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Bonnie Raitt, 'Made Up Mind'

There's a phrase that echoes forth from the blues to soul and reggae to hip-hop: steady rockin'. It describes music that lays back and takes charge at the same time. "Made Up Mind," the single that heralds the April release of Just Like That — Bonnie Raitt's first album in six years and 21st overall — epitomizes steady rockin' and shows that the 72-year-old blues-rock treasure is the master of the form.

Originally by Canadian roots rockers The Bros. Landreth, the song documents a lover's gradual turn away from a toxic relationship. Raitt's arrangement colors this scene in calm tones of melancholy and resilience; note how she takes a breath in the middle of the phrase, "The break of a heart that won't break now more," crystallizing the feeling of I've had it. Her slide guitar, gently reinforcing her band's solid groove, is what echoes through "the quiet behind a slamming door" as Kenny Greenberg's lead lines do the walking. "Made Up Mind" may be about romantic loss, but its steady rockin' spirit serves anyone craving calm as things fall apart. And who doesn't, right now?

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Ann Powers is NPR Music's critic and correspondent. She writes for NPR's music news blog, The Record, and she can be heard on NPR's newsmagazines and music programs.