Bob Dylan’s 24th Best Studio / Bootleg Album

A red-tinted picture featuring a statue of a woman looking up. Red font in the center reads "Tempest" and yellow font at the bottom left reads "Bob Dylan."Tempest
2012
Grade — B

The most recent work from the artist’s collection, Tempest is a darkly written album with Dylan’s darkest voice yet. The lyrics are playful but tell tales of murder, love, remembering John Lennon and disasters like the titanic. The multitude of great songs are met with equally unimpressive ones, and if this is indeed his last studio album as The Tempest was Shakespeare’s last play, the audience was given a good LP to feast upon. Much like Lennon’s Double Fantasy, Dylan delivers heartfelt songs, but in his own dark, vague way — and without Yoko.

Produced by himself for the fourth consecutive album, Bobby gives the feeling of a world as dingy as his voice, and the atmosphere is well fitting because of it. The good songs are great, but the others fall flat. A bit of a mixed bag, but enough to justify its spot as a good album overall.

“Narrow Way”, “Roll on John” (the Lennon remembrance) and the title track “Tempest” are all fairly weak tracks for one reason or another. The first of these repeats the same riff far to long for the whole song, though it has some clever lyrics. The second is a very bizarre tribute 20 or so years after John Lennon’s death, which is a disappointing song given the history between the two (Lennon once heavily envied Dylan’s lyrical ability, making songs like “Yesterday” to try and copy him, though Lennon claimed Dylan to be delusional and lost repect for him after Dylan’s conversion to fundamentalist Christianity). “Tempest” is a 14 minute song about the sinking of the Titanic, riddled with fantastic imagery and lyrics, however plagued with repeating, boring, musical accompanyment.

However “Duquesne Whistle”, “Pay in Blood”, “Soon After Midnight” and “Early Roman Kings” are all great pieces, the first being a rather amusing, if not violent, music video for such a happy sounding, upbeat song.

Duquesne Whistle – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mns9VeRguys&feature=kp

Pay in Blood – http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Pay+In+Blood/4QdKZb?src=5

Bob Dylan’s 25th Best Studio / Bootleg Album

A blurry, black-and-white photograph of a taxi cab in front of a city skyline

Modern Times
2006
Grade — B

Dylan’s third consecutive number one charting album came with rave reviews, with some declaring it one of his best works, signifying a stay as one of the elder statesman of rock. The album was praised for its atmosphere, instrumentation, and production (done by Bob Dylan’s other alias, Jack Frost). The critics loved it, his fans loved it, and it’s still placed in some people’s top 10 Dylan albums. So why is it so low on this list?

I never got the appeal. Well, to be fair, I like it, simply because Dylan has his name on it and it isn’t followed with “& the Dead”. It felt rather samey however, taking less risks then the previous endeavors of Time Out of Mind and Love and Theft. It has some good songs, but also some rather boring riffs repeated a little too much.

Which isn’t to say its bad, or even ok. It’s good. There are a lot of catchy songs, witty lyrics and enjoyable melodies, but the previous two did all of that better. It’s just over rated, even being placed at #204 on Rolling Stones’  best albums of all time list. So what are the good pieces that I also tend to agree are worth the praise?

“Thunder on the Mountain”, “Workingman’s Blues #2″, “Someday Baby” and the “cover” of “Rollin’ and Tumblin” are all very good songs. The last of these is loosly based on the 1929 song of the same name by Hambone Willie Newbern, but includes all new verses outside the first two lines of the song. All have the feeling of a still-mastering musician who will play with his audience and their expectations.

A good album, a “B” album.

Thunder on the Mountain – http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Thunder+On+The+Mountain/4elGp9?src=5

Workingman’s Blues #2 – http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Workingman+s+Blues+number+2/4d91Ap?src=5