As the weather grows colder, the nights longer, and holiday ads more frequent, you may already be tempted to begin getting into that “Christmas mood.”
Are you nuts? Don’t do it; it’s way too early. By the time everyone else is in full swing on Christmas Eve, you’ll be burnt out next to the punch bowl, bobbing for happiness in the egg nog. But if the desire is too much to resist right now, I have just the thing to break that festive fever: Bob Dylan’s new “Christmas in the Heart” album.
I’ll admit that sometimes I spend my money on frivolous items, but there is something about this album that called to my dorky collector side; something about owning a work so bad created by such an icon of music that gives it an air of adventure, like owning a relic.
“Ah, I see my Bob Dylan Christmas album has caught your eye,” I’ll say, pointing my pipe to the CD’s mount above my fireplace. “It is a special one, that; An aural excursion of spectacularly trying and disorienting magnitude. My ears traversed peaks of raspiness never before known to man, only to discover stretching, frozen wastelands of questionable rhythm changes and assaults on vowel sounds waiting just beyond. Were it not for the backup singers’ apparent deliberations to drown Dylan out at times, I fear my ears would never have survived the journey.”
Proceeds do go to charity, at least providing some small excuse for the purchase of a Christmas album from someone who has trouble singing the word “Christmas.” Once you find yourself surrounded by the cacophony of Dylan, however, you may wish there was a charity that had your own mercy in mind.
Dylan’s treatment of classic carols does seem to lend itself to their encompassing experiences in special ways. If you close your eyes while listening to him sing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” you can envision an angel named Harold harking all over the place to the melody. Some of the lyrics have been changed for one reason or another, one example being the choice of going with “the ox and lamb kept time” in “The Little Drummer Boy” instead of the original “the ox and ass kept time.” I assure you, however, that the ass still remains prevalent within the song.
So if you need to hold off your holiday joy for strategic reasons, “Christmas in the Heart” is just what the doctor ordered. And once the Christmas season truly does arrive, please feel free to blast the album at any holiday party. Just make sure everyone stays back a fair distance and wears protective eyewear in case of any flying shrapnel. If, however, you are seeking good treatments of Christmas music, there are many, many, many better choices.