A major part of Bob Dylan’s stock and trade, lo these many years, has been the element of surprise. Some highlights: Bob goes electric. Bob (briefly) becomes a born-again Christian. Bob appears on “Dharma and Greg.” Bob shows up in a Victoria’s Secret ad. Bob mashes up “Forever Young” with Will.i.am for a Pepsi Super Bowl commercial.
Now comes reports that Dylan, who happily surprised fans this year with the release of “Together Through Life,” is working on a Christmas album.
Guess you don’t need a weatherman to tell whether there will be a white Christmas.
Forget that Dylan was raised Jewish, or that he’s ostensibly returning to Christian-themed music nearly 30 years after “Shot of Love.” Perhaps the biggest surprise here is that he’s tackling what’s become a hackneyed genre: the Christmas album.
Maybe he’s trying to make a statement about our times. Maybe he gets a kick out of defying expectations. Maybe he just likes Christmas songs.
The what’s-he-thinking part really doesn’t matter, and he’s not going to tell us, anyway. The album will be worth a listen. Dylan is once again proving, at 68, that he still marches to the beat of his own drummer (or, in this case, his own little drummer boy).
It sounds, though, like he’s less than halfway through the album, so maybe he needs a little inspiration. What holiday songs would you like to hear Dylan give raspy voice?
Use the comments section below to get an early start on your Christmas wish list.
Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992.