Idol Chatter

When I first heard that Bob Dylan was releasing a Christmas album, I didn’t feel much enthusiasm for the idea. Then I listened to a few tracks of “Christmas in the Heart” and my feelings were confirmed. Dylan’s raspy vocals just seemed oddly out of place singing sentimental classics or, even more peculiarly, a polka tune.
But many critics don’t seem to be interested in the actually songs of “Christmas in the Heart” as much as they are interested in whether or not this is a sign of Dylan’s current religious inclination. Has Dylan returned to his Jewish roots as some have speculated? Or is he still simply playing his Christian beliefs close to the vest? A recent interview has some declaring that Dylan is once again proclaiming the truth of the latter, but I am think it’s simply another case of the enigmatic star playing coy with the press.

In the interview, Dylan was asked about the musical conviction behind his rendition of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and whether or not he believed what he was singing. Dylan simply answered “Well, I am a true believer.” Dylan was also asked about critics who claim this Christmas recording is irreverent and cynical, to which Dylan replied, “Isn’t there enough irreverence in the world?” He also claims in the interview he likes the religious songs of Christmas the best, but realizes “religion isn’t for everyone.”
These are the kind of carefully crafted responses that have kept Dylan a living legend. The more he doesn’t fully admit or deny anythng, the more he remains of interest in a culture where it is harder and harder to get a little media buzz. He is no more going to make an explicit revelation about his current spiritual beliefs than he is going to record a disco tune.
Then again, I never thought I would hear Dylan sing a polka song , so I suppose for true Dyland fans that means anythng is possible.

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