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Aural Pleasure Review

Various Artists: Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan

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Chimes, Amnesty International's bake-sale, gives 75 insanely varied artists the chance to play Dylan for a day. Name a musician and they're probably on here: Johnny Cash? Sure. K'Naan? You bet. Ke$ha? Miley Cyrus? OK, now you're just screwing with us, AI. Sure, plenty of these versions (Sugarland, Lenny Kravitz, Seal, and Maroon 5) suck big ass and some are innocuous-but-disposable (Pete Townshend, Jackson Browne), but there's also awesome artist-song pairings (Mariachi El Bronx's "Love Sick," Elvis Costello's "License to Kill") and more than a few pleasant surprises (Cage the Elephant, Dave Matthews Band, and Sinead O'Connor all turn in better stuff than expected). Which brings us to Miley and Ke$ha. Cyrus's chicken-fried take on "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" makes her frontrunner to fill Natalie Maines' seat in the Dixie Chicks. And Ke$ha, who seems ill-suited for the profoundly maudlin "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," fucking nails it. It's the best melodramatic-emoting-disguised-as-music I've heard since Eminem's "Kim" and one of the most exciting things I've heard this year. Don't believe me, cynical hipsters? Try this: Close your eyes, pretend it's St. Vincent, and see if you don't get chills.

★★★ 1/2 (out of 5 stars)

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