I have long felt that in our youth-oriented society the contributions of older artists and performers have often been unfairly overlooked.
In the world of music, for example, Gordon Lightfoot was pigeonholed as “The guy who wrote that Edmund Fitzgerald song” and his albums post-1976 were often ignored despite some real songwriting gems.
Another singer-songwriter I have long defended has been Bob Dylan. Sure… his early work is great beyond any reasonable dispute. But his newer work is often terrific as well. I will defend his 1997 song “Not Dark Yet” as one of his finest performances ever.
Yeah, his voice is rougher, but let’s face it… Bob was never really known as a great vocalist. And I think in certain contexts the fact his larynx is so ravaged actually suits the songs well.
But Mr. Dylan’s latest endeavor is shockingly strange to say the least. Even for Bob.
It’s a Christmas album.
Fifteen tracks of neuron-melting insanity. You can stream it online. Listen… if you dare.
Dylan croaks dryly on Christmas songs produced with a slickness that would send even the Osmonds into insulin shock.
Is it an elaborate inside joke? A cynical money-making ploy? Some sort of subversive statement on the commercial aspects of the holiday season? Does some holiday album producer have blackmail-worthy material on Bob? Has Dylan simply gone senile? That this album even exists on this planet is totally inconceivable.
I guess if there’s a bright side to any of this, it’s that the proceeds from the album will be going to an anti-hunger organization.
On the other hand, though, perhaps some things are worse than starvation.