Bob Dylan Roundup: Together Through Life


It’s no secret that the newest – and 33rd! – album, Together Through Life, from the Voice of a Generation drops today – and that means all Dylan, all day, all around the web.

Got some time to browse tonight? Well, join the scads of Dylanologists who are celebrating Dylan Christmas with blog posts, reviews, streams, lists of all kinds and more Dylan trivia than Todd Haynes has memorized. There’s more on the web about Robert Zimmerman today than the swine flu – and hey, that’s fine by me!

Check out the following recommended links and excerpts:

::: Josh Hurst’s thorough and insightful review at The Hurst Review:

Might as well just call it what it is: Another weird curveball in a career that thrives on ‘em, and another strange riddle for Dylanologists to sort out. What it ultimately means within the broader context of Dylan’s body of work– if indeed it means anything at all– there’s no telling, at least not yet. For now, this much seems important: It bears fleeting similarity to several of his past albums, but ultimately doesn’t sound much like any of them. It drinks from the same classic-blues well as Modern Times, but it’s a markedly simpler, more spirited affair. At times it shakes and sways like Love & Theft, but not with abandon or creative gusto so much as casual nonchalance.

::: Paste music critic Andy Whitman has posted his thoughts at his blog, Razing the Bar (always a wonderful source of valuable gems):

After a few listens, Together Through Life sounds like a perfectly serviceable Dylan blues-rock album. Damn. Like everybody else, I had hoped for so much more. Still, I’m not ready to judge this one as a loss. Musically, it’s on par with the past few releases. Lyrically? It’s too soon to tell. Sometimes the moon shines brighter after you let the darkness settle in around you. I’m gonna let it.

::: Speaking of Paste: You can head over to their website for the Bob Dylan Takeover. It includes the following:
*** A review by critic Corey DuBrawa. He gives it an 81.

***You can, oh mercy, stream the album in it’s entirety. God bless Paste magazine.

*** A list of the 50 best Dylan covers.

*** A self-described “intensely geeky” Dylan quiz. Seriously. Good trivia.

*** And be sure to check out the magazine’s archives for articles on and memoirs of Dylan listening. Include are articles by William Gay, Jack Pendarvis, Andy Whitman and David Dark.

::: Rolling Stone gifted the album four stars, saying:

Ultimately, Together Through Life is a mixed bag of this decade’s Dylan — impulsive, caustic, sentimental, long done with the contrived details of contemporary record-making. The album may lack the instant-classic aura of Love and Theft or Modern Times, but it is rich in striking moments, set in a willful rawness, and comes with a wicked finish

::: Be sure to check out the newest feature at Into the Hill – a list of the ten best Bob Dylan songs of the 60’s, as compiled by ITH writer SK Pitman.

::: All Music Guide’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine gives the album 4 stars as well:

Dylan’s not just aware of the modern-day vernacular he’s wound up with an album that fits the spirit of ’09: it’s troubled but hopeful, firmly in favor of love and romance, but if that fails there are always romantic dreams and sardonic jokes to get you through life.

::: The Huffington Post’s Mike Ragogna writes:

It’s always nice to hear a musical pioneer just relax and apply that thing he or she knows best. Most of the time, that’s when we get their best creations, and most of their best creations trigger some of the most inspired contributions by its team. On Together Through Life, you can tell the band is playing with a smile, and Bob Dylan is enjoying his troop as well as every nearly-perfect or heartfelt, misshapen note that they’re performing.

::: The New York Magazine suggests that perhaps what the album is lacking is a “now-standard, ten-minute, Dylanologist-appeasing bummer closing track in which he makes oblique references to his history, mythology, and mortality.”


That’s all for now, but if i find anything else I’ll be sure to post it: post your favorite (or your own) reviews in the comment section and i’ll be sure to add them to the queue. Enjoy and Happy Dylan!


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