Auto-Tune: The Technological Wonder in Music
By Namrata Gulati Sapra

Auto-Tune is a double-edged sword; when used smartly, it can make a good singer sound even better, but also make a tone-deaf singer go from already-bad to worse. On one level, it is a saving grace for a bunch of bad singers, who have garnered popularity through the use of the pitch-correcting software, but on the other, it also makes them perfect fodder for jokes (not to mention the trolls) on social media and otherwise. Though history has thrown enough examples of Auto-Tune abusers at us in the past, one who wins the title of the queen of Auto-Tune abusers hands down is Rebecca Black. The teen released a dreaded song in 2011, called “Friday” that made her the butt of jokes. Her song had all the ingredients of what can be turned an apocalypse in all of American music history- lyrics that defied logic (You don’t have to be Aristotle to know that if “Yesterday was Thursday, today it is Friday”, do you?) coupled with the extravagant use of Auto-Tune, which did nothing for her distinctively nasal voice, except making a frog’s croak sound more melodious in comparison.

The first time that Auto-Tune made its presence felt was in year 1998, when American artist Cher made good use of it in order to make her song, “Believe” stand out. The use of the technology in the song made it groovy in spite of the incredibly intimate lyrics. No wonder, the single became an instant hit and a nightclub favorite.

Where there is Auto-Tune, there is T-Pain and vice versa. The rapper is known for his excessive reliance on the software, which has often earned him a lot of flak from his deriders, while fans were often miffed with his dependence on Auto-Tune and stamped questions on his music career and ability to sing without the use of technology. The rapper behind blockbusters such as “Bartender” and “Low” (in unison with Flo Rida) put the rumors to rest a few years ago when he rendered an amazing performance without the use of the audio processor and it dawned on people that he employed it only because it lent a striking, robotic quality to his songs.

Though Nicki Minaj has several chartbusters to her credit, the heavy use of Auto-Tune in her songs (not to mention her clothes that people find outrageous) has greatly sullied her reputation. There are umpteen videos of the singer floating around on YouTube, comparing her Auto-Tuned voice (of which you will find enough parodies on the internet) to her original, non-Auto-Tuned one.

As is evident, people are obsessed with artists who use Auto-Tune indiscriminately in their music and there are a bunch of them on the lose out there. If you must know, Katy Perry, Kesha, Paris Hilton are high up on this list. In case you’re wondering if your favorite artists use Auto-Tune too, check out their live performances and discover the truth for yourself.

 

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