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POP MUSIC

No 'Time' Like the Present

In the '60s, he said it all. But that doesn't mean Bob Dylan has run out of things to say. 'Time Out of Mind,' his new album, is despairing, hopeful, playful, long--and at times brilliant.

September 28, 1997|Robert Hilburn | Robert Hilburn is The Times' pop music critic

At 73 minutes, the length of his classic double album "Blonde on Blonde," the package is too long by at least a quarter. The weakest tracks--the empty commentary of "Million Miles," " 'Til I Fell in Love With You," "Make You Feel My Love" and "Can't Wait"--seem so unfinished that they border on doodling. In those songs, Dylan frequently ruins one good image by following it with a rhyme so predictable that it seems drawn from public domain.

Thanks to the ease of CD programming, you can delete the extraneous tracks and create the great 52-minute album that "Time Out of Mind" should have been. (Coincidentally, that's the exact length of both "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Blood on the Tracks.") By doing so, you'll isolate the songs that you're going to want to hear in concert and celebrate a spectacular return to form.

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TOO MUCH 'TIME'

*** 1/2 BOB DYLAN, "Time Out of Mind," (Official 73-Minute Version) Columbia

**** BOB DYLAN, "Time Out of Mind," (Hilburn 52-Minute Version) Columbia

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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PAINT IT BLAND

Disney doesn't need a "Fantasia" in theaters to keep Disneyland the happiest place on Earth, and the Rolling Stones don't need a new "Exile on Main Street" to anchor a tour. But the group could act a little more interested than it does on the new, uninspired, ballad-heavy collection "Bridges to Babylon." See Record Rack, Page 66.

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