This summer, against the warnings of many concerned friends and loved ones, I saw Bob Dylan in concert.
I like Bob Dylan. I’m not obsessed or anything, but I appreciate his music. More than anything, I considered it a “bucket list” type opportunity to see him perform. I figured his voice, which was never considered classically refined or anything in the first place, would sound reasonably aged and deteriorated.
This was incorrect. You know what Lou Reed sounds like now? Well, Bob Dylan makes Lou Reed sound like Pavarotti. Since Dylan is still touring, I think it’s important for people to know what to expect. So, here are 28 attempts to capture what I heard that night:
1. A Muppet coming to grips with mortality.
2. A 95-year-old black man going through puberty.
3. Someone sifting gravel.
4. Harvey Fierstein mumbling something vaguely inspiring.
5. A dial-up modem gargling.
6. The opposite of a dog whistle.
7. You know how your voice sounds when you’ve been awake for like two hours but haven’t spoken to anybody yet? And then you’re buying something and you go to say “Medium coffee, please,” and it comes out all weird and shitty and you feel the need to awkwardly explain that you haven’t spoken yet today even though it’s like 11:30? Well, imagine a 90-minute concert of that. Without the explanation.
8. AARP’s arrhythmic humming.
9. Louie Armstrong doing an impersonation of an unfiltered cigarette.
10. Pitchfork becoming self-aware.
11. A Viagra commercial played backwards.
12. Your baby boomer parents having awful sex.
13. Acoustic Norwegian black metal.
14. Like if a wistful Lee Marvin swallowed a kazoo.
15. NYC Quits: The Musical.
16. That dog that goes, “Coooookie Crisp!”
17. A pensive garbage disposal.
18. The opposite of Pretty Ricky.
19. Someone sanding against the grain.
20. 10,000 people Googling “refund policy.”
21. “Macho Man” Randy Savage beatboxing.
22. The guy from Police Academy who made all of those sounds and voices, but only if he used his power for heinous evil instead of delightful good.
23. The 1960s apologizing.
24. Snake Plissken doing vocal warm-ups.
25. The voice of someone who hasn’t swallowed in 34 years.
26. Tone Loc singing a Joan Baez song after a really huge bong hit.
27. Scooby Doo weaning himself off Paxil.
28. The future of EDM.