Bob Dylan

Rolling Stone critics call it a colossal masterpiece, yeah, but why don’t these guys say what they really mean? Now, especially now, Bob Dylan seems relevant as hell, throwing off prophesies and truths and humor with cool, lounge-lizard tunes that make you wonder, basically, if this guy is from the same species. After 40 years, can Dylan still be crucial? The thundering answer, based on Love and Theft is “yeah, you bet.” Among many gems that require constant pushing of the remote replay: “Mississippi,” where time seems to pile up endlessly. For diehard fans, the ultimate song about love and death and truth (again) is “Bye and Bye,” where Dylan reminds us (despite his admission that the future for him is “a thing of the past”) that we come in and go out of this world alone, blessed and cursed and special. “Some people will offer you their hand and some won’t / Last night I knew you, tonight I don’t.