Rhythm & Views

Bryan Ferry

One of the greatest injustices in recent memory was the appointment of Bob Dylan to the position of lead salesman for the Victoria's Secret lingerie company. Anyone who knows music knows Bryan Ferry is the only pop singer qualified enough to hawk women's silk panties with any kind of authority (with the obvious exception of Twilight Singers stud Greg Dulli). As if in retaliation for Dylan acquiring a gig that was rightfully his, the former Roxy Music frontman (and the creative force behind the most sensual pop album of all time, Avalon) delivers an entire album's worth of Dylan covers, Dylanesque, that isn't as awful as one might expect.

Ferry polishes off Mr. Tambourine Man's rough edges, leaving only the smooth constructions of the songs themselves. Ferry's dapper, debonair tenor imbues the lyrics with a strident romanticism that sometimes takes your breath away, as with "Make You Feel My Love," a song that always sounds more antagonistic than amorous when Dylan performs it. The lovely piano-bar version of "Positively 4th Street" may cause Dylan fans to cringe, but, again, Ferry projects real vulnerability as opposed to the sneering contempt that powered the original.

Actually, it's very difficult to compare Dylanesque with the masterpieces, since--with the exception of Ferry's fumbling harmonica playing--the two efforts are wildly divergent in terms of tone and attitude. Still, for those curious about a new take on some classic cuts, Dylanesque fits better than a pair of rhumba panties.

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