The forthcoming Bob Dylan album announced recently turns out to be another collection in which Dylan interprets a dozen pop standards of the pre-rock era, the majority of them associated with Frank Sinatra. “Fallen Angels,” his 37th studio album, is set for release on May 20, four days before Dylan turns 75.
The first release from the album is the song “Melancholy Mood,” a Top 10 hit in 1939 for Swing Era clarinetist Artie Shaw and his band, but also recorded the same year by the Harry James Orchestra and sung by Sinatra, who was the band’s vocalist at the time.
As Sinatra often did, Dylan unhurriedly elongates words such as “lingering” and “whimsy” as he sings composer Walter Schumann and lyricist Vick R. Knight’s ballad of lost love and regret:
Deep in the night
I search for a trace
Of a lingering kiss, a warm embrace
But love is a whimsy
And my arms embrace an empty space
Among the other Great American Songbook choices Dylan has pulled for “Fallen Angels” are “That Old Black Magic,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Young at Heart” and “All or Nothing at All.”
The new album follows “Shadows in the Night” from 2015, when Dylan offered up his versions of standards like “What’ll I Do,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Autumn Leaves” and “I’m a Fool to Want You.” That album drew largely positive reviews, scoring 82 on a scale of 100 at the Metacritic.com aggregate website.
When some described that album as a “covers” record, Dylan said, “They've been covered enough. Buried, as a matter a fact. What me and my band are basically doing is uncovering them. Lifting them out of the grave and bringing them into the light of day.”
The Telegraph newspaper of London wrote of “Shadows in the Night”: “[I]magine a beloved grandfather at a family gathering singing ballads of love and yearning from his lost youth, and you will get some idea of the power of this extraordinary record.”
Dylan's 2016 tour is slated to reach Southern California for stops June 11 at the Santa Barbara Bowl and June 16 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
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