Just Like That...

Bonnie Raitt

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Just Like That... Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Five decades into her career, Bonnie Raitt shows no desire to stray from her wheelhouse. The blend of rock, blues, soul, reggae, folk, and pop that fuels Just Like That -- her 18th album and first since 2016's Dig In Deep -- is deeply familiar, evoking memories of her classic 1970s LPs while sounding of a piece with such relaxed latter-day records as Slipstream. Just Like That does sound quite a bit like its immediate predecessors, proceeding at a relaxed gait and bearing a production that gleams yet still contains a hint of grit. Those superficial similarities help highlight the places where Raitt departs from course, notably the quiet acoustic numbers "Just Like That" and "Down the Hall," two compassionate story-songs that owe a debt to John Prine. Raitt doesn't linger on this debt, yet it's clear that mortality is on her mind: "Livin' for the Ones" is a raucous tribute to all those who didn't manage to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, a legion that includes reggae legend Toots Hibbert, whose "Love So Strong" Raitt covers here. All these nods aren't subtle -- neither is the knowing recovery anthem "Waitin' for You to Blow" -- but they're delivered with a casual grace that gives them a deeper emotional resonance. The same sentiment applies to the ample number of love songs here, particularly Al Anderson's "Something's Got a Hold of My Heart" which has a mellow groove that would not have seemed out of place during the heyday of yacht rock. It all adds up to an album that slowly works its way into the subconscious, sounding deeper and richer with each successive play.

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