Bob Dylan’s 33rd studio album is set to drop next month. Together Through Life will follow up 2006’s Modern Times, his first album to hit #1 since 1976 and first ever to debut there.
Dylan began the record when French director Olivier Dahan (2007’s Oscar-winning La Vie en Rose) approached him to write a song for his new project My Own Love Song, a Southern road trip movie starring Renee Zellweger and Forest Whitaker.
"The only thing [Dahan] needed for sure was a ballad for the main character to sing towards the end of the movie," Dylan says in an interview about the new album posted on his website. "And that’s the song ‘Life is Hard.’" After that, "the record sort of took its own direction."
According to the interview, the new album has more of a 1950s, Chess and Sun Records feel to it. Talking about the change in direction, Dylan says, "These songs don’t need to cover the same ground. The songs on Modern Times brought my repertoire up to date, and the light was directed in a certain way. You have to have somebody in mind as an audience, otherwise there’s no point."
In his usual head-scratching way, Dylan talks further about his current song-writing approach:
I see that my audience now doesn’t particularly care what period the songs are from. They feel style and substance in a more visceral way and let it go at that. Images don’t hang anybody up. Like if there’s an astrologer with a criminal record in one of my songs, it’s not going to make anybody wonder if the human race is doomed… There’s no mystification.
Together Through Life is to be released April 28.