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taylor swift and auto-tune/ lip synching


wyly

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I am struggling to think of a rock band that uses auto-tune. I am sure it is out there. Auto-tune would not work for people like Brian Johnson (ACDC) And even though Ozzy can't speak very well, I have seen him live a few years ago, and the man can still belt them out, and on key. Amazing singer that Ozzy is.

I've heard rumors that Brian Wilson used autotuning during the SMiLE tour, mainly because his voice has so deteriorated over the last thirty years (it's hoarsened and most certainly lost significant range). A lot of rock acts don't really have fantastic singers any ways, in the rhythm and blues tradition it really isn't about perfect pitch, but about delivery. I mean, Mick Jagger couldn't sing his way out of a cardboard box if he had to compete against even your average opera singer, but who cares, most Rolling Stones songs are R&B and rock numbers, and a successful vocal performance is all about the expression and the delivery.

I will say this. If you read about Freddie Mercury's final days, his recording of The Show Must Go On is legendary. The man was in the later stages of AIDS, we now know he was already suffering the effects of AIDS-based dementia, not to mention physically he was a complete shambles, and yet, according to Brian May, Freddie swallowed a glass of vodka and went and did the entire vocal in one take, and it's pretty much considered to be one of Freddie's best vocal performances on any Queen record. I know it's probably unfair to compare 99% of the pop music world with someone like Mercury, but still, it shows the purity of a good performance, as compared to someone who basically has to run their voice through digital filters. I won't say autotuning makes bad singers sound good, but it certainly makes mediocre singers sound good.

There is some debate in record engineering circles about autotuning. Before it was developed, if someone's vocal was off pitch, they basically would have to do that section again, and again and again and again, until the singer managed to lay down the track correctly. It can be quite arduous to record this way. Autotuning was initially developed to allow a good vocal performance with a few blemishes to be fixed up, so to some extent I'm not saying it doesn't have its place. But when an artist pretty much relies on autotuning in the studio and on stage all the time to fix a poorly trained voice, well, I think a line has been crossed.

I'm almost positive Swift uses autotuning in the studio, it's nearly ubiquitous now (along with all sorts of other digital filtering technology for fixing instrumentals). Whether she needs it full time or not, I don't know. I don't like her music well enough to sit through a performance to hear the telltale signs of autotuning. I just don't think she's a very interesting performer, I don't find her songs very interesting. That's my opinion, obviously not shared by lots and lots of people, but a quick glance at the Grammy performance tells me she, at the very least, had a bad day. People shouldn't come down on her for that, though. All singers, no matter how wonderful, are going to have bad days for any number of reasons.

As to Brian Johnson, rumors are flying that he's thinking of calling it quits in the next couple of years. He's kept his voice better than some, but I noticed even during the Toronto SARS concert that his losing some of his vocal power. It's not surprising, the guy ain't no spring chicken. Kind of sad, because I simply cannot envision AC/DC going on without him, and I'll miss Angus going nutso on the stage.

Edited by ToadBrother
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I don't agree with that assessment at all. I don't think she's very attractive, but I would say that she has some very good writers for her music. I suppose you have to like that kind of music.

I wouldn't think she's all that attractive either when I was younger...now-a-days my much less picky...music is light and pleasant but not something I'd choose to listen to... Edited by wyly
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I've heard rumors that Brian Wilson used autotuning during the SMiLE tour, mainly because his voice has so deteriorated over the last thirty years (it's hoarsened and most certainly lost significant range). A lot of rock acts don't really have fantastic singers any ways, in the rhythm and blues tradition it really isn't about perfect pitch, but about delivery. I mean, Mick Jagger couldn't sing his way out of a cardboard box if he had to compete against even your average opera singer, but who cares, most Rolling Stones songs are R&B and rock numbers, and a successful vocal performance is all about the expression and the delivery.

but with Jagger you know what you're getting is the real thing, it's like lenoard Cohen, not a pleasant voice by any means but he doesn't disguise the fact he's not a great singer and freely admits he's not a good guitarist as well...I feel deceived by performers like Swift and recall all the performers rejected on american idol for pitchy and flat singing...

maybe the Grammy's could add a new catagory for those who don't use auto tune...

you've impressive music knowledge Toad...

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I will say this. If you read about Freddie Mercury's final days, his recording of The Show Must Go On is legendary. The man was in the later stages of AIDS, we now know he was already suffering the effects of AIDS-based dementia, not to mention physically he was a complete shambles, and yet, according to Brian May, Freddie swallowed a glass of vodka and went and did the entire vocal in one take, and it's pretty much considered to be one of Freddie's best vocal performances on any Queen record. I know it's probably unfair to compare 99% of the pop music world with someone like Mercury, but still, it shows the purity of a good performance, as compared to someone who basically has to run their voice through digital filters. I won't say autotuning makes bad singers sound good, but it certainly makes mediocre singers sound good.

Freddie had one of the most incredible voices I have ever heard. Like Bocelli's you can hear and feel the voice. Even guys like Rob Halford of Judas Preist had classical opera training. Yeah it shows.

There is some debate in record engineering circles about autotuning. Before it was developed, if someone's vocal was off pitch, they basically would have to do that section again, and again and again and again, until the singer managed to lay down the track correctly. It can be quite arduous to record this way.

Like anything practice makes perfect. The singer will never learn if they keep using auto-tune the way they do. Live performances are going to suck because of it. I'd hate to see what happens when it fails during a live performance. Like Ashley Simpson's lip-syncing the wrong song on SNL.

Autotuning was initially developed to allow a good vocal performance with a few blemishes to be fixed up, so to some extent I'm not saying it doesn't have its place. But when an artist pretty much relies on autotuning in the studio and on stage all the time to fix a poorly trained voice, well, I think a line has been crossed.

Agreed, practice makes perfect.

As to Brian Johnson, rumors are flying that he's thinking of calling it quits in the next couple of years. He's kept his voice better than some, but I noticed even during the Toronto SARS concert that his losing some of his vocal power. It's not surprising, the guy ain't no spring chicken. Kind of sad, because I simply cannot envision AC/DC going on without him, and I'll miss Angus going nutso on the stage.

It's a raspy voice and he looks like he is straining most times to belt out the singing. That will take it's toll on the voice in the long run.

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but with Jagger you know what you're getting is the real thing, it's like lenoard Cohen, not a pleasant voice by any means but he doesn't disguise the fact he's not a great singer and freely admits he's not a good guitarist as well...I feel deceived by performers like Swift and recall all the performers rejected on american idol for pitchy and flat singing...

Like Tom Waites. Not a fan of his but again, he does not cover up the fact that he is not the best singer out there. But that is really the appeal to his music. It still comes from the heart, and it shows.

I do like the fact Lady Gaga got best electronic album. Not a big fan of her stuff, but she does represent what I think electronic music means. Her costumes are killer, just love them. Also, she does have a voice, she is an accomplished singer/pianist. She went under her real name when doing those shows. Should be able to check it out online.

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Like Tom Waites. Not a fan of his but again, he does not cover up the fact that he is not the best singer out there. But that is really the appeal to his music. It still comes from the heart, and it shows.

I do like the fact Lady Gaga got best electronic album. Not a big fan of her stuff, but she does represent what I think electronic music means. Her costumes are killer, just love them. Also, she does have a voice, she is an accomplished singer/pianist. She went under her real name when doing those shows. Should be able to check it out online.

ya I like Tom Waits too but it's not for his impressive voice...

same for Shane McGowan of the Pogues, definitely not a pretty face and no auto tune in sight for this guy, what see and hear is what you get, and I wouldn't want it any other way...

that's what my kids keep telling me about GaGa, really out there performance but she's a terrific singer...

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My wife really likes Lady Gaga. Little Boots...Robin...Lily Allen...etc. But she's a couple decades younger than (cough-wheeze) me.

Holy hell. I may not like the music much, but that kind of performance always sends a chill down my spine. Good chills. English is not this lady's native language, but damn son.

Edited by GostHacked
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Whatcha mean 'may not like it much'? :lol: Shirley rocks! Errrr...dances! She's been doing Glastonbury lately. Annie Mac had a great show with her dishing out the dirt re: her years in British show-business.

But I certainly agree...no auto-tuning on that voice.

Who can forget...

Edited by DogOnPorch
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Indeed. Speaking of lip-synching...here's a famous but intentional example.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7Tt8GjLwMg

No way lip-syncing on a music video for MTV? Say it ain't so! :D

You know the funny thing is that the Milli Vanilli boys were German. When watching the videos and watching the lip-syncing, knowing full well that is how music videos are done, I was still thrown off a bit on how their mouths looked when pronouncing certain words. Something was amiss. I have heard and seen German spoken enough times to know how the mouth should look when a word is pronounced by a native German speaking person. My Oma and Opa. When I found out they did not sing on the voice, I looked back and said.. ahh that's the problem.

One of them actually did pursue a singing career after the fact. He did two albums. Both not successful at all commercially or critically. The other end up committing suicide years later. And yes they were real brothers.

I always knew something was wrong. But then it was found out they did not sing at all on the record and was there just for the good looks and ect. Why it was never discovered at a large concert venue I have no idea.

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In Black Box's case it was more that model Catherine Quinol was more 'photogenic' than Mary Walsh. That and the strange use of Loleatta Holloway without credit. Definately an odd moment in music.

Ah yes I recall that now. The first Black Box cd was one of the best in the 90s. I still got it. Thinking of pulling some samples off it.

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No way lip-syncing on a music video for MTV? Say it ain't so! :D

You know the funny thing is that the Milli Vanilli boys were German. When watching the videos and watching the lip-syncing, knowing full well that is how music videos are done, I was still thrown off a bit on how their mouths looked when pronouncing certain words. Something was amiss. I have heard and seen German spoken enough times to know how the mouth should look when a word is pronounced by a native German speaking person. My Oma and Opa. When I found out they did not sing on the voice, I looked back and said.. ahh that's the problem.

One of them actually did pursue a singing career after the fact. He did two albums. Both not successful at all commercially or critically. The other end up committing suicide years later. And yes they were real brothers.

I always knew something was wrong. But then it was found out they did not sing at all on the record and was there just for the good looks and ect. Why it was never discovered at a large concert venue I have no idea.

Interesting. I think this thread shows how so many of us were raised in a different time with different values.

Back when the Vanilli bros scandal broke the typical rock listener was a product of "hippy values", children of the 60's and early 70's. In that culture rock was a blow against "the system". Most of the time we really had no idea just what was "the system" but lip-synching was DEFINITELY bogus!

Remember, we were the generation whose nursery songs had lyrics like "Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky-tacky! Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same!" Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention sang about people and things being "plastic".

That culture is long gone from the mainstream market today. Pop music is just a big machine. Every couple of years you replace your lead 16 year old pole dancer! There's always a new one waiting in the wings. Who cares if she can sing? That's what studios and auto-tune effects are for. The LOOK is everything! Does she look stylish and sexy? Who cares if she can write songs! Who cares if she can play an instrument! There are studio musicians and songsmiths for hire.

It's all about GAP jeans!

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Interesting. I think this thread shows how so many of us were raised in a different time with different values.

Back when the Vanilli bros scandal broke the typical rock listener was a product of "hippy values", children of the 60's and early 70's. In that culture rock was a blow against "the system". Most of the time we really had no idea just what was "the system" but lip-synching was DEFINITELY bogus!

To be perfectly fair, performers had been lip-syncing for years on TV. Even mighty Led Zeppelin did it right at the beginning, before they stopped doing any kind of TV at all. It was common practice on shows like American Bandstand for a band to go up and just mime to the record.

Milli Vanilli's bad deed wasn't so much lip-syncing, it was lip-syncing to someone else's voice. It was a complete con.

Remember, we were the generation whose nursery songs had lyrics like "Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky-tacky! Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same!" Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention sang about people and things being "plastic".

Ah, old Frank. Now there's a guy who couldn't sell records for 99 cents a piece today, and yet made the incredible Joe's Garage.

That culture is long gone from the mainstream market today. Pop music is just a big machine. Every couple of years you replace your lead 16 year old pole dancer! There's always a new one waiting in the wings. Who cares if she can sing? That's what studios and auto-tune effects are for. The LOOK is everything! Does she look stylish and sexy? Who cares if she can write songs! Who cares if she can play an instrument! There are studio musicians and songsmiths for hire.

It's all about GAP jeans!

I think Joni Mitchell summed it up best about ten years ago when she said something like "The music industry has always been run by greedy bastards, but it used to be that they were greedy bastards who liked music."

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That culture is long gone from the mainstream market today. Pop music is just a big machine.
Huh? Compare the two following videos. What's the difference? (In particular, look at the facial expressions of the two singers.) I think the lyrics even carry the same message.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HW_x40Dlv8M

From Wikipedia, I understand that Taylor Swift writes her own songs. Is that true? I don't believe Connie Francis ever wrote a note or changed a lyric. I'm sure she lip-synched. I happened to like the Taylor Swift video. It showed well a universal feeling.

What I love about the US is that it has a society of such vibrancy and diversity.

Edited by August1991
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Sorry...I just had to.

That's exactly my point! Today, even the titties are often plastic!

It's all hype and marketing today. It moves a lot of product. In "the old days" rock was too new. There was an explosion of new music happening in a tidal wave. The "suits" had to follow the herd. The artists themselves were in the lead.

Today, pop music is a much bigger portion of what we see on the media. There are other genres of course but they don't get as much air time. TV shows on who gets to be Paris Hilton's best female friend sell clothes and perfume. The suits own it all, right down to the CD store chains.

Unfortunately, no one buys CDs anymore so they're frantically scrambling for new revenue streams. Poetic justice, perhaps.

Taylor Swift doesn't have to be real, anymore than a cartoon show like Josey and the Pussycats was real. You can fake her voice or dub in someone else's who can actually sing. Look what Billy Cyrus did with his daughter Miley.

We've always had pop. The difference today seems to be that pop is the lion's share and some of us older folks are appalled when we confront some of it. Kimmy convinced me that there is still much good music around but you seem to have to dig more for it.

Actually, you don't even have to be able to sing or play anymore. You can rap! If you can't even rap, there's always what we in the trade call "cookie monster metal". That's where you don't even have to speak clearly, just grunt like Cookie Monster! Just the thing for Saturday night slam dancing!

The bar keeps getting set lower and lower...

The saving grace is that there seems to be more and more really GOOD stuff bubbling to the surface! Perhaps the pendulum has reached the end of its swing. Younger folks are feeling unsatisfied with what the "suits" are force-feeding them so in the indie markets they're striking out on their own!

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Back in the old days we called the auto tune - the pitch corrector - If you were a horrible vocalist you could as an engineer just push the slider up into pitch or down if neccesary - now with computerized recording consoles..The howling family dog can be made a star - also there is a trend to mechanize the voice lately and make it sound like Robbie the Robot.. The best are not famous and the most corporately co-operative are exaulted...the musical culture is becoming rapidly artifical. It's a shame that good looking woman are now considered un-noticable and creepy poorly bred woman done up with plastic surgery and 700 dollar hair cuts are now considered beautiful - money has totaly taken over the arts and utiltarianism is rampant - Bankers don't like natural talent - It makes the financers feel inferiour because the are.

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