Bob Dylan's 'Tempest' album not Shakespeare but still poetic, according to reviewers
"Lyrically, Dylan is at the top of his game," writes Rolling Stone's Will Hermes, giving the album five out of five stars. "Joking around, dropping wordplay and allegories that evade pat readings and quoting other folks' words like a freestyle rapper on fire."
USA Today's Edna Gundersen gives "Tempest" four out of four stars, calling it "violent," "steeped in tradition and bent toward blues."
"Whereas his latter-day records bore simple, direct lyrics, here Dylan enthusiastically dances with language in sharp, colorful couplets that flesh out each song with ominous observations and ribald riffs," Gundersen writes.
The New York Times Jon Pareles writes, "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."
Whatever you call "Tempest," though, don't call it Shakespeare.
"Shakespeare's last play was called 'The Tempest,'" Dylan recently tells Rolling Stone. "It wasn't called just plain 'Tempest.' The name of my record is just plain 'Tempest.' It's two different titles."