In the 1960s, Bob Dylan provided my peers and I the soundtrack of our times, chuffing famous lines like "How does it feel/ to be on your own/ no direction home/ like a rolling stone?" With his signature sound and relevant lyrics, Dylan helped shape and define the counterculture and anti-Vietnam War movement.
Bob Dylan is now 73, and with 36 studio albums to his credit, he is taking us back to another era, the soundtrack of the early 20th Century. On this new record, Dylan covers — or as he describes it, “uncovers” — ten vintage tunes written by the likes of Irving Berlin and Rodgers and Hammerstein, which were all brought to life by Frank Sinatra. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but Dylan, once the voice of the anti-establishment, here pays homage to “the chairman of the board.”
In two words: sad, dreadful. (The times they really are a-changing.) Featuring sparse production values and a five-piece band muted in the studio to sound like a single acoustic guitar, Dylan attempts to reinvent himself as a crooner. The “music” is lost in his vocals, an unlistenable display of low-key croaks and squeaks. The only thing missing from this disappointing take on American standards, such as "Autumn Leaves" and "What'll I Do," is a shabby piano-bar setting and a glass of bottom-shelf scotch. The scotch, however, couldn’t even save this set. Or as Dylan sings in his tortured version of “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Who can explain it?/ Who can tell you why?/ Fools give reasons/ Wise men never try."
- Artist: Bob Dylan
- Record: Shadows in the Night
- Label: Columbia
- Songs: (1) I'm a Fool to Want You (2) The Night We Call It a Day (3) Stay With Me (4) Autumn Leaves (5) Why Try to Change Me Now (6) Some Enchanted Evening (7) Full Moon and Empty Arms (8) Where Are you (9) What'll I Do (10) That Lucky Old Sun