Originally Posted by MorbidToaster
I feel like you think I'm talking about his song writing. I just think his voice has gotten progressivly worse.
He will always be a fantastic song writer.
It may be that I'm just completely used to his voice and the changes in it over time. I've been listening to Dylan for so long that his voice doesn't strike me as odd or less than ideal. It just sounds like Dylan to me and seems natural. I'm so used to it that it just fits the music to me.
Sometimes I think he intentionally plays tricks with his voice. For instance, when 'Nashville Skyline' came out in 1969, most people agree that his voice on that album sounds a lot different than it ever had previously. It really fit the country feel of the album. At the time it was attributed to him quitting smoking, which I think he took up again later. Also, on 'Love and Theft,' he suddenly started "crooning" (for lack of a better term) in a way he never had before that.
I understand where you're coming from, though, because many people think Dylan can't sing or don't like his voice. I've heard that from lots of people over the years. It never seems that way to me, but I think that's a very common reaction.
I think some of the greatest artists ever actually have pretty strange or unique voices, but maybe that's part of their appeal. Besides Dylan, three examples I would name are Neil Young, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash. I'm a big fan of all of them, but I've heard people say about each of them that they can't sing or have bad voices. I've heard people say about both Neil Young and Willie Nelson that they have a "nasally" quality to their voices. Also, on most Johnny Cash records, I've heard the argument that he isn't singing at all or even attempting to sing. For the most part, I would agree. Johnny Cash more or less spoke his vocals and relied on the strong bass quality of his voice.
It's odd, because at the same time as I would consider those four guys some of the greatest singers ever, probably none of them are technically great singers. I don't think they sing like a voice coach would train someone to sing, but they manage to use the uniqueness of their voices as an instrument anyway. They seem to use the flaws in their voices to their advantage. It helps them stand apart from the crowd. After awhile, their voices just seem fitting.
I'm just wondering, would you consider Young, Nelson, or Cash great singers? Do any of their voices detract from their music for you the way Dylan's voice seems to?