— Bob Dylan enjoys going on a murder spree on his new album, "Tempest." The killings simply mount up.
In keeping with his mortician-meets-mobster-meets-minister garb, he comes on like some old-time manic street preacher.
Dylan has more to say than ever on the 35th studio LP of his career, released 50 years after his debut.
"A man can't live by bread alone," he moans. "I pay with blood but not my own." The shattered voice sounds less like a cow stuck in an electric fence this time. More like Tom Waits gargling with crushed glass.
A song of lust ends in Shakespearean tragedy: "All three lovers together in a heap, thrown into the grave forever to sleep." Dylan laments the death of his friend John Lennon, only after gleefully dispatching some of the 1,500 victims of the Titanic in the disaster a century ago.
That's in the title track, which sprawls over 14 minutes and 45 verses. The skewed parable references Leonardo DiCaprio (whose character quoted Dylan in the 1997 movie: "blowing in the wind" and "when you've got nothing you've got nothing to lose.")
It's not a patch on 11-minute epics such as "Desolation Row," "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" or even "Brownsville Girl." The content is more akin to "Highlands," which rambled over 16 minutes with sloppy rhymes and badly needed an editor.
Elsewhere, Dylan joins in the chorus of disapproval at anonymous bankers, politicians and businessman, whom he describes as "lecherous and treacherous," "sluggers and muggers" and "meddlers and peddlers." He says "They buy and they sell / they destroyed your city, they'll destroy you as well."