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Together Through Life

Bob Dylan
Columbia

In the most relaxed album of his now-decade-plus resurgence to relevance, the world’s greatest living songwriter is having a lot of fun by not writing about anything apocalyptic. A few months ago, he cut a movie-soundtrack song about unrelenting romantic mourning (the fine “Life is Hard”). That little project tapped a deep vein that Bob kept flowing. There’s little direct politics here — it’s all songs about how you hang onto love when either it’s grown thin, or you have. That could be love of life (I feel a change comin’ on/and the fullest part of the day is already gone) as well as the usual relationship stuff (We’ll keep on lovin’, pretty baby/for as long as love will last/Beyond here lies nothin’/but the mountains of the past). The band emphasizes sharp fills from two players who could’ve done great leads: Mike Campbell on guitar and David Hidalgo on accordion. Arrangements lean toward Texas and New Orleans sounds, with some shades of boho Europe. Underplayed fun, some scabrous humor and clear-eyed poignancy … but no sweet singing.