Friday, September 21, 2012

The Auto - Tunes and the Drama - Songs

In the late 2000s, famous rapper, Jay – Z, released a single above, called “D.O.A”, standing for “Death of Auto-Tune. Auto-Tune is a software program, that changes (hence “tunes”) vocals until they are in tune, even if the original vocals were not. As one might imagine, the song features an attack the use of autotune as a crutch for artists, and it’s Jay Z’s unedited voice that raps in “D.O.A”.

However, his gripes with the those artists and the technology didn’t stop his close friend, Kanye West from making “808 & Heartbreaks”, an album that heavily featured autotuned songs a few months later.

The point is, auto-tune has found a place in the modern music industry, and it’s alive and well despite Jay – Z’s rhythmic protest. It might have been originally made to fix off-key vocal tracks but the temptation to use it to cover up a lack of talent is obvious, so obvious even a show supposedly made to find talented new artists admitted to using it in the past on their singers for the audience watching at home. (Although they claimed that the judges based their critiques on the unedited performances.)

Yet another singer/rapper, T-Pain (as in “Get back to rap, you T-Pain-ing too much” to quote the aforementioned Jay – Z single) has used auto-tune so much it’s become iconic to him. He’s got the “I am T - Pain” iPod app, which stimulates the effect of the program on his (and now the app users) natural voice. The new technology hasn’t hindered his art (nor hurt his pocket). Outside the hip – hop circles, some country singers like Faith Hill , have noted pitch problems and use autotune in live performances

So maybe the truth, about whether autotune is a simply a safety net for singers or a cover – up for hacks, is shadowed by a whole spectrum of opinions. Flavorwire once has a post that celebrated good songs made with autotune, but discounted those that use it as a "production tweak to correct an errant vocals".

As for my own opinion, as far as art goes I say auto – tune is fine. If I put on “Coldest Winter” – a song from the “808&Heartbreak”, there’s no way I can deny that there was thought put into it, heart. If you put your thoughts and heart into something you’ve created, then autotune making the melody a bit sweeter shouldn’t also automatically dismiss it as art. 

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