Top critical review
36 people found this helpful
on 3 May 2009
It's interesting, the wide ranging opinions on this and the last few Bob albums.... Whichever reviewer said 'stop at Time Out Of Mind' as the rest is drivel' must have cotton wool in their ears - as did Daniel Lanois when he produced Time Out Of Mind... That album had 4 great songs on it, 1 very good one and the rest is pretty dull and sounds like it was recorded through a wall.
Love and Theft was far better and for my money, Modern Times was better still. I can't see what is 'dull' about it and still listen to it regularly.
This one however, is a bit dull.... It's alright, it's got a couple of very good songs, it sounds like they had a good time making it, it all sounds fine because the band are good, but there is a distinct lack of depth to 'Together Through Life', which ensures that, while I'm pleased to have heard it, I know I won't still be playing it regularly in 2012.
There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the mining of old blues tunes has started to sound tired and secondly, the decision to write with Robert Hunter has ensured that the lyrical quality is not sufficient to take your eye off the afore-mentioned, tired-sounding musical framework.
Hunter is no Dylan, but seems to try to be, so we get faux Dylanisms which Bob would never have written. Songs such as 'My Wife's Home Town' and 'It's All Good' sound kind of dumb, rather like 'Silvio' and 'The Ugliest Girl In THe World' from 'Down In The Groove', co-written with...erm... Robert Hunter.
The dilution of Dylan by Hunter diminishes the intelligence, artfulness and emotional impact of the words, and the 'adapted / adopted' melodies aren't strong enough to compensate for this. I've enjoyed my few listens, but if I were dumped on the proverbial desert island with one of the last 4 Dylan albums, I would be considerably happier in the company of 'Working Man's Blues No 2' and 'Nettie Moore'
As a foot note, I noticed there were several reviews on here before the album came out, saying things like 'This should be good' or 'this won't be good as it's too soon after the last one. I don't know why someone would think it was helpful to adorn the REview section with their guesswork regarding the possible quality of something they haven't heard yet.