It's no mistake that Bob Dylan released his new alleged "Christmas" record in time for Halloween. I just heard some snippets in Ken Tucker's contrarian NPR review, and all I can say is: Ouch! I'm a huge Dylan acolyte, and I love his singing on 2001's Love and Theft, which is handily among his top five albums ever, so I have no illusions about the endearingly raggedy state of his voice. And I have a weakness for this kind of kitsch (up to a point): Leonard Nimoy's "Bilbo Baggins," George Burns doing "Fixing a Hole," Sinatra's "What Time Does the Next Miracle Leave?" That kind of thing. Dylan doing "Here Comes Santa Claus" should have fit on my Christmas mix right between Bing/Bowie and the Muppets, right? Don't think so. Tucker is just wrong: What he calls Dylan's "imperfect vocal instrument" sounds so God-awful here it's kind of frightening. I'd love to hear Dylan do a bona fide standards record of songs he dearly loves. Instead, with Christmas in the Heart, he's unleashed a certifiable horror show.
For another kind of horror, I leave you with an MST3K classic. Happy holiday!