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Old 09-11-2012, 09:47 PM   #16
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A little clarification here: the main issue with Together Through Life isn't really the border town sound, which admittedly wears me out well before the album is over. More importantly, it's the writing and the slightness of the songs.

The big improvement with Tempest is the storytelling and narrative devices. What Dylan unleashes here are fascinating, evocative tales, with Pay In Blood and Tin Angel two of the meanest, most vengeful things he's ever recorded.

The title track, the 14-minute epic about Titanic, is a lot of fun. I love the reference to DiCaprio (though he takes it in a whole new direction), and it's a nice mixture of humor, history, tragedy, and poetry. Perhaps not as deep musically as his other recent long tracks like Highlands or Ain't Talkin', but I'd probably choose to hear it over Joey from the Desire album.

Track #3, Narrow Way, reminds me a lot of Tombstone Blues. And no surprise, it's not an improvement. But it's upbeat and fun and at near the top of the album doesn't bug. Early Roman Kings, at least musically, is the clunker here for me. Not only does it bring back the sound of Together Through Life, but its simple blues arrangement is something that's been done a million times, and Dylan himself has done it before. It adds virtually nothing to his repertoire.

The closer, Roll On John is occasionally cliche (especially with the "shine your light" and "burn so bright" in the chorus), but what saves the song is the fact that Dylan doesn't get overtly personal too often, and there's a clear love here for the memory of John Lennon, and the music (esp that little piano part in the background) makes this sound like something that could have come from Lennon himself during the Imagine/Mind Games/Walls and Bridges period. It's a nice way to go out.

This probably has the same number of highlights as Modern Times, but I'd say it's a bit more diverse and energetic. Is there anything on here as good as Spirit On The Water or Workingman's Blues? Tough call.
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:04 AM   #17
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Very excited to hear this after that post Laz. It seems to be getting good notices but good to hear from a fan.

I didn't really care much for Together Through Life either, but I do rank Time Out of Mind over Love & Theft.
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:14 AM   #18
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This is hot, hot stuff.
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Old 09-12-2012, 11:12 PM   #19
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Fuck yeah, this is on Spotify. I'm definitely listening to it later tonight. Might even smoke a little bit of grass before. Who's to say?
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Old 09-12-2012, 11:48 PM   #20
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Who's to say where the ZIMM! will take you
Who's to say how much weed will bake you
I don't know
How many trees I'll blow
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Old 09-12-2012, 11:51 PM   #21
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I probably won't listen to this, so I'll listen to this instead

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Old 09-13-2012, 01:14 AM   #22
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I'm surprised you haven't asked if Tempest is a good entry point into the Dylan discography.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:19 AM   #23
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I guess Down in the Groove didn't take.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:24 AM   #24
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I tried starting with Under The Red Sky, (because Christgau liked it) but wasn't a fan. Won't be pursuing him further.
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:44 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobl04 View Post
I tried starting with Under The Red Sky, (because Christgau liked it) but wasn't a fan. Won't be pursuing him further.
That's like saying you tried starting to get into David Bowie with Never Let Me Down, couldn't get into it and won't be pursuing him further. Geez...

Better entry points are Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde On Blonde, Blood On The Tracks or Oh Mercy (released only 1 year before Under The Red Sky but a world of difference).
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:51 AM   #26
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Sarcasm missed

I actually own Highway 61 on vinyl.
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:52 AM   #27
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You should Revisit that.
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:54 AM   #28
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I should, I've only played it once
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:56 AM   #29
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Old 09-15-2012, 04:18 AM   #30
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Holy fuck, the title track is just phenomenal. The classic melody and piano line, the rhythm of it, the way it floats along, the repetition of certain sections of lyric with the "chorus", the violin...it's mesmerizing. It's fun, but there's a lot here to dissect. One of the best and most memorable Dylan songs of the last 20 years.
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