Thank Goodness This Doesn’t Apply To Us

Aretha-Franklin-afro.jpegAnd by "us," I am referring to you, dear reader because to be on this website at all means that you have refined and discriminating musical taste. Time Magazine recently published an article discussing Auto-Tune and its impact on not just the monotony of Pop music, but on our own ears as well. The article's premise, that music often sounds more authentic and relatable when it isn't it perfect pitch, time, and tune is an interesting one. One such example the article mentions is Aretha Franklin's recent performance of "The Star Spangled Banner" at last month's Inauguration. 

'"The other day, someone was talking about how Aretha Franklin at the Inauguration was a bit pitchy," says Anderson. "I said, 'Of course! She was singing!' And that was a musician talking. People are getting used to hearing things dead on pitch, and it's changed their expectations."'

At the heart of this article lies this theory which is so true it's not even theory at all but complete fact:

"...the average person listening to just one pop song on the radio will have a hard time hearing Auto-Tune's impact; it's effectively deceptive. But when track after track has perfect pitch, the songs are harder to differentiate from one another--which explains why pop is in a pretty serious lull at the moment."

So what does this mean for you? Well, hopefully you don't fall into this category of music listener. Musically, we are failing with Pop music. But what Auto-Tune's existence will ultimately mean is that when the revolution begins, as this article is hinting at, we will all know what is it that we do not want. And demand more of what we need. Soul music is not called "Soul" for nothing. Hopefully this year will bring more soul-stirring options for our consumption.
Auto-Tune: Why Pop Music Sounds Perfect [TIME]
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  • chynadoll

    This piece by Time reminds me of the technique they use to teach people to detect counterfeit bills. They require the person to handle and study REAL bills. Once they become familiar with what a real bill feels like they can automatically detect a counterfeit. It just doesn't feel right.
    I think for those of us who have been exposed to "imperfect" singing and music..real soul music, it's easier for us to detect music that has been tampered with. One of the most beautiful sounds to me is a "naked" song. Just the pureness of the person's voice absent all of the fillers and tricks and additives.
    I think even seasoned veterans like Aretha Franklin are falling victim to pop music's idea of "perfection". Aretha was quoted giving an explanation for why she sounded a little "off" at the inauguration. She blamed it on the weather and has recorded a more "perfect" sounding version of the song.

  • stoneyisland

    Any artist with the exception of the late Roger Troutman should be banded from the music business if they decide to pick up and use auto-tune. In a perfect world we ship the T-Pains and Kanye off to Siberia or Afghanistan but we cant because of politics:-) Next to senseless raps (money, clothes, hoes) the auto-tune ranks right up top with all that is wrong with music, Matter of fact I dont really consider it music..............I wish Barack would use his presidential powers to ban auto-tune, mainly because that douche Puffy says he is coming out with an auto-tune album soon:-)

  • Nonplussed

    I suppose this is all about vocal ambition, risk and reach. Isn't the artistry always about the response to personal limitations, polishing the eccentricities, overcoming obstacles, responding to material. The tricks not the trickery, and we so need great song writing to show the voices off.

  • j

    I am not sure if the inaug. performance is fair to mention, for one it was freezing cold and the cold effects any type of instrument, tending to be sharp. But autotone is a result of shift from the focus being on the music to what the person "singing" looks like.

  • Mutada al sader the king

    Had nothing to do with our ears being "tuned" to pitch correction. Point blank the performance sucked ! Al Green sounds bad live too, Smokey didn't sound so hot, lots of the "greats" don't keep their "chops" up and it shows. They rehearse the day before or the day of, if at all, and feel that since they have been singing the song for decades they don't have to work at it. Not to take anything away from them, but a lot of these "greats" dont sound all that "great" now a days. The only one I can say that goes out and gives a "great" live show now a days is Stevie and even he gets lazy at times.

  • Stephon Johnon

    I actually wrote a piece in defense on Auto-Tune recently for a new website where I debated with a colleague of mine. I believe that it doesn't deter you from enjoying more "naked" pieces of music. You can enjoy all of it because there isn't one defiinition of what consitutes a good song. Good "taste" is nothing but a social construct to me.

  • dar

    dope analogy, chynadoll.

  • Mixmasher

    Ledisi, Angie Stone, Chrisette Michelle, Dianne Reeves, Conya Doss, Chaka Kahn, Esperanza Spaulding, Gaelle, Maysa, Jaguar Wright and Jill Scott may not always sound exactly on pitch- they just sound very talented, and incredibly musical.
    Imagine what the autotune and click track crew would have done to Billie Holiday.

  • CDf

    I remember the days before "Auto-Tune", where they'd have an actual singer on record and find some model to lipsync it at concerts/videos...LOL!!!


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