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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Album Review: Bob Dylan - Tempest (2012)

Beginning with a nasal, amateur yodel, evolving into a mellow country croon, moving through to the more balanced vocals of the 1970s, onto the butch prison lesbian with laryngitis sound of the 1980s, and finally to the “car progressively driving down a gravel road sound” of today, Bob Dylan’s voice, it can be said, has been through more change than an alcoholic hobo with kleptomania.  Some might say that he should give up before he becomes inaudible.  Some may say he should take up recording death metal.  And of course, everybody else will say he should keep going until either he drops dead or Jesus comes back, whichever comes first.

And despite being 71 years old, his latest (and possibly his greatest) creation is a corker of an album.  Highly diverse and darker than a photophobic hermit’s bumcrack, Tempest takes Dylan to a new creative high, telling stories about the Titanic and throwing John Lennon into the equation for good measure.  “Duquesne Whistle” starts off with a Canned Heat on meth jingle and carries on with Bob singing an inverted rendition of "Thunder on the Mountain"  in the style of Louis Armstrong missing a testicle.  The bluesy “Early Roman Kings” balances out the tempo against the former, “Tempest” tells an enlightening story about the sinking of the Titanic, and “Roll on John” is probably the best “Lennon” song since Elton John’s “Empty Garden.”  And there’s the rest of the record, for which it should be a legal requirement to play from start to finish the first time around.  I recommend “Tin Angel”, “Pay in Blood” and “Narrow Way.”  Bob is old, but his music is gold. A

Monday, September 3, 2012

Album Review: Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball (2012)

The Boss is well known for writing material dealing with the everyday concerns of the working class folk, and his latest offering also attacks the institutes held collectively responsible by many in society for today’s economic woes.  Wrecking Ball stands out for its blatantly angry moments of accusative frustration, which is distinctly uncharacteristic for a Springsteen album.  Fusing the acoustic sobriety of Devils and Dust with melodic poignancy of the likes of Born In The U.S.A,  The record follows a sinusoidal pattern of emotionally uplifting low grade power ballads, polarized with more subtle and mellow acoustic numbers.  A little too repetitive lyrics wise in a number of places for my liking, it still stands out as a notable effort from the Boss, an artist who is held in high esteem, and quite rightly so.  “We Take Care of Our Own”, “Easy Money”, “Rocky Ground” and the outrageously Irish “American Land” represent the finest from Springsteen’s latest work.  A-