Machines? In My Music?

February 11, 2009

I’ve been hearing a lot about Auto Tune lately.  It’s a program that corrects pitch, effectively fixing musical mistakes.  I think it’s a horrible idea.  There’s already a ton of machine-made music out there.  It’s called techno.  We don’t need any more of that, thanks awfully.

Good music is all about little flaws and idiosyncracies.  One of my favorite examples is the intro to “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day.  Billie Joe false starts a couple of times before he gets it right.  If you turn the volume way up and listen closely, you can even hear him say “fuck” softly after his first mistake.  It’s endearing to watch musicians slip up.  For just a moment, they’re not a rock god.  They’re a regular person messing around on a stage, even if it is in front of several thousand people.

Aside from mistakes, I also really like fuzz.  It’s fine to plunk out each note separately, but it often sounds like a kid at a piano recital.  It’s much more interesting when the notes blur together.  Think about “Highway 101” by Social Distortion (or really any song of theirs).  The churning, almost crunchy feel of the guitar is a perfect backdrop for the lyrics.  It adds another dimension to the music, and it gives Social Distortion their signature sound.  It always reminds me of driving down a highway counting palm trees.

The same is true for the Ramones.  The beauty of their songs comes from the way they explode with raw energy straight out of the box.  Auto Tune would ruin  that.

I will listen to perfectly tuned music when you tie me down and make me.  Until then I’ll be over here having fun.  ‘Cause there’s no stopping/ the cretins from hopping…hehehe.


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