Tempest - Bob Dylan
Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Sep 13, 2012
    70
    Dylan is in mostly excellent form--even when sloppy; it sounds like he's having the time of his life.
  2. Sep 10, 2012
    70
    If it indulges in itself too much in moments [with long-running songs], Tempest is still a great album, though not the late-career defining collection that early buzz claims.
  3. Sep 13, 2012
    68
    on Tempest, his latest album, Bob Dylan mostly sounds insane. That volatility can yield tremendous rewards-- on the ferocious "Pay in Blood", it clarifies his nihilism, his cruelty-- but it can also be distractingly unruly, inching toward self-mockery, all wild undulation and hairball-retch. Which would be okay-- embraced, even!-- if the rest of Tempest didn't feel so rote.
  4. Sep 6, 2012
    60
    But for a little judicious editing, it's a pleasure we could have shared with him. [Oct 2012, p.99]
  5. Sep 11, 2012
    100
    Tempest is in many respects the most far-reaching, provocative and transfixing album of Dylan's later career.
  6. Sep 19, 2012
    100
    Tempest is Dylan's best musical album of this century, a vibrant maximising of strict rules and the savaged-leather state of that voice. [Oct 2012, p.84]
  7. Sep 4, 2012
    100
    [Tempest is] a thing to behold.
  8. 70
    Tempest is a relentless exploration of bleakness.
  9. Sep 11, 2012
    70
    Tempest is a flawed but mostly fascinating album.
  10. Sep 12, 2012
    80
    As a sonic experience, Tempest kicks most Dylan albums in the cojones.
  11. Sep 12, 2012
    90
    The coherence of Tempest is the hypnotic key to its charm.
  12. 100
    Thirty-five albums in, Dylan remains as magical and mysterious as ever.
  13. Sep 6, 2012
    80
    The music is the same stew of beautifully played blues, rockabilly, folk and country as every Dylan album for the last 12 years.
  14. Sep 11, 2012
    90
    Tempest's epic scale and grandeur makes his few previous albums look like short stories leading up to a great novel.
  15. Sep 11, 2012
    90
    There aren't many records like this one, and if you give it time and it catches you, you'll probably still be listening to it when the deal goes down and your own ship comes in.
  16. 60
    Tempest delivers yet another collection of the ramblers that have populated Dylan's records since Time Out of Mind.
  17. Sep 6, 2012
    60
    This is one of his best albums in many years, although that's not exactly a ringing endorsement.
  18. Sep 10, 2012
    80
    This crustily hammy, crowd-pleasing side of Dylan is one of his most satisfying.
  19. Sep 17, 2012
    85
    We're now at a place where we can pretty well look at Dylan's career as, essentially, an entire body of work--and, even when considering all of the obvious highlights of his past half-century, Tempest still stands out.
  20. Sep 7, 2012
    50
    Though all are blessed with a wry and dusty charm that's hard to dislike, too many are rolled out in a way that seems more to do with autopilot than passion. Narrow Way and Duquesne Whistle mighty be jaunty toe-tappers but they're also examples of the lightweight fluff that blows around the album.
  21. Sep 17, 2012
    80
    On Tempest, Dylan easily puts to rest those detractors who claim that he's merely standing on the shoulders of greater artists.
  22. Sep 17, 2012
    80
    His most recent albums, however, have been uniformly excellent, and that includes Tempest.
  23. Sep 10, 2012
    70
    He sings forcefully, in a raspy, phlegmy bark that's not exactly melodic and by no means welcoming. Battered and unforgiving, he's still Bob Dylan, answerable to no one but himself.
  24. Oct 4, 2012
    67
    As with the albums that have come in its wake, this one will be compared to 1997's Time Out Of Mind, the last truly great Dylan disc. Though not of that caliber, Tempest finds Bob Dylan still very much in the game.
  25. Dec 4, 2012
    90
    Surprisingly, Dylan has never been more deliberate or so overtly savage. [No. 93, p.54]
  26. 75
    The record underscores his real strength, as a musical storyteller.
  27. Sep 25, 2012
    50
    Tempest is a mixed bag of ideas at best, many of which would be better served by someone like Tom Waits.
  28. Dec 5, 2012
    80
    [Tempest has] a sense of dues paid as a continual creative replenishment, rather than a swansong. [Nov 2012, p.63]
  29. Sep 19, 2012
    80
    With its live wet vocal production, bleaker-than-black lyrical mien and varied musical layers, the album could be one of the Minnesotan folk singer's finest ever, a richly diverse and dire epic revolving around the burning suns of love, death, truths and lies with only two weak songs in the bunch.
  30. While at this stage of his career a new Dylan release may only be heard by longtime listeners, it must be judged against all music. Even by such lofty standards, Tempest succeeds enormously, placing it not only in the upper half of Dylan's catalog, but also with the better submissions of 2012.
  31. 80
    It's on "Early Roman Kings" that the various strains come together most effectively, with Hidalgo's organ added to another Muddy Waters blues-stomp groove, and Dylan blurring history again in his depiction of the titular Romans "in their sharkskin suits, bowties and buttons, with their high-top shoes" – neatly underlining the gangsterism of imperial invaders of all eras.
  32. King Lear probably sounded like this after a couple of days on the heath.
  33. Sep 10, 2012
    80
    It's his strongest album since Love and Theft in 2001, and still there's no pinning him down.
  34. 90
    Tempest is fantastic, but being impressed by Dylan is old hat. That he still finds ways to surprise us is an achievement beyond all comprehension.
  35. Sep 7, 2012
    88
    Most of it is an inspired mix of blood and bawdiness.
  36. How much you admire this record will depend on how redolent you find two of them: the quiet jeremiad "Scarlet Town" and the quieter love-triangle cut-'em-up "Tin Angel.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 71 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Sep 11, 2012
    10
    Dylan has always been hit and miss even within his greatest albums. that may be changing. There are simply no misses in Tempest. It's the best Dylan we have seen in years and quite possible the best album of the year. Stunningly good songs with lyrics so achingly sorrowful that you cannot remain unmoved. Beautiful. Full Review »
  2. Sep 11, 2012
    10
    Best Bob Dylan's effort in years. Bob remains as the truest storyteller in recent years and he is still on top of his game both lyrically and musically. Every track on this thing is a killer. Not a single word or chord is meaningless or out of touch. Instant classic and an essential album at the beginning of this decade. Full Review »
  3. Sep 11, 2012
    10
    My opinion is that this is the best Bob Dylan album since Time Out of Mind and in some ways I like it even more than that. Grew on me rather well with the first 7 or 8 listens. Lots of highlights. So many that the album itself is a magnificent highlight and it's the best thing I have heard so far this year, by far. I also think it's one of Dylan's strongest efforts ever that has paid off in big dividends. High praise for great work here. Full Review »