Rolling Stone lays it on thick:
"The effect is like a Woodstock snowfall with the defiance of 1970's Self Portrait: another way of saying his roots are everywhere."
Perhaps, but from where I'm sitting his visionary talent is nowhere in evidence.
The Chicago Tribune's music critic gives the old man a gentleman's C:
"I'm willing to cut him a break here. Besides, the CD actually isn't that bad, and in some cases ("Here Comes Santa Claus" for example) is actually pretty damn hilarious."
Yes, comedy. And everyone keeps saying that Dylan plays it straight, so the joke must be on those of us not hip enough to get it.
From Pop Matters:
"It’s a double shot of straight sentimental corn syrup, and it’s the closest Dylan has come to crooning since Nashville Skyline, his lovely 1969 country ode to domesticity. The years and cigarettes have had their way with the man’s larynx, and he can’t match the warm honeycomb baritone that surprised and confused his fans three decades ago—frankly, he often comes off as a lunatic warbling carols with almost terrifying conviction—but nevertheless, his damaged voice is full of warmth and sweetness. “Although it’s been said many times, many ways… Merry Christmas to you,” he sings, and he sounds like he means it more than Mel Torme ever did. For all the world, the record doesn’t feel like a charity album or a goofball lark or an odd experiment—it just sounds like the work of a dude who really, really loves Christmas."
Crap. Now I'm the Grinch 'cause I say it's not just the weather outside that's frightful. And I tend to go for screwball novelty recordings, as a rule.
Somebody stick a Pitchfork in him; he's done:
It's not hard to presuppose that Dylan-- who has an entire encyclopedia, dozens of nonfiction treatises, and at least a handful of college courses dedicated to parsing his lyrics and intent-- is either deeply irritated or deeply bemused by his anointment, and is responding to over-the-top canonization by doing deliberately oddball stuff (see also: leering at underwear models in a Victoria's Secret commercial). Even the title-- eerily reminiscent of Kenny Rogers' 1998 turd, Christmas From the Heart-- feels tongue-in-cheek. But maybe that's a trap, too-- maybe, like zillions of red-blooded, religiously ambiguous American dudes, Bob Dylan just likes Christmastime and Adriana Lima. And we're stupid for presuming anything more.
Again with "We are not worthy?" This is embarrassing. Jolly Old St. Bob left his sooty footprints all over the carpet and the critics are in denial.
Why not call it like it is; the man is getting more attention for this "charity offering" than any of his largely irrelevant recordings of the past decade. And I'm not buying it.
Ho ho ho.