Bob Dylan - Together Through Life

2009-05-08 16:35
Together Through Life Cover

It's an interesting exercise, and both an insight into the critical process, and an interrogation of the limits of Web 2.0. No critic worth his salt would review an album without multiple listenings, but by the time you've had thoughts and reactions refined by editing, are you left with an honest an appraisal of the music? Wouldn't it be as informative to get first impressions, without the veil of editorial hindsight?

It's also a new experience reviewing a cd when other Dylan fans are commenting as you go through the process. So some fans would ask for immediate snap judgements, like '@finngregory: So, review summary: it sucks?'

Others are already commencing battle with the critic before he's even made his final judgement, like @JeanBarker 'I know, not liking much = blasphemy. Except #Modern Times, which I ADORE. '

Then there's the usual mad fan who'll claim that Dylan actually invented Twitter, in this case @DarrenRavens, who pointed us to the 1988 Traveling Wilburys song, Tweeter and the Monkey Man.

It's quintessential Web 2.0 stuff, that's for sure. But is it good music reviewing? Can the new medium of Twitter compete with the oldschool Luddite technology that is the content website? As usual, you be the judge.


#dylan right, here we go. 1st problem - you don't slide cd into high end hifi, it's 256kbps on iTunes

#dylan A review of Dylan's new, Together Through Life, song by song. It's not the critics' way, but the way you hear the music in real life.

#dylan 1.Beyond Here Lies Nothing: Swings low, harsh, muddy. Sounds kinda ubiquitous, a little droll

#dylan 1.Beyond Here Lies Nothing: 'Down here lies nothing/but the mountains of the past'. And a lot of 'pretty babies'.

#dylan 2.Life is Hard: It's not Dylanesque, but it sure sounds like him. Clumsy though, unlikely. Tradition isn't everything.

#dylan 3.My Wife's Hometown: Dylan can sing anything, and it's sounds like it means something. Kief accordion. Solid, if MOR

#dylan 3.My Wife's Hometown: 'There ain't no way you can put me down/I just want to say/hell's my wife's hometown' Nice 1 Bob, bit smartarse

#dylan 4.If You Ever Go To Houston: I love Dylan. But why is this album his first UK no.1 since 1970s New Morning? It's just not that good

#dylan Petridis quote. 'displays certain quirkiness by foregrounding accordion not guitar, but then so did theme tune to 'Allo 'Allo!'

#dylan 4.'If you ever go to Houston/you'd better know where you're going/or stay where you are'. Brilliant advice from the Bobster

#dylan I love the long, long 'Idiot Wind', for eg, but this song is way too long... sadly for a dylan fan.

#dylan apt quote from Neil McCormick: 'We bring so much history with us to a Dylan gig, all he really has to do is turn up'

#dylan 5.Forgetful Heart: Dylan's voice is ravaged. No way around it. Which works on a mournful paean like this.

#dylan 5.Forgetful Heart: 'Forgetful heart/lost your power of recall' Great double entendre. Possibly. You never know. he wrote Tarantula

#dylan 6.Jolene: Not a cover of the Dolly Parton song, alas. Now that's a duet I'd pay money to see. Weird gee-tah thing going on

#dylan other critics who might want to try this - it's hard. You lose focus, doing it live. whole new Web2 discipline to learn here.

#dylan 6.Jolene: 'Well you're comin' down high street/walking in the sun/you're making dead men rise'. This COULD be Dolly song

#dylan 7.This Dream Of You: More ache-cordion. Sound like a brandy advert. sigh.

#dylan 7.This Dream Of You: 'How long can I stay in this nowhere café/before life turns into day.' Possibly 'night into day', actually

#dylan 8.Shake Shake Mama: Picking it up a tad, now with double the shake.

#dylan Ten songs on this album. Not one that rivals the worst song on Modern Times or recent TellTale Signs.

#dylan 8.Shake Shake Mama: oops. forgot to listen to the lyrics. that NEVER happens with Dylan. This song is losing me, and words are why

#dylan 8.Shake Shake Mama: This is why: 'shake shake mama/like a ship going out to sea'

#dylan 9.I Feel A Change Comin' On:You're totally losing me with this anodyne shit. You made me laugh, you made me cry, now you make me yawn

#dylan I feel a change comin' on too, it's called disappointment. Just not enough fire in this song

#dylan Dude, we know when you're not a'busy being born, you're a'busy dying, but DO YOU HAVE TO GO ON AND ON ABOUT IT

#dylan 9.I Feel A Change Comin' On: 'I see my baby coming/she's walking with the village beast. I feel a change comin' on'. Short changed?

#dylan 10.It's All Good: finally, a song that takes you with it. laconic, knowing lyrics, restrained driving rhythm

#dylan 10.It's All Good: 'It's hard to believe, but it's all good.' Ain't that the truth, Bob. Except when it's not. Great song

#dylan concl.1: damn… most people are giving this a 5/5. I can only manage a 3.

#dylan concl.2: Oh god Grateful Dead lyricist contributes to these songs. Most overrated band of all time, unless you're rating boredom.

#dylan concl.3: but it's not a numbers game with Dylan. So there's some good, some bad, but that's the man. Hic.

#dylan I've chosen my top5 Dylan albums. If you care, choose yours.

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Is it possible to review a cd in realtime on Twitter, within the constrains of the 140 character limit? Chris Roper did just that with Bob Dylan's new album, Together Through Life.

Emil 2009/05/08 3:00 PM
Ingenious! A first ever.
niels 2009/05/08 11:44 PM
This was a waste of an exercise. Change isn't good. tell you what, I will go to the local music store and take a listen there.
Goda 2009/05/11 9:13 AM
@Niels Oooh. Old school! Wanna date my mom?
galamatias 2009/05/11 10:21 AM
Funny how "the voice a generation" hasn't had anything worthwhile to say in more than a decade. And he keeps saying it to the slow, monotonous middle tempo shuffle. Okay, so there's no Wiggle Wiggle here, but there's also no Things Have Changed. Dylan changed music and forced rock to grow up - in the SIXTIES!!! But now he sounds bored and old. The music's as tired as he is and he really hasn't got much on his mind. Dull, dull, dull. How sad. Put him out to pasture. Please.
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