Ska Punk International is, you’ll be shocked to learn, a music label which promotes ska and punk music from around the world. They recently released their second Songs for Moms compilation for charity. One of the artists on the comp, Lumpy, is that rare thing: a (nearly) one-man ska band. Though he works with guests, Lumpy is primarily the work of multi-instrumentalist Bryan Highhill. For his cover of Bob Dylan‘s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” for Songs for Moms, Lumpy goes full third wave with a heavy dose of ’90s irony.
One of the things that gets somewhat overlooked in a lot of Dylan’s most famous lyrics is the cruelty and mendaciousness of the more personal songs. That’s probably in part because it’s often buried in poetry, but some of Dylan’s lyrics are nasty. Lumpy’s flat delivery is the perfect vehicle for revealing the spite in “Don’t Think Twice.” It’s hard to listen to this version of these lyrics and not feel bad for the target.
The music features the classic horns – including a horn break! – as well as some typically cheesy keyboards and maybe even an accordion. Unlike most ska covers, this one sticks pretty closely to the original tempo and feel (as much as a ska cover can); it’s not way faster and louder like they often are. Instead, it’s just third wave ska instruments playing a classic Dylan song and Highhill almost speak-singing the lyrics.
It’s unlikely to endear itself to really big fans of the song, but if you can get by the relatively tuneless vocal sound, it is very revealing.