“I contain multitudes,” Bob Dylan proclaimed at the start of his 2020 album Rough And Rowdy Ways. It’s a line that virtually only he and the poet he borrowed it from — Walt Whitman — could get away with. Who’s going to argue with Bob? At this point, his body of work is nothing short of monumental, an incomparably rich and wide-ranging oeuvre that defies categorization. Of course, had the Dylan saga come to an end with the 20th century, his legacy would have been secure. But miraculously, the last two decades have seen the songwriter restless and energized, and he’s added considerably to his already well-stuffed canon.
“Love And Theft”, released 20 years ago this week, served as his powerful opening statement in the 21st century, and the LP gave him the momentum needed to continue to bewitch and bewilder listeners through the present day. Like Dylan himself, “Love And Theft” contains multitudes. Here are just a few ways to dive into this kaleidoscopic late-era masterpiece.