Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Bonnie Raitt: Just Like That . . . [Redwing, 2022]
It's the same old same old only if you think her traditionalist shtick is a lot mustier than it was when she invented it 50 years ago. I mean, there's an abundance of good songs here--songs with lyrics so rangy and specific that they render her fifth studio album of the century her best of the century. The two openers that chronicle love bereft and entranced like so many before them are covers this time, soon topped by the post-bereft Covid pledge "Livin' for the Ones" and a short short story in which Raitt assumes the role of a mother who opens her front door to the guy whose life was saved by the heart of the dead son she never stops mourning. Both these creations make it seem as if Raitt is missing John Prine even more than the rest of us, as does a finale sung in the voice of a murderer who finds some measure of redemption in the hospice ward of the prison he calls home. And then there's the blatantly autobiographical "Waitin' for You to Blow," where she rides shotgun on her fraught relationship with her own recovery. A-