Exploring Auto-Tune With Apathy & The Gregory Brothers

May 11, 2011

I don't usually recommend that you touch your radio tuner, but, after today's show, flip over to a station playing what used to be called Top 40 radio and notice how many songs use the effect known as auto-tune

If you don't know what that is, you will by the time we're done with you.  It's often flaunted, as if the artist thinks a mechanized chipmunk hum in one's vocals is a point of pride. But there's a good side to the technology. Producers often use auto-tune subtly as a way to fix the pitch of a singer or instrument.

But the Gregory Brothers have taken it all one step further. They've invented a new form of songwriting by taking the spoken words in news clips and using auto-tune to set them to music. I got hooked a long time ago on their "Auto-Tune the News" series in which newsreaders and politicans find themseles singing.

Even more delightful are songs like "Backin Up" in which an average person captured on TV news turns into a pop singer.

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