Together Through Life

  • Record Label: Columbia
  • Release Date: Apr 28, 2009
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. 100
    Ever since he figured out how to write tough-buzzard songs, on his 1997 comeback Time Out of Mind, he’s been knocking them out of the park. This one leans hard on ready-made blues in the citified-country-ways style of Chess Records.
  2. 100
    The album’s a gas, a riot, a hoot.
  3. Chasing allusions is half the fun of listening to Dylan's music. On Together Through Life, the other half involves plainer pursuits, shaking a tail feather and shouting along.
  4. For all the pain and peril of the lyrics, there’s a lot of sly humor, too, underlined by the album’s loose, joyful sound.
  5. The singer isn't up to tenderness and the accordion gets annoying. But the first two tracks are standards in the making, the last two tracks are prophetic and mean, and the blues in between are as pointed as the pop songs are long-winded.
  6. It ends up being something of a puzzler to behold--at once as crafty and moving as anything in Dylan’s catalog, and yet as improvisational and dashed-off as one of his live albums with The Band or the Dead.
  7. There is a grim magnetism coursing through these 10 new songs--and most of it is in Dylan's vividly battered singing.
  8. Sonically, this is right in line with Dylan's 2000s albums, the sound of a well-lubricated traveling band easing into the same chords they play every night, but this isn't strictly roadhouse rock & roll: Dylan remains fixated on pre-rock & roll American music, emphasizing the blues but eager to croon love-struck ballads.
  9. Dylan leaves it to his unique vocals and a smoking set of sidemen to get his point across.
  10. This crackling album stands to remind that the man can still rock like all hell.
  11. Dylan shirks responsibility; he puts the onus on us. Fortunately, the impetus the album provides is all we need in order to define its brilliance.
  12. Mojo
    80
    Together Through Life is an album that gets its hooks in early and refuses to let go. [Jun 2009, p.94]
  13. Only a few songs ('Beyond Here Lie’s Nothin’,' 'Shake Shake Mama,' and 'I Feel a Change Comin’ On') really jump out of the grooves and the rest sounds like our greatest living songwriter coasting a bit--which is a whole lot better than not giving a shit ("Self Portrait") or flailing around aimlessly (pick an 80s record).
  14. Together Through Life is reliable, steady, willing to give if you’re willing to receive.
  15. Very little on Together Through Life seems destined for his repertory’s long haul. But whether this is basic devilishness, or Malthus revisited, or acceptance of faith, or just a clever poem juxtaposing protest rhetoric with do-nothing rhetoric, it all suits him.
  16. His new Together Through Life seems to be more a chronicle of how love actually feels at different stages than an outright celebration of it, and the grizzled-old-soul-man patina Dylan layers over his barbed-wire croak offers the familiar passion and despair of every relationship.
  17. In a time where we could have fairly expected another state-of-the-world sermon, Dylan's thankfully stopped the overdone end-is-nigh bell-ringing that's characterised his late-period, allowing the ghosts of romances past and present to permeate Together Through Life.
  18. While Dylan's grim-reaper ruminations are familiar territory, Together Through Life does offer some surprises.
  19. 60
    Having long since traded abstraction for irascibility and wistfulness, Dylan still offers flashes of black humor (“Hell is my wife’s hometown”) over the ten songs, but the fatalism that’s marked much of his recent work is in short supply.
  20. The reality is less exciting, as Together Through Life--neither masterpiece nor disaster--proves.
  21. Together Through Life sounds loose and informal, and you get the impression that its creator had a lot of fun making it. A shame, then, that it’s not quite as much fun to listen to.
  22. These 10 tunes feel dashed off.
  23. There are clunkers, like the half-there torch song "Life Is Hard." But the great thing about 67-year-old Dylan is that even when it's not working, it's working.
  24. Q Magazine
    60
    Together Through Life is not by any yardstick classic Dylan. Even so, it's hard to imagine there's an item in his catalogue that he adores more. [Jun 2009,p.116]
  25. Together Through Life isn't without its charms--Dylan never is. It's just very minor, especially by his standards.
  26. It's a shame that the album fails to hit, and in some ways, it's also a shame that it's not terrible, either.
  27. Closer 'It's All Good' offers the disc's best song, a brilliant idea and hook whose lyrics deserved more investment than that lent by Dylan and his collaborator, Grateful Dead word whisperer Robert Hunter. Beyond that lies nothin' except a wasteland, with nary a pulse for Life's second act.
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 67 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. Sep 7, 2010
    8
    certainly not as great an effort as Dylan's amazing comeback trilogy... however Together Through Life is a very fun album and is sure tocertainly not as great an effort as Dylan's amazing comeback trilogy... however Together Through Life is a very fun album and is sure to please Bobby's many many fans. Full Review »
  2. ArthurM.
    Aug 4, 2009
    5
    I like Dylan and I don't begrudge him turning out a casual set of formulaic songs like this -- i just wish it were a better set than I like Dylan and I don't begrudge him turning out a casual set of formulaic songs like this -- i just wish it were a better set than this, and not so meretricious. I also wish reviewers could accept that Dylan is as inconsistent and at times as mediocre since his peak in the 1960's as others of his generation are. Witness the equally inconsistent and at times the equally mediocre Paul McCartney -- who, nonetheless, has put out a better string of records the past dozen years or so than Dylan has, albeit, to much less acclaim. Full Review »
  3. LeeO.
    Jul 20, 2009
    10
    This sounds like what the Band wished they sounded like 40 years ago, and Dylan doesn't sound like a spoiled pissed off 20 something but This sounds like what the Band wished they sounded like 40 years ago, and Dylan doesn't sound like a spoiled pissed off 20 something but an old guy who still knows how to rock. I think this is one of his very best. Full Review »