Bob Dylan Countdown #199: “It’s All Good”

I hate it when a good saying becomes corrupted by overuse, eventually transforming into a cliche. I myself was particularly fond of “It is what it is,” but it has been beaten into the ground to the point that I consciously avoid it now.

It’s doubtful, however, that Bob Dylan ever had much fondness for “It’s all good,” which seems to have transcended its original intent as an empathetic pick-me up to become shorthand for indifference. Considering the state of the world, Dylan seems to be saying here, such indifference is worthy of scorn or, in this case, pea-soup sarcasm.

Speaking of indifference, I think that may be how a lot of Dylan fans feel now about Together Through Life, the album that “It’s All Good” closes. I know I enjoyed it a lot when it arrived, but that may have been the mere excitement of having new music from Bob. When I listen to it now, I feel like it’s pleasant, which is faint praise for a Dylan album indeed.

In fact, this song’s placement as an album closer brings some pretty harsh comparisons to the fore. Dylan has often saved his best for last on LP’s, with “Highlands,” “Sugar Baby,” and “Ain’t Talkin” setting the standard on the post-comeback albums. “It’s All Good” is a lot of fun, and it deserves credit for that, but it can’t hang with those songs. It’s a bit too on-the-money with its satire, but I shouldn’t complain. It is what it is.

Sorry. Old habits.

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