Like a Rolling Snowman

A Bob Dylan Christmas album? The veteran pioneer offers a unique take on seasonal kitsch

David Gahr / Sony

Bob Dylan

Like a holiday gift from an outlaw uncle or a grenade dropped into a mantelpiece stocking, Bob Dylan's Christmas in the Heart arrives to challenge pop-music purists and Dylan's rep as a perennial pioneer. Some listeners will want to pat the singer on the back--hard, so he can cough up whatever it is that makes him sound like a tubercular hobo who's wandered into a karaoke bar at Yuletide. Others will wonder what statement Dylan, a Jew who for a while declared himself a born-again Christian, is making with a 15-song bag of Christmas chestnuts, sleigh bells and baby Jesuses. Is...

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