Wallis Bird updated fans on her blog at MySpace (@wallisbird) on Thursday (April 16), talking about the state of pop music and what she thinks about the rise of Auto-Tune. The Irish singer songwriter tells readers:
One thing that I’ve really been honing in on lately is perfection in popular music. Though I have my own standard of perfection, it is a natural perfection (for instance; keeping mistakes and not overdubbing- it’s real, it’s charming.) But over the years, music has been hurting my ears, boring me, making me tired. Not cos I don’t like it, it’s just the new standard of popular music nowadays. It’s aurally tiresome. It’s loud, smashed in mastering, smashed onto an mp3 player so the sound quality is even poorer, all the edges are sanded down and there can be no, i repeat NO dynamics! But on the other hand, real instruments are becoming fashionable again so it’s great to see people actually playing something!
I think even the untrained ear has heard about ‘Auto tune, Fine Tuning’ or ‘Melodyning’ a vocal. This is where you manipulate an existing recording through a piece of software and pitch shift or ‘tune’. An extreme example of this is the classic vocal effect of Cher, “Do you believe in life after love”. This was the beginning of the new vocoded or pixelated style computer voice that’s being rinsed in R&B music of late. Well, Auto tune is seen as a necessity now and most time to the detriment of the vibe of natural sound. But it was revolutionary for the music business. i.e. if you’ve got some good looking kid, with the whole package except for a voice- Auto Tune will fix that right up for ya!
Marcus- who I’m producing the album with- said something that scared me the other day: Tuning softwares are possibly becoming the new super tool for the R&B music business. Now that the trend is a completely unnatural pixelated voice, essentially the talent of the artist becomes obsolete. Labels don’t actually NEED someone who can sing, they just need a voice.
That’s a handy selling tool. You don’t need talent, you avoid diva like standards and demands from artists with musical integrity, you can churn a new artist out week in, week out and what saddens me is that for the most part- you don’t even need a good song! I say bring back the RHYTHM and BASS back to R&B!