Bobby D. Carols for Charity Like New Jersey’s Homeless Best

    Bob Dylan
    Christmas in the Heart
    2/10

    After 34 studio albums, countless live recordings and a never-ending tour, the legendary Bob Dylan treks into extremely charted territory with the unpredictable career move Christmas In the Heart — 15 gravelly renditions of traditional carols.

    Has Mr. Tambourine Man regressed into Santa’s Little Helper? Yes, in a way, as all royalties go straight to Feeding America, a hunger-relief charity. Dylan also partnered with Citibank to make the album available a week earlier to those enrolled in the bank’s reward program.

    This from the same Dylan who, over 40 years ago, sat alone on stage, guitar in hand, weaving incendery melodies of protest and contempt? The former voice of a generation has once again demonstrated his willingness to sell out, this time by singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Oh, the shame.

    The times may be a-changin’, but at least this gimmicky set showcases Dylan’s classic old croak, even if the raspy and hardened 68-year-old pipes at times seems to channel a drunken pedophile.

    Dylan covers all the traditional holiday hymns — from “Little Drummer Boy,” to “First Noel,” to any other tune that happens to include a manger or wise man. On “Must Be Santa,” a freakishly upbeat accordian proves Santa officially zonked on uppers, while Dylan’s voice fails to wheeze out the remainder of the tune. The unbearable cheese of the album’s backup choir harkens a pre-rock, pre-Dylan time period, rendering this mantelpiece nothing more than an old-timey novelty with none of Bob’s historic bite.

    Dylan now proudly joins the long list of artists — N’Sync, Christina Aguilera and the Beach Boys included — who have churned out their own versions of every beaten-to-death jolly jam on the pageant setlist. Screw being in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame or one of the century’s most influential people — Dylan is warming hearts this holiday season.

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