I've been lately interrogating my anti-Auto-Tune stance because, I'm a little embarrassed to admit, I've watched a couple episodes of Glee and actually kind of enjoyed them or I should say found more in them to enjoy than I thought possible. I still find it too conservative for my taste, but it can be sneakily subversive. I'm finding it more interesting, and funnier, than I used to, and I don't know if it has changed or I have. Both, most likely. Anyway, because I was feeling a little warmer toward the show, I began to wonder if Auto-Tune as a tool to create a certain kind of shiny pop performance was possibly not so evil.
And then I remembered this.
These vocal performances are processed to be sure, but with analog technology that can add to but can't fundamentally alter the voice in the way that Auto-Tune does. These are perfect pop vocal performances, flawless, shiny as glass. Yet they retain the essential emotional quality of human beings singing, a quality that is erased by the overuse of Auto-Tune. Barry and Frida actually sang like that into a microphone and they brought yearning and heartbreak to every perfect note.
Call me an old curmudgeon, but something important is lost when you create that perfect pop vocal in a computer instead of in the human heart and throat. Something you can actually hear and measure. Something good. It's like when people look at you with a forced, sad smile and tell you that Stouffer's frozen lasagna is "actually very tasty." Well, okay. Keep telling yourself that.