Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Make it Go Away! Or Why I Don't Like Auto-Tune.

I love music, really I do. I am a child of the 80s and I love the fact that most artists from the 80s were willing to try anything different. Hence, most of the artists from the 80s [Prince, Elvis Costello, Simple Minds, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Pet Shop Boys and early hip-hop] had a distinct sound. While some say most of the 80s music was 'over-produced'--a term I think does a disservice to the era, I will say that many of the artists weren't willing to sound like each other and tried to make a sound that was there own. I believe the artists from this era have not discovered that sense of musical experimentation.

Case in point, the artist [I'm using that term lightly] Ke$ha professes she doesn't use auto-tune. But as I was listening to her sing in the video Blah, Blah, Blah it sound like yes, she does use auto-tune and other studio wizardry to enhance her vocals. But she's not the only one who uses auto-tune; Little Wayne, TI, Miley Cyrus, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Cher, Drake and countless others have used this tool. Now, I don't mind if an artist uses a studio gimmick to create a certain sound, but when several artists start to use the same trick, well, it gets tiresome. Top 40 radio is filled with songs that have artists vocal tracks laced with the infamous studio trick--it's as if all the songs were sung by Alvin and the Chipmunks--and that's not a good thing.

The music industry has taken so many hits in the past decade I guess the big wigs figure if they can make music with a gimmick, people will buy it. Unfortunately,  we now have music that is boring, bland and doesn't challenge the listener. While I blame the record execs for this trickery and wanting to make a quick buck, I also have to call out the 'artists' who are too lazy to challenge their fan-base and themselves to grow and try something new. I don't like auto-tune because it's the easy way out for making a hit record and it has become the fall-back production tool for enhancing vocals.

I'd like to see some like Ke$ha scrap the whole auto-tune trickery and do something brave. Hey, maybe her next CD will be in the same vein as ABC's "Beauty Stab." Somehow I doubt she's willing to take that bold step and grow as an artist and challenge her listeners like Martin Fry did--but I could be wrong. Only time will tell.

Monday, May 10, 2010

In a World Full of "Amazing" Singers, We Really Lost One This Time.

Lena Horne was a class act. When people talk about 'amazing' singers they are usually referring to those who prance around a stage with rhythm track and lots of dubbed vocals. Ms. Horne represented a class of singer that we no longer see--one who has the ability to render any song into something beautiful and otherworldly. Lena you can now sing with your fellow songbirds; Ella, Billie, Dinah, Nina, Blossom, and Minnie. Thanks for your fantastic contribution to American culture! You will be missed. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lies the Governor Told Me.

It seems that Gov. Chris Christie has wasted no time in doing what he promised those who voted for him--that is to really screw up the state of New Jersey. Now he's ousting the only black justice and nominating a lawyer with long experience in private practice [meaning a corporatist lawyer]. While I am no fan of John E. Wallace, he was the only black justice on the supreme court of NJ. 

This does not look good for minorities of NJ. I suspect that Christie is trying to reshape the court so that it will side with corporations and his political views rather than handing out justice and protecting those who need it the most. 
Another thing: What happened to 'everyone' sacrificing to fix the skyrocketing deficit? IT seems that those who make over 400K a year will be getting tax cuts, while those who miss the mark will pay dearly

To those who voted for him and are feeling the effects of his callous cuts in education and social services, I don't feel sorry for you--You Deserve the Government You Voted For. For those who didn't I hope you can ride out the disasters that are to come for the next few years.