Bob Dylan
Tempest


4.0
excellent

Review

by Brendan Schroer STAFF
November 19th, 2012 | 24 replies | 5,410 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dylan's best album in years, Tempest is not only a great return to form but an amazing triumph given the sheer amount of work the man's already produced.

It can be tough for musicians to accept getting older sometimes. With more wisdom, there also comes the lack of the youthful energy present in older works. Then the ideas can start drying up due to how much material was already released, and eventually it's time to call it quits.

Well, Bob Dylan seems to ignore this notion; the dude's in his 70's and yet he presses on. No matter how little energy or voice he has left, his Never-Ending Tour still continues and he still records albums, for better or for worse. Even if he can't always keep up with the times anymore or produce records as great as many of his 60's and 70's classics, his attempts can be commendable. This brings to his 35th album, the mammoth record Tempest.

And I say "mammoth" for a reason. The songs are quite long compared to a lot of his other recent releases, including the 14-minute title epic. This, however, is not really a problem because of how well these tunes flow. So many years later, Dylan's songwriting still manages to be top-notch, even taking a more epic, grand vibe this time around. Even in what initially appears to be a humble opener, "Duquesne Whistle," Bob Dylan manages to take the western atmosphere and adds his keen sense of dynamics to build the tune up in a subtle manner and give it a, for lack of better words, emotionally powerful feeling.

The rest of the album is quite consistent; even with some of the more "grand" tracks, a lot of the material plays it safe. However, considering Dylan's career, is that really a bad thing considering his previous experimentation? Most of the music ranges between rock, folk, and country, country especially being more prominent than usual. While Dylan's voice is not exactly great these days, it's fitting for the gruff style of many of the tunes, giving the rugged feel of the western grit that a lot of the album goes for. "Narrow Way" pulls this off very well, mixing earthy lyricism with twangy guitar lines and Dylan's raspy vocal melodies for an atmosphere befitting of the darker side of folk music.

Dylan is at his best lyrically on this album, providing thrilling narratives mixed in with some very brooding poetry, even more brooding than usual for him. Songs like "Scarlet Town" and "Long And Wasted Years" are quite dark and even sad at times, perhaps due to Dylan's age giving him time to reflect on the world he'll leave behind soon. "Long And Wasted Years" especially conveys that, containing a hopeful swinging blues melody with messages of looking back on love, loss, and how time has passed. His lyrical work in general seems very emotive and passionate, although that's to be expected from Bob Dylan considering what he's done in the past.

If there's any weak point on the album, it's in the lack of energy from previous albums. This is obviously expected due to Dylan's age and previous duds he's made musically, but it can really show here sometimes. Also, some of the songs drag a little bit, mainly the epics in the second half of the album. It's not that they're bad, but just a little tedious when repeating motifs multiple times, and compared to the short and mid-length songs, they get somewhat boring.

Even with that said, this is a triumph of an album considering how late it is in Dylan's career. The fact that his 35th offering is just as solid as a lot of his classic work is extremely impressive, and he should be applauded for making his first fantastic record since 1997's Time Out of Mind, or even to some, since 1975's Blood on the Tracks. Bob Dylan fan or not, buy this album... you won't regret it.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
ComeBiteTheApple100
November 19th 2012



98 Comments


One of the most overrated album of the year by far. It's got it's good times, but I feel most people are just giving this a good review because you're less of a person for not sucking on the nipples of Bob Dylan.

However, your review is the first I've seen with justification of opinion and not just "you fail if you don't 100% love everything about Bob Dylan". Pos'd.

ButteryBiscuitBass
November 19th 2012



9757 Comments


Great review man. Have checked a few tunes, but not the full record yet, definitely interested now. Good work.

breakingthefragile
November 19th 2012



2950 Comments


FINALLY, a review for this album, and a good one thankfully. Have a pos.

Digging: Glassjaw - Everything You Ever Wanted To Know...

ViperAces
November 19th 2012



12376 Comments


Dude has a million records.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
November 19th 2012



3344 Comments


Nice review, and it's nice to see this one finally get a review, have a pos. never really liked Dylan's voice in the first place though and now it's even worse.

NightmareCinema16
November 19th 2012



2016 Comments


Nice one. POS.

Comatorium.
November 19th 2012



4090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

The thing people dont get is that this is who dylan always wanted to be... that old guy with the gruff voice that sings the blues.

newjunkaesthetic93
November 19th 2012



1871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I love this album so much. Obviously it's not his best, but for a guy that's been releasing music for fifty years this is ridiculously good.

Transistor910
November 19th 2012



54 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Long And Wasted Years" is his best song in years. Saw him for the 4th or 5th time last night and he was the best I have seen him so far. He's using a grand piano more than keyboards this tour - his vocals sounded the best since I've been seeing him live (perhaps getting better adjusting old songs with his new voice) and the man is just a legend.

Good review as well. I tend to agree that the back half of the album can be a little tedious at times, but not bad.

YoYoMancuso
November 19th 2012



10878 Comments


nice review man. Dylan is a masterful songwriter. pos'd

TheCount
November 19th 2012



36 Comments


Great review. I'm glad to hear this is actually good. I was under the impression Dylan's had a bit of a fall from grace in recent years, so it's good to hear that he's still got it.

JackSparrow
November 19th 2012



1686 Comments


Pretty sure everyone holds Dylan in high esteem so if this is a 4 I will certainly give it a listen. Have a pos

NevermindAlex
November 20th 2012



8 Comments


Well written, OP passes.

Digging: Anubis Gate - Horizons

MagmaWalrus
November 30th 2012



236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pay In Blood is unbelievably good.

Digging: The Lighthouse and the Whaler - This is an Adventure

Transistor910
December 1st 2012



54 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agreed. I think "Pay In Blood" and "Long And Wasted Years" are two of his best in a real long time. I say that as a fan of all of his current work as well.

bodiesinflight57
December 19th 2012



869 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Rather shocked people think this is really good. The music is dull as anything I've heard in the last twelve months.

bodiesinflight57
December 21st 2012



869 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Out of all the adjectives in the world, I think 'fun' would be very near the bottom of the list I'd use to describe this!

Ah well.

FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2013



9687 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ You really think it's that mediocre? I don't know, I thought it was a great return to form for the master himself

Underflow
May 20th 2013



2527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great album. There's plenty of standouts: Pay in Blood, Tin Angel, Scarlet Town, Duquesne Whistle

FiveLeavesLeft
Staff Reviewer
January 3rd 2014



9687 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome stuff



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