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Bob Dylan’s Tempest

Bob Dylan, Coney Island, New York, ca. 2006. Photo: David Gahr.

IN 1962, the year this magazine was first published, Columbia Records released Bob Dylan, the debut album of an all-but-unknown twenty-year-old. Now, fifty years later, Dylan gives us Tempest, his thirty-fifth studio release, unlike anything he has done before. By 1964, the artist was self-aware enough of his shifts of identity to title his fourth album Another Side of Bob Dylan; every subsequent release could have been named the same. In his 2004 autobiography, Chronicles, he wrote that he had wanted to be like Picasso, the greatest changer of persona of all—an ambition that would seem preposterous if it did not, in fact, continue to be fulfilled. Certainly, Tempest takes his art into strange new places, to locations more mysterious even than the Old, Weird America of which Greil Marcus famously wrote in 1997. Of the new album, Dylan recently told Rolling Stone, “Anything

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