Friday, 2 July 2010


Something that is rather important when being a singer is the ability to, y'know, sing. Flicking through music channels right now, all I'm hearing is an endless stream of 'artists' who have had their voices mangled with autotune and various effects. It's got to the point where tonally, everyone does actually sound the same, and it's almost at the point where even the sexes are interchangeable.

Granted, people like Ke$ha, Usher, The Black Eyed Peas, that guy doing the 'I'M GOIN' SAULAU, SAULAU SAULAU SAULAU' stack of turds or any of the other polished, packaged and posed 'singers' in the mainstream aren't aimed at my own demographic, but still, they piss me off.

The audience that is coming of age right now is going to start thinking that's what people's voices sound like (and yes they will, as humanity has the tendency to be rather stupid), and that digital effects are a worthy replacement for talent. It's like Michael Bay has become a music producer, fer cryin' out loud. Katy Perry, Timbaland, JLS, they're all at it, sticking a wobbly effect over their dull voices to try and make them sound interesting.

What it is really doing is instantly dating every note of their material, thus further underlining the fact that nobody gives a shit about longevity or integrity any more. The key to a great song (I'm afraid I can't remember who originally said this- sorry!) is one that sounds brilliant when played either with a full band or just with a guitar or a piano. Right now, real singers in pop music are very, very rare. Alecia Keys comes to mind, alongside P!nk, but that's about it. Those two have amazing voices, and while there's the odd effect here and there, there isn't the tendency to drown their every note in wibbly bits.

See? This is what happens when I look out from my rock-and-metal happy place and have a sniff around at what the 'kids' are listening to. I start ranting. Okay, before anyone else starts electronically ululating at me, I'll get back to my happy place and appreciate some talent.

1 comment:

Nic said...

They might not like the genre, but I think any singer who wants to learn how it's done needs to listen to people like Kate Rusby, June Tabor, and Sandy Denny.

And then if - for example - a Sugababe had any speck of decency, they would then crawl under a rock because they simply could never, ever, compete.