I'm left feeling empty by three major new releases by Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello and Neil Young. The Dylan just didn't take my breath away, and I expect that from Dylan records. I went through a list of his albums, and I can say that at least 15 of his 33 studio records knocked me out. That's quite a track record.
But for me, Together Through Life just didn't have the melodies or memorable sentiments. It's a well-played blues record with an iconic singer, but having heard and played the opening track ("Beyond Here Lies Nothin'") on All Songs Considered, I had higher hopes. It turns out that track is the best the album has to offer.
Elvis Costello will put out Secret, Profane and Sugarcane on June 4 on Starbucks' Hear Music label. I was thrilled when I heard that T-Bone Burnett would produce the country-tinged record. It's Costello's 36th studio album. He's an artist I've loved at times, but I'm not the world's biggest fan. When I Was Cruel, from 2002, was my favorite of his since 1978's This Year's Model. Like the Dylan record, Elvis Costello's upcoming release is well-played, but has little to say that seems fresh or memorable. It all feels like the songs needed more time to simmer.
Neil Young's 33rd solo studio album is Fork in the Road, a concept album based on his passion for cars and alternative energy. He's done a few of these quick-and-dirty records over the years, and to me, it's by far the worst of them. Like Trans or This Note's for You, it's the kind of album that's totally forgettable and completely understandable. Sometimes I feel like Neil Young is like a kid who needs to run off and do something crazy so he can come back and do something brilliant. So I'll wait. I've got Zuma to keep me company.
What do you think of the bigger-name artists who are releasing albums late in their careers? Are you excited for the new Neil Young, Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan albums, regardless?