Bob Dylan has had a career that any musician would kill for. He shows why he deserves all of this praise with his 35th album, “Tempest.” Dylan’s songwriting has always been what has distinguished him from others for years, and this album does not disappoint. Dylan focuses on themes of love, death, and the past to paint the overall image of the album. The album has a dark feel to it that works in unison with the songwriting. The only criticism you could make of Dylan in gen- eral would be the withering of his vocals, but on this album his vocals are as strong as the words he speaks.
The album begins with lead single “Duquesne Whistle,” a very simple song. Its lyrics start the album with a strong reminiscent feel, which continues for the duration of the album. Dylan’s focus in the beginning of the album shifts to past loves, and his song writing shines through in songs such as “Soon After Midnight” and “Long And Wasted Years.” The album takes a darker turn and builds tension with thought- provoking lyrics that fans will be trying to decipher for some time. Songs such as “Scarlet Town” and “Early Roman Kings” are sure to be favorites for serious Bob Dylan fans. The album shines with his perfect story telling. The album ends strongly with three songs that are longer than seven minutes which demonstrate that age has not slowed Dylan. These three songs are easily the best on the album, and could be considered instant classics for Dylan’s extensive collection.
The first of the three-part finale is the song “Tin Angel,” which starts innocently as a lost lover’s story but progresses into a love triangle that ends fatally. The second of the trio is the title track, “Tempest.” In this, the longest song on the album (14 minutes), Dylan shows the world why he is still the best storyteller. The song is a chorus-free account of the sinking of the Titanic that takes listeners through the emotional last moments of all the passengers aboard. This song would be, hands down pick for the best on the album if it was not for the last song, “Roll On John.” “Roll On John” is a partial biog- raphy, dedicated to John Lennon, which references specific Beatles lyrics.
Besides the three-part finale, some standouts from “Tempest” were “Duquense Whistle” and “Soon After Midnight.” Many believe that Dylan cannot still surprise, with such a long career behind him, but he does just that with “Tempest.”
Very few artists have maintained the level of impact that Bob Dylan has had over the years. Bob Dylan career did not need another album to solidify him as one of the best artists in American history, but this album does.