Sunday, February 01, 2015

Shadows in the Night
Bob Dylan Sings Sinatra

What is this shit?
Bob Dylan's new album, Shadows in the Night, is being released on February 3rd. Good thing it wasn't a day earlier or we'd be asking what we have to pay to get out of going through all these things twice.
In fairness I will play it twice because I'm sure I slept through part of the first play.
Fortunately I wasn't in the car.
An album full of songs covered (to say 'made famous' would be hyperbole) by Frank Sinatra, arguably the greatest voice of our generation...or our parents'. Sung by a man who was the voice of our generation yet has never been confused with Caruso outside of an early breath-holding challenge they had back in the East Village.

Somewhere in the missing John Bucklen Tapes there's a snippet of Bob, after he'd finished denigrating Johnny Cash, telling John that if he ever became as big as Elvis he will blow everyone's mind by releasing an album of Sinatra covers. This is followed by two 15 years old kids ROFL.
What's good?
Bob's voice.
He doesn't stretch too far with an exception or two or three.
He croons instead of growling.
He keeps his voice low on the register.
It's relatively inoffensive and would be well suited to being background music at a wine and chesser.
The record is under 40 minutes long.
What's bad?
Pedal steel.
Almost all the arrangements.
Most of the songs.
He doesn't come close to challenging the listener.
Adjectives that apply: somnambulant, dirge, jeremiad, waltz, monody, hymn, boring, sleep-aids.
OK, just finished the second listen. The AARP crowd is going to love this. Bob's always been at least 10 years ahead of me. Maybe when I'm 70. What we have here is an artist of the greatest stature amusing himself,  while doing the best in years with his declining skills.
The songs, as a collection, are mediocre.
There are better singers doing better interpretations of better songs on the shelf at Walmart.
Now opinions are like assholes; everyone has one. I don't have to show my Bob bonafides, I am after all the KreweChief of the "I Love Bobby More Than You Do Krewe".
I've been struggling since June 25,2005.
In 2013 I attended the first concert for which I never obtained a copy.
Didn't tape it, didn't download it.
In the near future I hope to not attend a show in my city.
Bit by bit I am controlling the obsession to get Bob-stuff.
This is the first album I won't own.
I listened to a pirated version which I will now delete.
I may be alone on this one.
Alternate opinions can be found under these links.

From The Telegraph- UK "mesmerizingly moving"

From The Irish Times "A Sonic Masterclass"

From GQ, where I go to get all my music news " A Tour De Force of Restrained Genius"

From the LA Times "SITN" Illuminates American Standards"

OMG, they are running out of superlatives. I'm going to get out my thesaurus and beef up my adjectives.

PS I lied, I didn't listen twice. I was pre-typing.


christian said...

my man! well worth a little WOOT! from when things were way better, i'd say

keep on, chief



squeakystool said...

I'm with you on this one, this American songbook fad is getting tired real quick.
Besides I was never a Frank Sinatra fan of the man himself and his music.
I'll give Bob another chance.

Keep on keepin on.

Phil said...

you and your war with the pedal steel, the same reason you downplay the Bucky Baxter years...what are we gonna do with you! ;-)

Myself, i dig it more than i'd thought i would coming in (but confessional, i play that crazy instrument myself too)

All best, you and the better half keep warm up there