Here’s the deal with this record. Tempest is a solid addition to the Dylan canon. It proves that the man can still write great songs with rich lyrics. As always, he is personal, yet completely mysterious. Also worth noting: there are numerous songs about murders. Tempest might possibly be Dylan’s bloodiest record. If you pay attention to many of the songs’ story lines, you will notice that body count quickly adds up.
That being said, there is still plenty to appreciate in Tempest. “After Midnight” with its pretty melody waltzes along like a summer night. “Pay In Blood” rocks like Bob Dylan fronting the Bridges of Babylon-era Rolling Stones. “Early Roman Kings” and “Narrow Way” are two groovin’ blues rock tracks that sound like they could have been recorded at Chess Studios in the 1950s. “Scarlet Town” has some incredible lyrics, including the biting: “Set ‘em Joe, play “Walkin’ the Floor”. Play it for my flat-chested junkie whore.” It is very dark, but still poetic.
Tempest, has its flaws, but is anchored by many more moments of undeniable brilliance. So yeah, at the end of the day, Dylan’s still got it.
Essential tracks: “After Midnight”, “Narrow Way” and “Scarlet Town”