Bob Dylan's "Tempest" album comes out 9/11/12
By Andrew W. Griffin
Red Dirt Report, editor
Posted: August 3, 2012
OKLAHOMA CITY – Incredibly, singer-songwriter and American icon Bob Dylan is releasing his 35th studio album, called Tempest, according to a new article in Rolling Stone, on Sept. 11, 2012, exactly 11 years to the day after his Love and Theft LP was released.
Should we look at that as meaning anything?
When the Rolling Stone interviewer Mikal Gilmore notes that some of the references in the the title track, “Tempest,” are not historically accurate. At this comment, Dylan fires back: “But a songwriter doesn’t care about what’s truthful. What he cares about is what should’ve happened, what could’ve happened. That’s its own kind of truth. It’s like people who read Shakespeare plays, but they never see a Shakespeare play. I think they just use his name.”
Gilmore then notes that Dylan’s mention of Shakespeare raises a question: The English playwright’s final work was called The Tempest, and some have already asked if Dylan’s Tempest is “intended as a last work by the now 71-year-old artist?”
Dylan dismissed Gilmore’s suggestion, responding: “Shakespeare’s last play was called The Tempest. It wasn’t called just plain Tempest. The name of my record is just plain Tempest. It’s two different titles.”
But is it deliberate? Has Bob Dylan plugged into the synchromystic zeitgeist that points to a storm on the horizon? A tempest, as it were? And a “tempest” in reference to the Titanic disaster? Of course we linked that event to the Costa Concordia disaster earlier this year.
And of course the idea of a “tempest” is something we have been talking about in regards to the current London Summer Olympics. Of course in the opening ceremony we have actor Kenneth Branagh read a line from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. We have the line, from The Tempest’s Caliban (freakish offspring of a powerful witch and a devil): “Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises.” That line is also inscribed on the large bell at Olympic Stadium in London. Of course the "aisles" in Theatre No. 9 were full of noises early in the morning of July 20th - something that Twilight Language predicted.
The chief character of The Tempest, as we have previously noted, is Prospero. Shakespeare (or was it Francis Bacon?) is said to have based Prospero on Queen Elizabeth 1’s “secret agent 007” John Dee, back in the 16th Century (not unlike Aurora’s “Century 16 theater … number 9, number 9, number 9 …). That is something we have discussed at length here. And now we have film's James Bond (monosyllabic first and last names - like John Dee) as Secret Agent 007 with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, jumping out of a helicopter over Olympic stadium. A synchromystic echo over the centuries?
So, let’s look at Dylan’s upcoming Tempest album. You have song titles including “Soon After Midnight.” “Long and Wasted Years.” Scarlet Town.” Early Roman Kings.” Of course there is “Tempest” and the song “Pay in Blood” with the line “I’ll pay in blood, but not my own.” And note “Scarlet Town.” This would echo the blood spilled in Aurora – a “red dawn” event – in the state of Colorado (Spanish for “colored red”).
And wrapping things up on Tempest is “Roll On, John,” Dylan’s tribute to his friend John Lennon, the slain Beatle who was on the verge of a comeback in 1980. In the song, Dylan quotes a line from Lennon’s “Come Together,” the same track up-and-coming British rock act Arctic Monkeys performed during the Olympics opening ceremony. Seeing a pattern here?
There is a dark vibe to Tempest, just reading the song titles alone. Dylan said he originally wanted to make a religious album. I’m not sure for what “religion.” Is he still a Christian? Does it matter? We do know he said in a 1983 interview: “Whoever said I was Christian? Like Gandhi, I’m Christian, I’m Jewish, I’m a Moslem, I’m a Hindu, I am a humanist.” This was the same year he released Infidels, an album that was evidence of the end of Dylan's Christian journey. Or was it?
And then there are those who say Dylan alluded to “selling his soul to the devil” (“chief commander”) during a 60 Minutes interview with Ed Bradley. See it here and decide for yourself. I don't necessarily think it's the "devil," Robert Johnson-style. Knowing Dylan, he can be sly with his wording. Now, as for a lot of these new pop stars and hip-hop kings, we'll let Vigilant Citizen look at that.
Regardless of what is going on on Tempest, it sounds like it could be one of Dylan’s best latter-day recordings. We look forward to seeing him and Mark Knopfler in Tulsa this fall.
Copyright 2012 Red Dirt Report