Bob Dylan shocked the world this week by being awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize for Literature. Merriam Webster defines literature as “written works (such as poems, plays, and novels) that are considered to be very good and to have lasting importance,” and Dylan’s achievement signifies the beginning of a new operative meaning in which anything written down on anything at any time is considered literature.

We at Tomestone take pride in offering criticism on history’s finest works of art, except the devil’s literary style aka poetry. After being described as the “poet laureate of the rock era” by the New York Times, Dylan’s entire career was placed into speculation, and critics like us spoke out declaring Dylan’s music as not literature. Instead of recreating Footloose and forbidding everything blasphemous, our entire staff of one would like to offer an adequately-researched list of recording artists more worthy of the title of this year’s Nobel Literature winner.

  1. First up, Rihanna throughout her career has consistently released hits, with songs like FourFiveSeconds, Diamonds, Stay, Don’t Stop the Music, Disturbia, BBHMM, S&M, and more. However, the release of her 2016 album Anti and lead single “Work” developed an entirely new level of mumbling for the Caribbean star, with the catchy hook “work work work work work work, ksimihabi work work work work work work isumidermi work work work work work work” echoing on for months after its release.
  1. Nicki Minaj, in contrast, has been consistent throughout her entire career, releasing songs with equally meaningful lyrics delivered in bizarre falsettos:

Super Bass (2010)
He a muthafuckin’ trip, trip, sailor of the ship, ship
When he make it drip, drip kiss him on the lip, lip

Stupid Hoe (2012)
You a stupid hoe, you a, you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, you a, you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, you a, you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, (yeah) you a, you a stupid hoe
You a stupid hoe, you a, you a stupid hoe (stupid, stupid)
You a stupid hoe, you a, you a stupid hoe (you stupid, stupid)
You a stupid hoe, you a, you a stupid hoe (you stupid, stupid)
You a stupid hoe, (yeah) you a, you a stupid hoe (you stupid, stupid)

Anaconda (2014)
This one is for my bitches with a fat ass in the fucking club
I said, “Where my fat ass big bitches in the club?”
Fuck them skinny bitches,
Fuck them skinny bitches in the club.

  1. Music has such profound effects on its audiences that it can impact unrelated areas such as business and commerce. Justin Bieber deserves the award for his 2012 release Boyfriend alone, which simultaneously boosted sales of “fires to chill by” and fondue and allowed for people to whisper swag without fear of public humiliation. You might not have listened to a Bob Dylan song, but from the outset of “If I was your boyfriend, I’d never let you go,” almost any listener can finish the song.
  1. No list of Bob Dylan replacements would be complete without one of the biggest female country singers of this decade: Megan Trainor. Trainor, who will be honoring country superstar Mariah Twain at the CMT awards, has broken down genre barriers by being the first pop singer with no country singles to honor a country legend. Megan Trainor helped inspire girls to look for approval in men and to be happy in your appearance as long as that is curvy (which guys like). While she might be singing, “’Nah’ to the ‘Ah’ to the ‘No’, ‘No’, ‘No,’” the subtext of her songs says yes to the outdated gender roles and internalized sexism of most pop songs.
  1. Milli Vanilli, the German R&B group, are a duo that might not immediately recognized. Both “singers” famously lost their Grammy for Best New Artist after news broke they lip synched on every single record and performance released. While it can be incredibly difficult to be a singer, it is even more difficult to pretend to sing while real vocalists perform behind a curtain. Imagine, how much must the guilt weighed upon both members as they stole thousands of dollars from unsuspecting audiences? Immensely it seems, and while the group no longer releases “music,” their invention of lip synching remains popular for tone deaf drag queens and impersonators around the globe.
  1. Literature winners, thanks to Bob Dylan, also no longer have to be human. Vocaloids, a huge phenomenon in Japan, are created by software which turns inputted lyrics and melodies into an artificial singing persona. Since literature has become so divorced from its original meaning, a pre-teen with access to their parent’s computer should be equally qualified to win the Literature award as Bob Dylan.
  1. Last but not least, no single artist has made as significant a contribution to music as the one and only Yoko Ono. Building an entire career around lying in bed with a shaggy homeless man and shouting into a microphone, Ono lives on throughout history as the first non-white person to partake in the sacred tradition of White Nonsense. Her music speaks for itself, however, so please enjoy our final recommendation for the Literature Award and her groundbreaking display of grunts and moans.

Alex has an honorary doctorate from the Kim Dan Institute of Higher Learning in Book Reviews. He is also working on becoming ordained as a minister online.

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