Death Cab for Cutie take stand against Auto-Tune

Posted February 10th, 2009 by Eric Greenwood · No Comments

While the sound of Ben Gibbard’s nasally, nerdy voice can grate on one’s nerves in high doses, I still appreciate the fact that it’s not Auto-Tuned to death. Gibbard and his Death Cab for Cutie bandmates are taking a public stance against Auto-Tune, which corrects vocal pitch problems for most major label singers. The band wore suits with blue pins to the Grammy Awards to raise awareness for the cause. Evidently, it’s rampant on major studio releases, not so subtly covering up a lack of singing ability for some and simply used as polish for others. Sometimes, it’s obvious, as on Cher’s “Believe”, anything by Britney Spears, or on Kanye West’s unlistenable new record. Other times, it’s more subtle and used on singers who can actually sing and sing well. It has an unnatural after-effect as it corrects pitch errors, dehumanizing a natural inflection, which usually isn’t perfect, anyway. It’s a complete cop-out and a lame tool to homogenize pop music. Even critic’s pet, Bon Iver, has jumped on the bandwagon. “Perfect” doesn’t always sound better, as Gibbard points out: “We just want to raise awareness while we’re here and try to bring back the blue note… The note that’s not so perfectly in pitch and just gives the recording some soul and some kind of real character. It’s how people really sing.”

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