With no relation to Shakespeare’s final play The Tempest, Bob Dylan’s 35th album Tempest is giving fellow 70-something Leonard Cohen a run for his money for best record penned by an old guy. There’s no denying that Tempest is Dylan’s darkest piece yet, and for a man of god, he plays a damn good devil.
“Pay in Blood,” Tempest’s most menacing track, has Dylan singing ominously against an up-tempo guitar and piano: “The more I take the more I give/ The more I die the more I live… I’ll pay in blood, but not my own.” The first single, “Soon After Midnight,” paints the wickedly sweet endings of harlots, with lyrics that at first seem lovey-dovey but then turn almost into the words of a maniac à la Jack the Ripper. Is the song meant to entice women to think it’s an alluring piece of music? Listening to the track throws one’s mind into a tailspin, attempting to crack whether Dylan is playing the role of the pied piper or the sweet old man who catcalls you next door.