June 16, 1997 12:00 PM

Dan Bern

With his guitar and harmonica and nasal twang, Bern may sound, on his debut, as if he has listened to too many Bob Dylan albums. But his irreverent sense of humor is his own.In “Marilyn,” for instance, he declares that Monroe should have married X-rated novelist Henry Miller instead of playwright Arthur Miller. “Jerusalem” is a spoof about waiting for the messiah. “It’s like everybody’s waiting… I know how I hate to wait/ Like even for a bus or something/…So I think it’s time now, time to reveal myself. I am the Messiah,” Bern sings, in a send-up of Dylan songs from his Christian music phase. Being compared to Dylan is the kiss of death for many aspiring singer-songwriters. Beck survived it, and the irrepressible Bern—less musically innovative than Beck, but more biting and accessible—may as well.(Sony/Work)

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