Bob Dylan, at 73 years old, released a new album on Tuesday. Dylan is a legendary singer-songwriter who wrote anthems such as "Like a Rolling Stone" and "The Times They Are A-Changing." But his new album isn't made up of anthems to lead an anti-war movement like they were in the 60s. Shadows in the Night doesn't contain a single original song by Dylan. It's an album of Sinatra covers.
In the 1960s, 70s, and probably 80s, a new Dylan album would have meant a cover interview with Rolling Stone or Spin. In 2015, Dylan gave his only interview to AARP, a magazine that caters to a membership of Americans over the age of 50 — and happens to have a veteran Rolling Stone editor as its editor in chief.
"Bob [Dylan] intentionally wanted to reach the AARP audience," Bob Love, editor in chief of AARP The Magazine told NPR, "and he thought that this record would be more appreciated by people who have more wisdom and experience in life."
After stating he would give the album away for free if he could, Dylan explains how age has affected his sound:
Q: A lot of your newer songs deal with aging. You once said that people don't retire, they fade away, they run out of steam. And now you're 73, you're a great-grandfather.
A: Look, you get older. Passion is a young man's game. Young people can be passionate. Older people gotta be more wise. I mean, you're around awhile, you leave certain things to the young. Don't try to act like you're young. You could really hurt yourself.
Dylan isn't acting like he's young. He's not ruining his legacy with songs that would muddy up his canon. He's not trying to relive his own glory days, and he's certainly not trying to be the backup guitarist in Rihanna's next music video. Dylan, it seems, understands his listener, and he's produced an album that—though it isn't groundbreaking or an instant Dylan classic—is certainly a beautiful twist on Sinatra's already stunning work.