Bob Dylan dominates the soundtrack to Curtis Hanson's Wonder Boys soundtrack with four songs: two latter-day selections ("Not Dark Yet," "Shooting Star"), 1974's "Buckets of Rain," and the brand-new "Things Have Changed." On the latter, Dylan is nearly as resigned as he was on Time Out of Mind, yet the song never sounds down-and-out -- it sounds hopeful, thanks to a fairly bouncy rhythm and one of the catchiest melodies the musician has written in some time. It's a fine song, certainly worthy of being the first new Dylan song since the acclaimed Time Out of Mind, and it sets the tone for the rest of the soundtrack, which is basically a collection of highlights from '70s singer/songwriters. In addition to Dylan, there's Tom Rush, Tim Hardin, Leonard Cohen, John Lennon, Van Morrison, and Richie Furay via Buffalo Springfield. Not all of their songs were written during the '70s, but they all share the literate, melodic bent of Dylan and "Things Have Changed." Clarence Carter's "Slip Away" and Little Willie John's "Need Your Love So Bad" may seem a little incongruous, but they're not really, since most fans of this kind of confessional songwriting also have a soft spot for soul and R&B. The Wonder Boys soundtrack may not capture the amiable, sweetly aimless spirit of life on a college campus the way the film does, but it comes pretty damn close -- so close, that it's hard to see anyone who has fully embraced collegiate life, whether they're a professor or a student, not finding a lot to not just enjoy, but love, here.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine