Auto-Tuned Out

I can’t possibly believe that I’m alone in feeling burned out on auto-tuned vocals posing as a motif or production aesthetic. It’s sooooooooooo old. The software that saved a million Cher takes suddenly became THE vocal-effect. As if excellence was irrelevant, listening to the wild corrections of pitch has become another part of the dumbing-down of the music listening experience.

As much as I am a slave to technology, I am a bigger devotee of authentic talent. Performers/singers/musicians/engineers that can go it alone, sans gizmos, always seem to command a greater respect and longevity with their work. Not that I don’t understand what non-linear, digital software has done for music, mind you. But really? You want to let everyone know that no matter how much you suck, you’ll always sound as good as a fast-food intercom system? Perfect pitch via a robotic-sounding correction. And as much as I loved the vocoder, auto-tuning doesn’t appear to be breaking new ground or expanding artistic expression. It’s merely a crutch for those unable to bring skill to the microphone.

Old fashioned arrogance or on the money? I’m not sure I care anymore how my opinion’s perceived. Is this the equivalent of all those Newport Festival goers screaming at Dylan for going electric? I’m not against change. I’m against sucking. And pretending it’s art.

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3 Responses to “Auto-Tuned Out”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Artists like Jimi Hendrix, Keith Emerson, and Eddie Van Halen have done more to increase public acceptance of electronically processed sounds than just about anybody. But, no one could ever accuse them of being inferior musicians.

    Maybe music needs something like the Dogme 95 movement in film making.

    Later,
    Fred

  2. Fred,

    I’m sure there are some out there that would say Indie is that movement. Somewhat lo-fi, with very little correction in any part of performance (recorded and live). Working outside the rigidity of a major label’s boardroom.

    Of course, some of them could really use a little auto-tuning. :¬)

  3. One more thing– I have nothing against T-Pain’s iPhone app. I’m sure its great and fun to use. And if I was someone riffing for fun, this is a nifty gizmo. But as an artistic statement, when did generic become a flavor? When everyone sounds the same, it’ll be the voice standing out in the crowd that’ll command attention.

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