Friday, March 26, 2010

Death to Autotune

Auotune has become a scourge for the music of this generation. It is everywhere...and I mean everywhere. As a bit of an experiment recently I listened to a top 30 countdown on the radio and I can safely say that 70% used autotune and that was only the very noticeable effects it is used for. Who knows what other rubbish singers are using it because they have no talent.

In case you don't know what autotune is this is from Wikipedia
"Auto-Tune uses a phase vocoder to correct pitch in vocal and instrumental performances. It is used to disguise off-key inaccuracies and mistakes, and has allowed singers to perform perfectly tuned vocal tracks without the need of singing in tune. While its main purpose is to slightly bend sung pitches to the nearest true semitone (to the exact pitch of the nearest tone in traditional equal temperament), Auto-Tune can be used as an effect to distort the human voice when pitch is raised or lowered significantly."

There is also this pretty cool video featuring Weird Al which explains autotune. I found it fascinating that it was actually designed to use sound waves to find oil reserves in the ocean.

If you can't imagine the sound of autotune think of Cher's song "Believe". You know the one.."Do you beli...iiiieve in life after love.." This was the first time autotune was used in commercial music that was a hit. The producers wanted to keep this sound tweaking effect a secret so for years they just claimed that it was a vocoder and talkbox that made the effect.

I am not totally against autotune. Used sparingly it can be quite effective however it seems that it is being used as a masking device for really crap singers. Think Ke$ha Tik Tok (btw anyone who makes me hold down the shift key in the middle of their name is just naff). I have heard Ke$ha sing "live". She is autotuned to within an inch of her life. When she wasn't being autotuned I just wished she would shut up or just turn the autotune back on.

From idio mag
Seattle- based indie rockers, Death Cab for Cutie took up a cause at the 51st annual Grammy awards this year, by sporting light blue ribbons on their jackets to protest the use of Auto-Tune. Auto-Tune is a software program that digitally corrects the pitch of a singer's voice, and according to Death Cab frontman Ben Gibbard, it's been over used. "I think over the last 10 years, we've seen a lot of good musicians being affected by this newfound digital manipulation of the human voice, and we feel enough is enough."

Of course the title of my post was inspired by Jay Z who has the song "Death of Autotune". Jay Z has been quoted as saying "I just think in hip-hop, when a trend becomes a gimmick, it's time to move on. I saw a Wendy's commercial and they're using Auto-Tune. They're joking on it. It's like, OK, enough of that ... It was a trend, it was cool in the beginning. Some people made great music with it, now it's time to move on."

 So next time you have the radio on take notice of how many tracks are autotuned. Otherwise if you have an iphone you can download a T-pain app which allows you to autotune your own voice.
Below is a clip from South Park about Kayne West. Not only was this a piss take about Kanye as his douchey self but also the over use of autotune. I also just wanted to post it here because it is hella funny.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

God is a Bullet - Concrete Blonde

Todays track is from the 1989 Concrete Blonde album Free.

I remember this track from an episode of 21 Jump Street...ah those were the days. Pre pirate Johhny Depp goodness.

Enjoy God is a bullet

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I have one thing in common with Rik from The Young Ones (for those of us young enough to remember the show The Young Ones) - I love Cliff Richard. No he is not incredibly trendy to admit to like but I never care much about that. What I do care about is a really well crafted pop song. Even though someone like Britney is rubbish I can acknowledge that she has a team of great writers and producers behind her which create some damn catchy pop tracks. Not that Sir Cliff is in any way like Britney - far from it. HE doesn't show his exposed crotch coming out of cars...hmmmm.

This track is a perfectly crafted pop track which I fondly recall from my sisters compilation album 1980 In The Summer. So take a listen to Dreamin. Also below I couldn't resist but put Rik's (The People's Poet) poem about Cliff Richard at the end.

Oh, Cliff

Sometimes it must be difficult not to feel as if
You really are a Cliff
When fascists keep trying to push you over it
Are they the lemmings?
Or are you Cliff?
Or are you, Cliff?


Monday, March 1, 2010

Letter to Beyonce

Dear Beyonce,

Please fuck off for at least 3-4 years. During this time you may be able to learn how to write your own songs.

That is all.