BY KARYN A. POKLETAR
From punk rock icon to jazz singer, Chrissie Hynde has long been an innovative tour de force in the music world. Now, nearly 45 years after her debut as the cheeky frontman of the Pretenders, she lends her vocal signature and passionate interpretations to nine tracks from the catalog of poet laureate and Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan on the all-new “Standing in the Doorway “. “
If you are a fan of Bob Dylan or The Pretenders, a lover of deep poetry or the viola of Chrissie Hynde’s richly interpretive voice, it will be difficult to remain indifferent to this artistic endeavor. If you are looking for a groovy synth, drum loops, club music, full size hymns, Glam Rock or fifth gear music, loud like a Daytona race, heard from the front row seats, just keep walking.
Dylan’s vocals have been criticized throughout his career, the conclusion remains constant: he sings in a nasal manner, not entirely pleasant, but makes up for it by being an artist who has been an influential figure in music and of popular culture for more than five decades. His tendency to speak out is relegated to the era of folk singing where the voice was not essential for the lyrics. This style is valid and has its place in the musical milieu which emphasizes lyrical content as the main course.
The weight of the folk icon Dylan was awarded with awards, accolades and a large number of songs (over 600). In today’s parlance, Dylan is durable. Chrissie Hynde, forward rocker and rhythm guitarist, IS The Pretenders, a band formed in 1978. Her ability to understand the labile vibe of song lyrics is ridiculous; with loads of nuanced understanding, translated in a compelling style; his illustrative talent is full throughout the album.
The artistic interpretation of classic songwriter fodder is not a precursor to innovation. In other words, it has already been done. But probably not like that!
Christine Ellen Hynde, resuscitated the intense, brilliant and evocative poetry of Bob Dylan’s lyrical arsenal, which will keep its spirit and source of creativity for a long time to come (A nice birthday present for his 80th whirlwind around the sun, celebrated in May 2021). Dylan, while not technically skilled, can apparently make songs out of a simple moan, as he brags about his injuries or irreverently dances at the graves of his enemies.
Between the words of Dylan’s story-song-poem and Hynde’s genius and magnificent interpretation, they dissolve the bonds that unite hollow intelligence, as the first track, “In The Summertime” tells of moments spent with his love. He barely knows how long they’ve been together, even though people try to pull them apart. (“Fools laughed at sin // Our loyalty they tried to earn // But you were closer to me than my next of kin // When they didn’t want to know or see // Summer, Ah in the summer ”).
With a warm piano chord progression, Dylan’s delightfully sad and charming lyrics are debunked on the title track “Standing in the Doorway” with the reluctant femininity and sneer of Hynde’s thumbprint, as she sings: “You left me standing in the doorway cryin ‘// I got no complaints now // The light in this place is so bad // Makes me head sick. The story continues, with the attempt to l songwriter lessen the pain through distraction. “Last night I danced with a stranger // But she just reminded me that you were the only one.” The song continues, sort of turning into a funeral song with a piano accentuating the emotional death of the relationship, which ends in a little tambourine bloom with the last line “You left me standing in the doorway crying // Blues wrapped around of my head. “
How a 24 year old Dylan (at the time of writing “Love Minus Zero”) wrote such a beautiful melody so magical, creative and alluring with just three chords and the words “Yet she is as real as ice? , like fire // People wear roses // Make promises on time // My love she laughs like flowers // Valentine can’t buy it? ” Hynde reshapes the song into a softer, more deeply touching landscape than the original.
Of the nine tracks on the album, the one with heartbreaking beauty, flutter-strum guitar and Hynde’s tremolo is “Blind Willie McTell”, a masterpiece of compositional quality and cinematic largesse. (“Them stars above those barren trees // his only audience”).
As stated from the beginning… If you are a fan of either artist, the pleasure will inevitably be emitted by who you are listening to “Standing in the Doorway”. Dylan’s legacy as one of the world’s greatest songwriters with the intellectualism of classical literature and poetry, as well as Hynde’s expressive prowess, leaves us with the rhetorical question and yet conclusive: “How could this album be anything but great? ” He is !