Announcement from bobdylan.com today (July 17, 2012):

Columbia Records announced today that Bob Dylan’s new studio album, Tempest, will be released on September 11, 2012. Featuring ten new and original Bob Dylan songs, the release of Tempest coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the artist’s eponymous debut album, which was released by Columbia in 1962...

...This year, Bob Dylan was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor. He was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.” He was also the recipient of the French Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres in 1990, Sweden’s Polar Music Award in 2000 and several Doctorates including the University of St. Andrews and Princeton University as well as numerous other honors.

John Baldwin's Desolation Row Information Service e-mail newsletter this morning adds that according to Harold Lepidus at the Dylan Examiner (who broke this yesterday), the track list for the new album is this:

1. Duquesne Whistle
2. Soon After Midnight
3. Narrow Way
4. Long and Wasted Years
5. Pay in Blood
6. Scarlet Town
7. Early Roman Kings
8. Tin Angel
9. Tempest
10. Roll on John

These are all reported to be new and original" compositions by Dylan, and produced by Jack Frost" (ie. Dylan). It was recorded in the early part of this year. The release date of September 11 falls exactly 11 years after that of his incomparably best 21st Century album, Love and Theft."


  1. Interesting album title, which conjures some heavy literary connections. Shakespeare -- shipwrecks -- The Wasteland -- "Death by Water". This is all fairly Dylanesque territory (and would seem to tie in with the rumors of a Titanic song...), and we haven't even heard the music yet! Or he could have just thought the word was cool (....which it is, of course).

  2. Yes, and of course soon we'll be thinking 'And what about the outtakes?'

  3. we'll be listen to them in 10 or so years on a forthcoming Bootleg Series Album

  4. Rolling Stone says "The title track is a 14-minute epic about the sinking of the Titanic, which actually refers to a scene from James Cameron's 1997 film Titanic at one point." Oh lordie - a Celine Dion reprise?

  5. Anonymous19 July, 2012

    Intriguing song titles, excellent title for the album itself, a long song about the Titanic, attractive cover, the release date coinciding with that of "Love and "Theft"...

    What, er, could possibly go wrong?

    Rambling Gambling Gordon

  6. I must say, I'm looking forward to this one. In fact, I'm already playing it in my head without ever hearing it! Dylan still provokes rashes in his fans when he releases a new record. The speculations are gone into overdrive, and that's just because the title is Tempest (Shakespeare? Beethoven?), the song titles and the cover are known.

    Wouldn't it be great if this one was a hollerin' hoot? Early Roman Kings, indeed!

  7. "Wouldn't it be great if this one was a hollerin' hoot?"

    Not for me. I think the awful Together Through Life was Dylan's idea of a hollerin' hoot. What would really be great is an album that doesn't sound anything like any other he's made - he used to do that - and with some quiet & thoughful, unshowbiz songs (he did that too).

    But as Doris Day sang, que sera, sera. Indeed it already es. We just haven't heard it yet.

  8. To me, TTL was a very conservative album. Since L&T, he's been more conservative in his approach, like he's trying to replicate a formula that's working. He doesn't sound spontaneous to me, at all. I don't know if he's been about consolidating his reputation, or lazy, or lacking in imagination, but for instance, when I got Modern Times - five years after L&T - I was disappointed as much in how careful it sounded, as in the lack of originality it exposed, apart from Nettie Moore (which isn't original at all, but it's an example of his process when it works).

    But yeah, I'd love this one to sound different to anything. I'd also love it to have the physicality of L&T, which sounds live almost, and I REALLY can't wait to hear Early Roman Kings.

    I mean, who else, right?

  9. Anonymous19 July, 2012

    Christmas In The Heart certainly sounded different. I thought the arrangements were exceptionally good on that record.

    Patrick Ford

  10. Anonymous24 July, 2012

    Allan Jones has published a few teaser impressions on his Uncut blog. Even allowing for Allan's reputation for loving all things Dylan, it still whets the appetite no end...

    PS TTL is a good album! Not groundbreaking or major statement making but a nice, compact foot tapper which holds its own quite nicely thank you very much...

    Be good.


  11. Please read the Mojo and Hotpress online previews asap....

    Judas Priest

  12. Dear Judas
    I have now read them. Yesterday I read the one in Hotpress by Anne Margaret Daniel, and as I tweeted to her in response, I admired the way she could say so much after just one hearing, and I appreciated her bringing in her knowledge of other literary figures (for example in her comparison of Dylan's using older material in memorialising Lennon with Shelley's in memorialising Keats).

    I also loved the wit of Dylan's blended lines as she quoted them from that song, was much cheered and reassured by her description of 'Tempest' itself - and found myself hoping throughout, of course, that she was justified in her infectious level of enthusiasm. Yet she also seemed to feel unreservedly satisfied with 'Early Roman Kings', a track I find hard to admire (and yes, do feel belongs on TTL - ie. in the cupboard) - so...

    Then this morning I read the MOJO preview, and its predominant tone was of one of those Bob-can-do-no-wrong-it's-all-good special pleadings, which deflated me more or less completely and made the album sound far less interesting. Even more gloom-inducing was to read a number of the comments underneath from people saying it was a "great" review - by which they meant it was a totally uncritical gush.

    So I'm hoping the album sounds something like the one Anne Margaret Daniel heard.

    1. Dear Michael, Thanks for writing this, and I can promise you I left that first hearing sweating and with my mind entirely somewhere else -- glad to have the time to walk through town, without the necessity of making conversation with anyone, for a long time after. The language of the record is very rich, and makes one's own talk seem by comparison cheap: those rhymes, and the way Dylan in a very 18th-century way combines high and low diction, ancient and modern words, are really remarkable. Jonathan Swift would love this record. Very best from AM