Album Review: Tempest

On his latest album Tempest, Bob Dylan creates an interesting dynamic with his trademark raspy voice and allusions to William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”

After five decades of performing, Dylan is said to be one of the pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll, using a fusion of rhythm, blues and country string instruments to create his own sound.

Having recorded 35 studio albums to date, Dylan is something of a human music box, effectively crafting album after album. His spectacular and dynamic voice still conveys tremendous emotion.

Dylan is a master at writing beautifully cultivated love songs. The album’s second track, “Soon After Midnight,” is a perfect example: It creates a unity between melancholy lyrics and the country twang of acoustic guitars. Even at this early point in the album, there is a sort of inbred sadness to Dylan’s voice, relating back to the album title that suggests some sort of end.

The lyrics in “Pay In Blood” push the image of death, but further listening coveys that the blood Dylan croons about is not his own. This might make Dylan seem cruel, almost ironically since the tune doesn’t scream murder like his lyrics. The words and melodies pull at each other, sending a conflicting but intriguing message.

“Early Roman Kings,” another album standout, sounds like a folk song from the bayous of Louisiana. It doesn’t suggest death as bluntly as previous tracks do.

“Tempest,” is the album’s penultimate song. It is a massive track just shy of 14 minutes. As cliche as it sounds, the song is one of the album’s strongest tracks as it delivers some finality to the message of death Dylan spends the album alluding to.

Longtime fans may be disappointed with Dylan’s work, but overall, the album is multifaceted and a good listen.