Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan


Sony Music

Bob Dylan began his career in 1962 and has been confounding his listeners ever since. Now, at the age of 71, he has released his 35th album, Tempest. The pattern that has been the hallmark of his last several records, since 2001’s Love And Theft, at least, is again evident on his latest. Where the Dylan of the ’60s and ’70s was engaging, passionate and vital, the elder Bob seems content with epic tales of the sinking of the Titanic (the title cut) or songs about trains (“Duquesne Whistle”).

Highway 61 Revisited it ain’t.

There is nothing particularly wrong with Tempest. True, Dylan’s “voice” is barely more than a Marlboro-heavy croak, and despite the big names — Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo and Charlie Sexton among others — the band and the arrangements sound like an afterthought. He sings every lyric unadorned and plain, somehow relying on the words to command our attention, but they fail.

He tosses out lines such as “I pay in blood, but not my own” (“Pay in Blood”) but never follows it up. Paid what? And whose blood? Rather than being allegorical, it just sounds like another catchy phrase on an album full of them, and little else. The most compelling song on the album, “Scarlet Town,” reminds you somewhat of the Dylan of yore, but with lyrics such as “Set ’em Joe, play ‘Walkin’ the Floor’/Play it for my flat-chested junkie whore,” it makes you wonder if Dylan really cares for the end result of his efforts.

And if that’s the case, then why should we?

Bob Dylan:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band
    Preservation Hall Jazz Band

    So It Is (Legacy). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017
    From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017

    For the twelfth year, the South East European Film Festival (SEEfest) in Los Angeles showcased an impressive lineup of new features and shorts. Lily and Generoso Fierro provide a festival wrap up and their picks for the films that you cannot miss.

  • Justin Townes Earle
    Justin Townes Earle

    Kids In The Street (New West Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Christian Scott
    Christian Scott

    Rebel Ruler (Ropeadope / Stretch Music). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Kivanç Sezer
    Kivanç Sezer

    Turkish director Kivanç Sezer’s powerful debut feature, My Father’s Wings, puts the spotlight on the workplace safety crisis that is currently taking place in his homeland. Lily and Generoso Fierro spoke with Sezer at SEEFest 2017 about his film and his need to draw attention to this issue.

  • Temples

    Supporting their just-released sophomore record, UK synth-pop poster boys, Temples, attracted an SRO crowd to one of Orlando’s premier nightspots.

  • Rat Film
    Rat Film

    Baltimore. Rats. A match made in Maryland.

  • Bishop Briggs
    Bishop Briggs

    Bishop Briggs brings a stacked bill of up and comers to Orlando for a sold-out party at The Social. Jen Cray joins in the fun.

  • Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World
    Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

    There’s more than black music influencing the evolution of Rock and Roll. Native American rhymes and ideas are every bit as significant, once you know to look for them.

  • Keith Morris
    Keith Morris

    Ink 19 slings a few questions to the punk rock pioneer Keith Morris on Trump, Calexit and looking back.

From the Archives