US folk and rock legend Bob Dylan released his first album of original songs in eight years on Friday with the ten-track Rough and Rowdy Ways.
Dylan’s 39th studio album, which comes 58 years after his first, features a 17-minute ballad about the assassination of John F Kennedy, as well as a tribute to American electric bluesman Jimmy Reed.
Rough and Rowdy Ways is the Nobel winner’s first collection of new material since Tempest in 2012, although he has released a number of cover albums in the interim.
It sees Dylan mix gritty blues with folksy storytelling, his signature raspy voice delivering lyrics that switch between bleakly haunting and darkly humorous.
At times he sounds warm, at other times scathing.
In the album’s opening song “I Contain Multitudes,” the 79-year-old grapples with mortality.
He starts by singing tenderly, “Today and tomorrow and yesterday too / The flowers are dying like all things do.”
Later he says: “I sleep with life and death in the same bed.”
Dylan was asked about the lyrics in a recent interview with The New York Times, his first since he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.
“I think about the death of the human race. The long strange trip of the naked ape,” he replied. (France24)