Christmas in the Heart (2009)


 
1. Here Comes Santa Claus 2. Do You Hear What I Hear? 3. Winter Wonderland 4. Hark the Herald Angels Sing 5. I'll Be Home For Christmas 6. Little Drummer Boy 7. The Christmas Blues 8. O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles) 9. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas 10.Must Be Santa 11.Silver Bells 12.The First Noel 13.Christmas Island 14.The Christmas Song 15.O' Little Town of Bethlehem

 

Nothing that this man ever does - inside or outside the recording studio - should really come as a surprise to anyone. This one, however, probably had a lot of people scratching their heads both before and after listening to it. Then again, Billy Idol and REO Speedwagon also put out Christmas albums around the same time, so you really shouldn't be too baffled by anything these days.

Being that Dylan has evolved musically into a crusty old crooner, with his voice sometimes barely audible other than a whisper, this idea really isn't too crazy. He had proven time and time again over the past decade and a half that he could handle the styles of music that he was tackling, and some old traditional Christmas songs seem as though something that really could be right up his alley.

Dylan tackles all sorts - from the religious to the secular and from the popular to the unknown, there's a wide variety of tunes played here. The mixture isn't what is detrimental to the recording, though. Where this album falls a bit short is in the overall production. Had this been Dylan with sparse accompaniment, as he was known for as of late, this thing could have been much better received, as like the tune The Christmas Blues. Sadly, most of the other songs have too much bells and whistles, including syrupy background singers that would make you swear you were listening to a Lawrence Welk show, or watching a horribly dated Andy Williams Christmas Special from 1972. The mix of Dylan with this type of music just doesn't settle that well.

Still, most of the songs here are very familiar, and Dylan gives them his best, and with the over saturation of holiday music that seems to permeate the public every November and December, this one at least deserves some attention and some points for being somewhat different and unsuspecting.

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