Song of the Day #3,355: ‘Polka Dots and Moonbeams’ – Bob Dylan

I’ve praised Bob Dylan’s recent albums of standards originally performed by Frank Sinatra, though my readers generally aren’t as impressed. Today’s song comes from Dylan’s second such album, 2016’s Fallen Angels.

This time around, I’ll let professional music critics do the heavy lifting. Here are a few quotes compiled on the album’s Wikipedia page.

Andy Gill of The Independent: “The restrained picking and creamy pedal-steel guitar of his live band imposes a smooth but demotic country mood behind Dylan’s elegant, world-weary croon.”

Jim Farber of Entertainment Weekly: “Dylan alights on these words with a wry delicacy. His voice may be husky and damaged from decades of performing, but there’s beauty to its character. Tellingly, he delivers these songs of love lost and cherished not with a burning passion but with the wistfulness of experience.”

Helen Brown of The Daily Telegraph: “Although some people have always maintained that Dylan ‘can’t sing’, the truth is that—like Sinatra—he’s always had a knockout knack for putting a lyric across… Now he inhabits classic lines by songwriters like Johnny Mercer with weathered ease.”

Vish Khanna of Now Magazine: “Fallen Angels is a hazy, laid-back history lesson with as many enigmatic twists and turns as a classic double-cross caper. It subverts archetypes of romance, heroism and interpersonal connection to reveal something more sinister about human intent, all packaged in beautiful musicianship of the highest order.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

A country dance was being held in a garden
I felt a bump and heard an, “Oh, beg your pardon”
Suddenly I saw polka dots and moonbeams
All around a pug-nosed dream

The music started and was I the perplexed one
I held my breath and said, “May I have the next one?”
In my frightened arms, polka dots and moonbeams
Sparkled on a pug-nosed dream

There were questions in the eyes of other dancers
As we floated over the floor
There were questions but my heart knew all the answers
And perhaps a few things more

Now in a cottage built of lilacs and laughter
I know the meaning of the words, “Ever after”
And I’ll always see polka dots and moonbeams
When I kiss the pug-nosed dream

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4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,355: ‘Polka Dots and Moonbeams’ – Bob Dylan

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Dylan critics and fans are much like Trump supporters. Dylan could butcher a tune in the middle of 5th avenue and he would still be praised for his bold, artistic statement.

    • Clay says:

      I will add, though, that I do not like all of Dylan’s output. See the Christian Era and much of his 80s work as examples. But these standards albums are indeed very well conceived and executed.

  2. Clay says:

    We’re a lot like Taylor Swift fans in that way!

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