Bob Dylan is on an incredible run. Since 1997 he has released three stone-cold classic albums and one very good album, then there is Tempest. Tempest is not a bad record but it clearly pales in comparison to the giants that preceded it.
The record is worth the price of admission just to hear Dylan snarl “I pay in blood… but not my own…” in one of the albums better tracks “Pay In Blood.” Other highlights are the very “Love & Theft”-esque “Duquesne Whistle” and “Early Roman Kings.” “Early Roman Kings” may well serve as the centerpiece of the album with its steady boogie that is like a proud peacock strut throughout.
Toward the end of Tempest things get sketchy. The combination of “Tin Angel” and “Tempest” spin for a bloated 23 minutes and don’t carry their weight on the album. “Tin Angel” is a soap opera worthy triangle of love that can’t even be saved by mass bloodshed. “Tempest” unfortunately is one of the worst songs Dylan has recorded since his lull in the 1980s. It is a retelling of the Titanic movie (no, I’m not kidding.) It is a stale reading of a story we all know that doesn’t reveal much else. It is an anti-climactic 13 minute stroll that turns into an endurance test.
The record would actually be stronger without those two songs. The remaining record still may not be the classic Dylan of the last 15 years but still make Tempest worth a listen for any music fan.
Key Tracks: “Pay In Blood” “Early Roman Kings”