Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: “The Tempest”
Format: Vinyl (Spotify)
Few artists enjoy a career renaissance in their 60s and 70s the way Bob Dylan has. Sure, his voice sounds like he’s gargling a flask of whiskey, but he makes it work because it was the content of his lyrics, not the quality of his voice, that mattered most.
His 35th studio slab, “Tempest,” issued last year, continues the trend of his self-produced efforts from the ’00s, a stew of Americana, blues and country rock. The record starts with a dated-sounding 40 seconds of guitar work flown in from something Dylan might’ve unearthed for his now-concluded “Theme Time Radio Hour” XM Satellite Radio show before snare hits get “Duquesne Whistle” moving full-steam ahead.
The biggest accomplishment here is the title track, a 14-minute folksy sea shanty that recounts the fate of the Titanic. With his death rattle voice, it seems as much a cautionary tale for life itself as a retelling of the ship’s ill-fated voyage.
Sure this marks the fourth straight record of this type for Dylan, but when you do it as well as he does, you’re entitled to a measure of success at any point in your career, no matter how young or old.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.