Metacritic's aggregation of reviews of Bob Dylan's more recent albums:
Love & Theft = 93%
Modern Times = 89%
Together Through Life = 76%
Christmas in the Heart = 62%
Tempest = 84%
When reading about new Dylan albums, it may be best to lop off at least 10% of the average reviewer's rating to account for respect, awe and a fear of blacklisting by the Dylan camp. That said, Tempest proves that the blood is still dancing in Dylan`s veins. Sure, this isn't exactly Jack Palance dropping and giving the Academy twenty one-handed push-ups but it`s still more vigorous then we`ve any right to expect, especially after the not-as-bad-as-we`d-feared Christmas in the Heart and the worse-than-we`d-feared Together Through Life. For a late career album, Tempest, solidly engineered by Scott Litt, is a piece of some heft, akin to Modern Times (overpraised upon its release but undervalued now) though it may not be a match for the wit and fire of `Love and Theft`.
``Duquesne Whistle`` is the first new Dylan composition worthy of his name since the highlights of Modern Times. `Narrow Way`is a nice reminder that Dylan can still roll out some nice lines (``I can`t work up to you - you`ll surely have to work down to to me someday`) while recycling the blues. We do get some of that romantic crooner material, like `Soon After Midnight`` but that`s counterbalanced by the re-emergence of the angry Dylan here in fire-spiting songs like, `Pay in Blood` (`I pay in blood but not my own``) and ``The Angel`` (`He`s a gutless ape with a worthless mind`). The oft-discussed Titanic-themed song `Tempest`, while intriguing is just too damn long at forty-five chorus-less verses in just over fourteen minutes to not drag the album down a little. The other historical song, `Roll on, John` just seems to be mashing up words and ideas about John Lennon to limited effect. The last two tracks aside, Dylan`s delivered an album that adds to his body of work
It might be a bit generous but a 74% and a ``recommended for mid-level Dylan-ites`` seems fitting.
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