Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Bob Dylan's Together Through Life - album review

Bob Dylan's latest album 'Together Through Life' rose straight to the top of both the US and UK album charts on its release. The sales reflect the strength of Dylan's fan base for whom the singer, songwriter and lyricist can do no wrong.
Together Through Life is Bob Dylan's 33rd album. At the age of 68 his voice sounds gravely. The album is a collection of ten tracks, all rooted in the blues. The opening track 'Beyond Here Lies Nothin' was written for a forthcoming film by French director Oliver Dahan. This is one of the strongest tracks on the album along with the closing song 'Its all Good'. Much of the album has a laid back and relaxed feel to it
Dylan still has the ability to put words together and to include humour and sarcasm in his songs. I have taken some time to listen to the album and have concluded that the the album is good. Repeated listening confirms this - rather than growing stale too quickly the songs improve with familiarity.
I certainly prefer Together Through Life to its predecessors 'Modern Times' and 'Love and Theft'.
While giving credit where it is due, the album is no masterpiece. It lacks the richness and variety of 'Desire', 'Blood on the Tracks' or 'Blonde on Blonde'. Dylan is still able to write and perform. But the inspiration is gone. The Dylan of thirty and forty years ago was truly inspired. Together Through Life is listenable and enjoyable but it is no masterpiece.
It would be interesting to find out who is buying Dylan's latest offerings. Are the buyers primarily baby-boomer generation Dylan devotees or is there a significant representation of the younger generation that is surprisingly familiar with the music of the sixties and seventies?

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