1) Thom Yorke of Radiohead: Why does he sound like that?
A. He’s got a thousand angry ghosts living in his chest, and every time he opens his mouth, they burst forth, wailing.
B. He’s never been able to sing regularly since he was sent to Room 101 for “reeducation.”
C. His mouth is still numb from when he got his wisdom teeth out, so cut him some slack.
D. He’s got a bomb strapped to his chest set to go off if his pitch drops below 880 Hz.
E. He’s scared.
2) Ol’ Dirty Bastard: Why does he sound like that?
A. He’s a madman; no man can enter all thirty-six chambers and return with his sanity intact.
B. His windpipe was nearly crushed in a particularly brutal bout of chessboxing.
C. He didn’t sound like that when he was young, but then he got ol’.
D. He’s been dead since 1991, and the whole time, he was rapping from beyond the grave.
E. Killa bees!
3) Win Butler of The Arcade Fire: Why does he sound like that?
A. He has to wail to be heard over his band’s sixty violinists.
B. He’s developed a strong French-Canadian accent. That’s what it sounds like. Don’t you know anything?
C. He’s in mourning because Where The Wild Things Are couldn’t possibly have lived up to its trailer.
D. He got an ice cube stuck down his shirt in 2003, and it hasn’t yet reached the bottom of his back.
E. He’s scared, too.
4) Joanna Newsom: Why does she sound like that?
A. She has a tiny trachea from years and years of autoerotic asphyxiation.
B. She’s a mouse-person, and her songs are mating calls.
C. She’s a mermaid who traded her beautiful singing voice in exchange for legs.
D. She re-routes the energy she would use to sing normally into her powerful harping fingers. What’s coming out of her mouth is just her fuckin’ around.
E. She was deaf the whole time.
5) Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins: Why does he sound like that?
A. He’s doubly afflicted by both frequent narcolepsy and sleep-talking.
B. He remembers that he’s bald every couple of seconds, and it makes him furious. Then, he forgets.
C. He uses particular combinations of frequencies in order to attract lady bassists. It’s been incredibly effective.
D. He draws air into his lungs from an enormous pair of bellows in his back, operated by pedal.
E. He swallowed a sine wave.
6) Tom Waits: Why does he sound like that?
A. He’s never ever once in his entire life cleared his throat. If he did, his songwriting skills would disappear in an instant.
B. His head is a’spinnin’ ’round, and his heart is in his shoes, both of which make it pretty hard to sing like a normal guy.
C. He was diagnosed with vocal nodes, but he just went ahead and ripped them right out of his neck with his fingers. No more vocal nodes.
D. His saliva is whiskey.
E. He ain’t scared.
• • • • •
(Answers: E, E, E, E, E, E)