Christmas in the Heart
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|Christmas in the Heart|
|Studio album by Bob Dylan|
|Released||October 13, 2009|
|Recorded||2009, Santa Monica, California, United States|
|Producer||Jack Frost (Bob Dylan's pseudonym)|
|Bob Dylan chronology|
Christmas in the Heart is the thirty-fourth studio album and first Christmas album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on October 13, 2009 by Columbia Records. The album comprises a collection of hymns, carols, and popular Christmas songs. All Dylan's royalties from the sale of this album benefited the charities Feeding America in the USA, Crisis in the UK, and the World Food Programme.
Dylan said that, although he was born and raised Jewish (he converted to Christianity in the late 1970s before returning to observing Judaism), he never felt left out of Christmas during his childhood in Minnesota. Regarding the popularity of Christmas music, he said, "... it's so worldwide and everybody can relate to it in their own way."
The album opened at #1 on Billboard's Holiday and Billboard's Folk Album Chart, #10 on Rock Album charts and #23 on overall album charts.
In an interview published by Street News Service, journalist Bill Flanagan asked Dylan why he had performed the songs in a straightforward style, and Dylan responded:
There wasn’t any other way to play it. These songs are part of my life, just like folk songs. You have to play them straight too.
When Flanagan reported that some critics thought the album was an ironic treatment of Christmas songs, Dylan responded:
Critics like that are on the outside looking in. They are definitely not fans or the audience that I play to. They would have no gut level understanding of me and my work, what I can and can't do—the scope of it all. Even at this point in time they still don’t know what to make of me.
Release and promotion
Dylan released a music video for the song "Must Be Santa" directed by Nash Edgerton. In the video, Dylan and some other people are having a Christmas house party, until two of the guests start fighting and smashing things around and one of them running away. In the closing scene, we see Dylan and Santa Claus.
A music video was also released for the song "Little Drummer Boy" directed by Jeff Scher.
A music video ecard was also released for the song "Must Be Santa".
|The A.V. Club||B−|
|Tiny Mix Tapes|||
While the unexpected move by Dylan to record a Christmas album was received with skepticism at first, the outcome of the project was lauded by critics for bringing a fresh breath of air into these classics.
Slant Magazine's critic Jesse Cataldo awarded the album 4 stars out of 5 and said:
This enjoyable sense of exploration, which prizes levity in a genre that usually amounts to an artistic wasteland, is invaluable. It also proves how much life is left in the songs, and how much other artists have succeeded at butchering them.
Se7en magazine's critic agreed, writing:
The arrangement of his band mixes up the style of the songs, resulting in a repertoire of Christmas songs that genuinely sound like modern material, while avoiding ever being cliché.
The critic for Tiny Mix Tapes rated the album 4 stars out of 5, writing:
On Christmas in the Heart...it’s not the heat, but the bitter cold, the kind you feel in northern Minnesnowta[sic]. These are traditional numbers, aged but not antiquated. In keeping with releases like Good as I Been to You and World Gone Wrong, the album features Dylan exorcising the musical spirits of the land. Some will rank it among other gimcrack releases, like Dylan & the Dead. Still others will categorize it as an oddity, like Self Portrait. It’s all and none of these. These songs are Dylan’s latest exploits, but they're deathly sincere (and jolly), as serious and kitschy as Theme Time Radio Hour. It’s the music that introduces old Disney films, an album as dense and allusive as his other recent outings.
"That the problem of hunger is ultimately solvable means we must each do what we can to help feed those who are suffering and support efforts to find long-term solutions. I'm honoured to partner with the World Food Programme and Crisis in their fight against hunger and homelessness."
- Bob Dylan – vocals, guitar, electric piano, harmonica
- Tony Garnier – bass guitar
- George Recile – drums, percussion
- Donnie Herron – steel guitar, mandolin, trumpet, violin
- David Hidalgo – accordion, guitar, mandolin, violin
- Phil Upchurch – guitar
- Patrick Warren – piano, organ, celeste
- Amanda Barrett, Bill Cantos, Randy Crenshaw, Abby DeWald, Nicole Eva Emery, Walt Harrah, Robert Joyce – choir
- Bob Dylan – producer
- David Bianco – recording, mixing
- Bill Lane – assistant engineering
- David Spreng – additional engineering
- Glen Suravech – assistant engineering
- Rich Tosti, Ed Wong – studio support
- Olivia De Berandis – inside cover illustration
- Ewin Fotheringham – back cover illustration
- Leonard Freed/Magnum Photos – inside photo
- Coco Shinomiya – design
- VisualLanguage.com – front cover
|Austria Albums Chart||44|
|Belgian (Flanders) Albums Chart||22|
|Belgian (Wallonia) Albums Chart||89|
|Canada Albums Chart||33|
|Denmark Albums Chart||14|
|Dutch Albums Chart||34|
|French Albums Chart||119|
|Germany Albums Chart||37|
|Norway Albums Chart||5|
|Irish Albums Chart||34|
|Italy Albums Chart||27|
|Spain Albums Chart||54|
|Sweden Albums Chart||6|
|Switzerland Albums Chart||80|
|UK Albums Chart||40|
|US Billboard 200 Albums Chart||23|
|US Billboard Holiday Albums Chart||1|
|US Billboard Folk Albums Chart||1|
|US Billboard Rock Albums Chart||9|
- "CAFAmerica to distribute royalities [sic] from Bob Dylan's Christmas album to Crisis". UK Fundraising. 2009-12-14. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
- Bob Dylan brings Christmas cheer to those without homes, Reuters, November 26, 2009
- Flanagan, Bill (2009-11-23). "Bob Dylan Discusses Holiday Music, Christmas and Feeding The Hungry With Bill Flanagan". Street News Service. Retrieved 2009-11-26.[dead link]
- "Premiere: Bob Dylan's Must Be Santa Video From Christmas LP | Music News". Rolling Stone. 2009-11-16. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
- "eCard Music Video – Bob Dylan – Christmas in the Heart". Hdgreetings.com. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
- "Christmas in the Heart Reviews". Metacritic.com. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Christmas in the Heart at AllMusic
- Matos, Michaelangelo (2012-02-10). "A.V. Club review". Avclub.com. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
- Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: Artist 169". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
- Richard Williams (2009-12-10). "The Guardian review". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
- "Rolling Stone review". Rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
- "Slant Magazine review". Slantmagazine.com. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
- "Bob Dylan - Christmas In The Heart". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
- "Isn't it ironic? Dylan surprises again with holiday CD - 2009-Dec-02 - CultureMap Houston". Culturemap.com. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
- "Music". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2013-07-25.
- "Politics, Film, Music and Culture – A soundtrack for the holidays – Bob Dylan does Christmas". Se7en Magazine. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
- "Dylan to release Christmas album". BBC News. 2009-08-27. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
- "Dylan royalties for Crisis charity". Daily Mirror. 2009-09-24. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
- "Christmas in the Heart". aCharts. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
- Trust, Gary. Chart Beat Thursday: John Mayer, Folk Albums, David Guetta . Billboard. November 26, 2009. Retrieved December 6, 2009.