Update 9/10/2012: My own review of Tempest is here.
Tempest by Bob Dylan on vinyl LP
More music journalists are coming out of the closet with their reactions after having had a “listening session” with Bob Dylan’s forthcoming album, Tempest. Michael Simmons in Mojo says bluntly that the album is “astonishing.” Anne Margaret Daniel in Ireland’s Hot Press uses words like “breathtaking, mythmaking, heartbreaking” and even “perfect.” It seems they like it. Neil McCormick in The Telegraph has similarly waxed rhapsodic.
Though I read McCormick’s piece in full, I have to admit I’m merely skimming these newer ones, which look quite detailed on a track by track basis. How much can you read about an album you haven’t yourself heard before you become hopelessly bogged down with expectations? Not being one of the anointed to hear the album in advance of its release, I’m looking forward instead to my own private listening session on the day of release (September 11th in the U.S.), as are so many others. I think it would be true to say that the expectations for this album could hardly get any higher now, which is not always a good thing; however, in Dylan’s case, he’s made quite a few great, great albums that fundamentally exceed any expectation that anyone could have had. Therefore, it’s not so unrealistic to have great expectations. It’s probably more the preconceptions that you can accumulate from these reviews which might risk weighing you down when you actually hear the thing yourself.