To Auto Tune, or Not To Auto Tune…

…There really isn’t a good answer. I mean, the first time I’d heard it was when Cher used it with “Believe”. I thought, well…that’s different. And, for that song, I thought it was well done. I’ve heard auto tune used in a lot of songs since. Sometimes it adds something, but other times I just feel like it’s a gimmick or a bandwagon trend.

And, then I thought about what Dave wrote in a Facebook post on our >PAGE<.  He said, “What I dislike most in modern pop music is that effect called auto tune. It just sounds soulless to me.” And, I can understand that. It does have a mechanical and synthetic quality to it used beyond it’s first intended application. Yet, I still kind of like it. Not exclusively, but like just about anything else; in moderation or intended for a particular sound. I wouldn’t buy a whole album with sliding android type vocals, but hearing it every once in a while is okay by me.

What surprised me was the fact that Peavey came out with an Auto Tune guitar, the AT-200! WTF? Sounds like some kind of freakin’ Terminator designation! Please, for the love of all that’s natural do not give this to David Gilmour! I like the fact that his licks are not perfect, though it sounds perfectly fine by me. I can’t imagine Prince using this, either. But, I could be wrong.

I’m not trying to show off my age again, but groups like Credence Clearwater Revival, The (older) Rolling Stones, The Doors and even Death Cab for Cutie (who protested this technology, by the way) wouldn’t be who they are if they used this all the time. I could see some bands using this for special effects. Yes, tweak a bum note here and there. I get it. However, what’s wrong with showing a little humanity in the performance? Must it be ‘perfect’? Hey, maybe. Today’s standards are all over the board. Some love the rough sounds of Heavy Metal (though I’ve read Metal uses auto tune a lot, too), others the smooth sounds of Michael Buble (I think I just threw up a little in my mouth; sorry-Humor folks. Just a bit of humor). Maybe Michael needs a tweak every now and then for that perfect polished sound, but Jay-Z speaks out against its use. And, yes I’ve sampled both.

So, when Dave thinks it sounds soulless, I can get it. If they want that kind of sound, why not just computerize a voice and let it perform? Kind of hard to sell clothing, jewelry, and designer this-and-that with a synthetic person, I guess. And, any personality would have to be programmed…Oh, that might not have been a bad idea for the Bieber concept. Too late for that idea. I think auto tune can have a place in music, though. I also think it’s probably going to morph into something else as soon as technology improves or changes. We’ll see. In the meantime, like Jazz, Swing, Rock & Roll, Soul, Rap, Hip-Hop and New Country, we will continue to hear auto tune. And, like all of those genres of music, you have the choice as to what you want hear.



Co-Founder of “Reviewing Tunes”. At one time sold outrageously expensive Hi-Fi equipment after being hooked into quality recordings at the tender age of 11. (Still prefers vinyl) A prog rock fan from way back, but open to all music.

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