Bob Dylan Says ‘Songs Aren’t Like Literature’ In His Long-Awaited Nobel Prize Lecture

After months of putting it off and presumably dodging the phone calls of the committee behind the Nobel Prize, Bob Dylan finally gave the lecture required of all prize winners. And it definitely seems like he agrees with all those hot takes that claimed he didn’t deserve the prize.

After running through examples of great literature — he cites All Quiet On The Western Front, keeps referencing The Odyssey and tells the entire plot of Moby Dick — Dylan lays out the idea that “songs aren’t like literature” to close out his speech.

“That’s what songs are like, too: Our songs are alive in the last of the living,” he said. “Songs aren’t like literature. They’re meant to be sung, not read…And I hope some of you get the chance to read these lyrics the way they were intended to be heard, in concert or on record, or however people are listening to music these days.”

Given Dylan’s reaction to getting the prize in the first place, it would be silly to expect anything less. And if you’re upset at Dylan’s half-rejection of the prize, it’s worth taking a second and remembering that the legendary folk singer doesn’t owe you anything.