Do You Hear What I Hear

Bobby Dylan is the most unusual dude I have ever known. You can’t really ever understand him completely. He is so much like a kid in a way. But you don’t think that when you’re around him. You think, “That son of a bitch is doin’ numbers on everybody.”

—Kris Kristofferson

Once one’s eyes are opened to the thing, it becomes increasingly clear that the number of people, places, and things that are mucking with humans, teasing and tormenting them, yea, verily, that number is without limit.

First came the extraterrestrials who have foisted pseudo-humans upon Americans as if they were Real candidates for the presidency. Then there was whoever created an insect as big as a human hand. Now: Bob Dylan.

Dylan has always been something of a trickster. Most people figure this out eventually. But when in the autumn of 2009 he released the CD Christmas In The Heart, the thing was so cruel and unusual that nobody knew what to say. It was met mostly with stunned silence.

Only now, a couple years later, is the outrage starting to find its voice. Snatches from the work  are appearing this holiday season on various and sundry radio programs, with commentators asking WTF?

Take the song embedded below. The backing musicians are bad enough, but Dylan himself sounds like a tubercular wino in the midst of a phlegm seizure. The man has smoked about 87.5 billion cigarettes in his life, and you can hear every one of them in this song. He had to know how bad it sounded. But he released it anyway. Why?

When asked why he recorded a CD of Christmas songs in such a “straightforward” style, Dylan replied: “There wasn’t any other way to play it. These songs are part of my life, just like folk songs. You have to play them straight too.”

He is lying. He didn’t play this stuff “straight.” He is messing with our minds. Again.

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4 Responses to “Do You Hear What I Hear”


  1. 1 Miep December 30, 2013 at 12:02 am

    He’s starting to sound like Leonard Cohen. But not yet like Tom Waits.

    • 2 bluenred December 30, 2013 at 12:23 am

      Cohen and Waits, wish they could be him.

      Not in this lifetime.

      • 3 Miep December 30, 2013 at 12:41 am

        I was referring specifically to vocal qualities. I am a big fan of all of them.

        • 4 bluenred December 30, 2013 at 12:55 am

          The ghost of electricity/howls through the bones of her face” remains the gold standard. It fuckin’ beats Shakespeare. The problem of Cohen, is that his work most often attains its peak in covers. And Waits too often is a persona.

          But yeah. They’re all great.


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