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