Tempest

Studio Album by released in 2012

Tempest review

Story that will not end

It would be an exaggeration to call Bob Dylan’s new album release in the autumn of 2023 a huge sensation, an eagerly anticipated and discussed event of the year or, at least, the season, a bomb that blew up the global music community. We are so accustomed to the great America musician giving out new songs and appearing healthy, fit and energetic on stage, that the appearance of his new CD in his vast discography looks like something to be taken for granted, and it is not reasonable to be surprised or furthermore delighted. A situation like that is probably the most significant result and highest acclaim of this extraordinary artist’s music activity. Actually, Tempest is already the thirty fifth studio album (it means we do not count collections, live records and all kinds of bootlegs) from Dylan, which was released exactly fifty years after his debut record appeared. Yet for Dylan himself, as well as those who like and cherish his music, this is but another regular task completed, another chapter in a thick book. Well, we would love to read it.

Dylan is an amazing story teller

The predominance of dark colors and extreme length of some of the tracks on Tempest bring about instant association with releases of progressive rock or doom metal acts, but we are talking about a Bob Dylan album after all! As a matter of fact, when it comes to the music of the record, it, naturally, has nothing to do with aforementioned genres, but it swiftly casts us back into remote times, one can say, the times of rock progenitors. Just like good old friends, folk (Tempest), country (Scarlet Town), and blues (Narrow Way) meet at the stylistic crossroads of this album. Still, much more often the songs here simply unite them into a whole to decorate the scenes of Bob’s tales. Speaking of the lyrics, the musician is in his poetic prime. One should also mention that as the album develops further and further, it is more and more vivid how dark it grows. In the self-titled song of the album Dylan dedicates to Titanic a tremendous epic poem abstaining from even breaking it into traditional choruses and verses. In the surrealistic, seemingly endless, Tin Angel a wicked love triangle is shaped up where, as if by an evil axiom, there is a tragic end. The closing song, Roll On, John, elaborately describes the killing of John Lennon. Bob’s naturally aged voiceв, huskier than ever, is a perfect voice to tell such stories.

A fifty-year old chat

Tempest was recorded involving the band with which Bob is currently touring, which makes the sensation even stronger that we listen to songs of an old collective whose members learned long ago how to understand one another automatically. However, somewhere in the middle of the album you come to understand that the music loses its importance while the whole attention is translated to Dylan’s voice. Bob is deep into telling his stories, and it is apparent that the music will be here just as long as the tale takes, and it will play exactly the way the singer’s voice requires. This practically means that Tempest will be difficult to appraise a work of music art, to consider it as something new in the development of Dylan as a creator, especially when you see how eagerly he comes back to the old and good on this album all the time. Tempest is unique in the sense that sooner or later this record becomes for the musician’s fans a specific act of communication, a dialogue where one is only listening and the other one is only talking, and neither could or would exchange their role at least for a short while. The new offer of the legendary Bob Dylan is just another message to all adorers of his music who do not seem to ever get tired of listening to him.