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A Map You Can Throw Away: Bob Dylan's Time Out of Mind

Greil Marcus, The San Francisco Examiner, 2 November 1997

THE CHALLENGE of Bob Dylan's Time Out of Mind – his first collection of self-written songs since 1990 – is to take it at face value. There is no point searching for autobiographical confessions ("It's a breakup album, right?" said a friend, referring to all the tunes about lost love and a broken heart) or messages of hope. This is as bleak and blasted as any work a major artist in any field – and by major artist I mean an artist with something, a reputation, an audience, to lose – has offered in ages. Time Out of Mind is hedged only by craft, by the performer's commitment to his material. The world may be meaningless; he has no choice but to try to shape that void.

Total word count of piece: 2133


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