Where’s the soul in autotune? Adam's column


Music is an integral part of the human experience.

That is why, fittingly, like humanity, music is constantly changing.

Each generation has their own soundtrack, a unique style that summarizes and intimates not just their hopes, tragedies, and dreams, but of those who grew and struggled at their side.

However, these increments are hardly segregated.

Musical mannerisms bleed over, coating the new funk in a layer of sentimental flavour, whilst the strain is diluted with the bright and colourful new wave of fad and trend.

Genres re-emerge, under new names and patronship, yet never fully inhabiting the exact same composition they once had. The formula is constantly changing, contributing to the vastly complex and intricately woven tapestry of rhythm that flows throughout our culture.

However, this pair of ears hasn’t been thoroughly impressed by the quality of sound we’re receiving. What is it about this new wave of song that feels so…


In both method and topic, modern tunes fail to delve any deeper than the most superficially vain level of revelatory human experiences. We as a society have progressively become less interested in the song itself and more interested in who is singing it.

Musicians became models, while songs became background noise.

Consider the following music videos:

The first two are almost entirely derived from enticing the audience through visuals. The music comes second to the visuals being shown.

But in the following one, there is almost no visual imagery being used. Aside from some text, the viewer is only ever seeing him sitting in a chair. The musician doesn’t need to stimulate the viewer with anything other than the words that are coming out of his mouth and the notes his instrument.

With few exceptions, the most popular music of today swims in computer-generated waves of artificial crap, going so far as to include only one line of actual performed verse, followed by a digitally edited and tweaked version of that same line.

It’s lazy, it’s annoying and it doesn’t sound good.

Can soul be conveyed through computers and switches? What about dubstep or autotune takes talent or skill?

A song is not a hit. It’s not a money-making tool.

A song is a piece of your soul. It’s all that you have and all that you feel made known.

Musicians used to bleed. Now, they twerk.

Have we lost that? In this age of Tinder swipes and Facebook likes, have we lost the connection we had?

Not only to others but to our truest selves?


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