Bob Dylan’s recent relationship to his music / lyrics is similar to that of late Picasso in that they both evince a casual-seeming language of expression. Perhaps the reason Dylan doesn’t think too much of late Picasso is that he sees too much of his own relentlessly casual yet urgent laziness in him. Advice to Bob: take a six month vacation from the road, study art / painting, write some great songs (music and lyrics) If I want to hear Robert Hunter’s lyrics, I’ll buy a Robert Hunter CD. Calling in a co-writer for one’s lyrics is like calling in a trusted colleague to make love to your girlfriend. I doubt that Picasso ever did this. However, I love the new Dylan CD “Together Through Life” especially “It’s All Good” and “My Wife’s Hometown” these two songs are among Dylan’s best of past twenty years.It is perplexing to see a legendary artist in one field holding forth on adjacent art (Dylan on painting) and reveal themselves a tyro. Unless Bob Dylan must crank out an album a year to keep a mobster from breaking his knees, he should slow down, relax and let his innate wisdom emerge. It would be a shame to see an artist as great as Dylan fall into the Clancy / Patterson zone where he calls in others to write his material just to have something for the voracious entertainment maw. On the other hand, there are hundreds of songwriters in America, (*myself included), who would love to write a song for or with Dylan. Let the co-writing continue. Dylan as messenger rather than oracle. In order to do great things, artists need great critics. Dylan’s biggest handicap at present is that his legend status dissolves all constructive criticism into either fawning encomiums or dismissal. Has Dylan entered the late Picasso zone where there is no effective criticism and the art wanders loosely? Picasso did his finest thinking / painting from 1905 - 1914 when surrounded by his viciously critical friends, his Bande au Picasso. Where is the Bande au Bob Dylan who would kick his artistic ass in order to inspire a few late great works that surpass all that has gone before, like late Rembrandt or the Turner paintings that Dylan so admires. To date, Dylan’s late phase resembles that of Picasso for whom he has little regard. I treasure late Picasso. It is painting as speech. Whether it is “sloppy” or not is beside the point. It is the work of a great artist in his maturity, speaking a casual, conversational style. He is no longer trying to be great here but he is great. This late work of Picasso will someday get its due. I’m struggling here. Is the most recent Dylan work among his best? Is the recent work very high quality? Given the late Picasso framework, it is songwriting of the highest order - it is simply no longer revolutionary. It is the work of an elderly artist speaking in a more private language. Dylan is on shaky ground (he should co-write with Neil Young) when he voices disregard for late Picasso because he is revealing a lack of regard for his own estimable work.