contains every negative aspect of holiday music, most notably the tepid choirs and the bland arrangements. Bar Dylan's asthmatic bullfrog croaks it has everything that you'd expect to find under it's faux-Currier and Ives album cover. The only times Christmas in the Heart
shows off any real personality is on his polka rendition of “Must Be Santa Claus” with its clamoring pace and gratuitous accordion showcase. The worst aspect of Christmas in the Heart
has to be Dylan himself. His seedy, bluesy wheezing brings to mind a lot of things, but the holidays just aren't one. Despite the fact that for the first time in a long while it actually sounds like Dylan is having some fun in the studio, that doesn't make up for him sounding like a drunken emphysemic septuagenarian caroler on his last breath.
For anyone thinking that Christmas in the Heart
would be a serious effort they are bound to be disappointed, but for those that want to hear everybody's favorite Jew awkwardly belt out a few Christmas classics for charity it's at least worth a listen. Sure it's not that good, but there are a million and one other holiday themed albums out there that are worse than Christmas in the Heart