Guess what, kids? Christmas is here early—and, it’s a Jew that brung it. Or, rather, an erstwhile Jew: Bob Dylan, whose new holiday compilation CD Christmas in the Heart was released earlier this week. It’s a pretty schlocky selection—everything from “Here Comes Santa Claus” to “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” (Yes, it’s sometimes hard to listen to Dylan growl his way through the more saccharine numbers without thinking of Krusty the Clown, but, you know, it’s the thought that counts.) Tablet contributing editor Jody Rosen notes on Slate’s culture blog, Browbeat, that the best way to think about the album is as a piece of good old Americana, more in the vein of Alan Lomax than, say, David Archuleta. “Christmas in the Heart is less a joke or a provocation than a polemic,” Rosen argues. “Dylan is the haggard, haunting voice of the musical collective unconscious—our Ghost of Christmas Past.”

I Dreamed I Saw St. Nicholas [Slate/Browbeat]
Related: A Fine Romance [Nextbook Press]