Bob Dylan’s ‘Tempest’ reviews have proved that there’s well and truly life in the old dog yet. The reception to Dylan’s latest record is among the most positive of his long and distinguished career, so why have critics changed their mind on the aging singer-songwriter?
The 71-year-old has been an easy target for years – perhaps for good reason. He’s been known to render his biggest hits almost unrecognisable when playing live, and is often keen to road test new material, despite the hefty ticket prices. Recent records have been batted away by critics as the ramblings of a man past his prime, though ‘Tempest’ has changed all that. Rolling Stone magazine gave the album five stars out of five, simply describing it as a “thing to behold.” The Guardian were equally as complimentary, saying, “The music is the same stew of beautifully played blues, rockabilly, folk and country as every Dylan album for the last 12 years,” while the Los Angeles Times mused, “The record underscores his real strength, as a musical storyteller.” Uncut magazine described the record as one of the finest of 2012, awarding it a perfect ten out of ten stars.
The album’s title initially led to rumors that it would be Dylan’s last, given ‘The Tempest’ was Shakespeare’s final play. However, the singer dispelled the speculation by rather matter-of-factly observing, “Shakespeare's last play was called The Tempest. It wasn't called just plain "Tempest". The name of my record is just plain Tempest. It's two different titles”.