Ben Greenman, The New Yorker:
Bob Dylan’s new album, “Shadows in the Night,” which comes out today, has been called his Frank Sinatra record. The album does includes (sic) ten songs all originally recorded by Sinatra, but it’s maybe more accurate to think of it as a conscious return to the compositions of the pre-rock era (or, if you prefer, the pre-Dylan era), much in the way that Dylan’s two early-nineties records, “Good As I Been to You” and “World Gone Wrong,” were callbacks to country blues. The ten songs on the record are drawn from the mid-century songbook, giving Dylan an opportunity to demonstrate his kinship with that era, and to illustrate that these songs have always been part of his inheritance. While most of them, in their day, were recorded with orchestration, for this record he uses only his regular five-piece band and an occasional horn section. The over-all effect is both ephemeral and powerful.
I still can’t quite believe this album exists. Dylan and Sinatra are two of my all-time favorite artists, but they’re actually pretty different in terms of vocal quality and usual repertoire. I’m not sure how well this album will work — I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet — but I hope it’s more than just Dylan eviscerating some classic Sinatra songs.