Truth be told, if you played Ke$ha's cover of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" for someone in a car, without referencing who it was by, or her glitter-to-platelet count, they would bow down and worship it, sight unseen. And if she had a whole album with ballads like this, she would be a Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, SPIN, and everything darling. Adele's stomping stalker anthems be damned.
But since it's Ke$ha, the lame-dicks will laugh it off becuase it goes against their marching orders.
Recorded for Amnesty International's Chimes of Freedom, a four-disc Bob Dylan covers project, "Don't Think" finds our heroine, crying through the break-up song, all sniffles and snots, projecting real emotion. There are no three-day parties, whiskey bottles, or synthesizers to save her from what's going on here.
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As a life-long Dylan fan, none of this bothers me, because for me Dylan has always been up for different interpretations. If it takes a 24-year-old woman from Nashville with an extreme beard fetish to show us another side of Dylan, then well that actually sounds about right.
This time around you get to hear the exact opposite of Ke$ha's usual party-rocking business, with her voice wounded and hurt, the ravages of the morning after and whatnot exposing the party girl to be just that, a girl. A damaged one. Maybe an abused one. The "wages of sin" and all that jazz. Yeah, the crying gets in the way until you hear the spare instrumentation.
Hearing a female artist interpret Dylan at his most emo -- he was only 21 when he wrote the damn thing -- is refreshing compared the line of commercially-viable pop-country dumpers who would normally take a swing at Dylan. The only other guys who have done the song justice have been Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings, since it was released on 1963's The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.