May 21, 2022

"If YOU can't connect with most modern day music, THIS is probably why."

58 comments:

Joe Smith said...

I don't like Cher as a person or as a musician...her singing style annoys the hell out of me, but this song is catchy as hell.

If you are a hardcore music theory person, you will love Rick Beato on Youtube. He breaks down rock songs from all eras (mostly the classics) and explains what is going on in production and with the singing/playing.

It gets incredibly complicated and deep into music theory. I get lost pretty quickly but admire that somebody knows about this stuff.

Btw, I though Paul McCartney was older...

Yancey Ward said...

I love his videos- he does a lot of them on the merits/demerits of various vocalists.

Yancey Ward said...

The auto-tune is a cancer, but I understand why they use it.

Butkus51 said...

For fun they should input a few Joe Cocker, Neil Young or Bob Dylan songs thru the Autotune machine.


Brian Eno played with voice effects on albums. Lamb Lies Down on Broadway for one.

stlcdr said...

Excellent video selection; a great video.

stlcdr said...

Now gives more ammunition supporting ‘kids these days’!

Michael K said...

I'm reading "The dumbest generation grows up. " It's a sequel to his 2008 book, "The dumbest generation," which predicted that kids who learned nothing but what they saw on their "smart phones" would be a problem, and they are. Music is part of it.

Charlie said...

If you didn't watch the video I'll save you 20 minutes:

Computers (and tech in general) started to ruin pop music in earnest around 1998.

You're welcome.

Jason said...

Epic rant.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bT9LUiWXkyo

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

That cher song is so bloody awful. for all sorts of reasons..

The Tangerine Tornado said...

Love his channel. Great content.

To me Auto-tune means the singer is a talentless hack. Young people don't even know that there are people who can actually sing without running their mic through a computer.

There's an entire genre of YouTube channels with young people "reacting first time" to classic rock from the 60's - 80's. Maybe it's all acting but they quite often react with astonishment at the vocals (that voice!).

If you're into music also check out the popular channel by Rick Beato on YouTube.

rhhardin said...

Autotune sucks. Cher's movie Suspect (1987) was good though Liam Neeson badly overacted his part.

Tank said...

Phil has lots of great videos about different groups, songs, etc.

Cher had a great rock singer voice which, for me, was mostly wasted on her choice of music.

Xmas said...

This guy is great, his videos on Freddie Mercury and David Bowie were great.

Anthony said...

On Netflix there's a series called This is Pop with an ep on Auto-tune. The basic algorithm was developed by a geo-engineer who used it to find oil buried at depth. According to him, he showed it to a record company exec and the first thing out of the latter's mouth was something like "This is great, now I only have to find attractive people."

That and the dumbing down of music generally by people who don't want to put in the effort is what's made me at least something like I never thought I'd be, a crusty old man that doesn't listen to anything made in the last 20 years.

Also in there was a recording engineer who said nearly every vocalist he'd ever worked with tended to sing flat and required multiple takes to get it right. . . .except for David Bowie.

Joe Smith said...

As far as 'singers today are hacks,' it's mostly true.

Watch some really old Eagles concerts when they first got started.

Apart from some crowd noise, it would be hard to tell the live version from the recording.

They were really good singers...

Ann Althouse said...

To sum up the video, what was done with Cher on "Believe" was to add interesting effects while preserving much of the natural human voice. What "Believe" ushered in, however, was an era of correcting everything and replacing the human voice with a piano-like voice that's just dead-on every note. Those of us who grew up listening to the real voice find the new recordings off-putting — lacking in humanity and feeling and warmth. But these kids today have only heard this completely auto-tuned stuff and they don't see what the problem is. They can't perceive what was lost.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Meh! Nothing new. Rick Beato has been going on about the over use of autotune and over reliance on click tracks for a while now.

baghdadbob said...

My three kids all grew up in the auto-tune era. Yet they absolutely love "classic rock." Not all these kids these days.

Jason said...

Autotune the News.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Psfn6iOfS8

Rabel said...

Could be autotune.

Could be getting old.

Beasts of England said...

Auto-sync - recording software that skews tracks to the proper beat - is equally prevalent. Even studio wonks such as Steely Dan have used that gimmick. My time as a session musician was before those inventions, so, yeah - get off my lawn! :)

JK Brown said...

If the voice is autotuned, then the singer doesn't matter except as marketing.

Joe Smith said...

And don't even get me started on modern country music.

Every harmony is faked...just an overlay of the original singer.

No humanity whatsoever.

Pure, unadulterated garbage.

If you want to hear great country music you have to go to Willie's Roadhouse on SiriusXM.

Hank Williams would have never made it today...nor Willie for that matter.

Lem said...

It sounds off because it's inauthentic.

Here is an authentic play/dance with notes, autotune can't match.

Having become used to, and subsequently born into the manipulation era of music, can we just as easily become use to the manipulations of information algorithms, for example, autotuning stories for us, because we are in danger of falling prey to "misinformation".

loudogblog said...

I've seen his videos before and they're very interesting and informative. Auto-Tune has been shamelessly misused to make money instead of making good art. But that's the way that technology is. It's a tool that can be used for good or bad uses.

BG said...

I didn't realize what had happened to "music" until I decided to see if my folks' (RIP) Montgomery Ward cabinet AM/FM radio/record player (tubes) still worked. The record player doesn't but the radio does. The sound was incredible. The only way I can describe it, is that it has "fullness."

madAsHell said...

Funny, I would not have guessed so much musical interest/experience from the Althouse commenters.

madAsHell said...

....then the singer doesn't matter except as marketing.

The monkey dancing for the organ grinder.

Ann Althouse said...

"Meh! Nothing new. Rick Beato has been going on about the over use of autotune and over reliance on click tracks for a while now."

Sounds like you missed the point! Did Beato analyze the difference between what Cher's engineers did and what was done later? Everyone knows about the reliance on autotune these days. That wasn't the point here.

Scotty, beam me up... said...

I stopped listening to “modern” music over a decade earlier than the introduction of Autotune, 1986 to be specific, because of the overuse of synthesizers as musical instruments. Autotune, based on what the dude says in the embedded video above, is just the next step with synthesizing the singer’s voice. For today, I am grateful for services like SiriusXM to be able to listen to the music of my youth of the 1960’s and 1970’s, which has mostly disappeared from AM/FM radio, at least in my geographical area.

ALP said...

I think there is some similarity between the auto-tune issue and digital vs. analog art. "Paintings" done digitally have the same perfect quality as auto-tuned music, and don't feel as 'warm' as paintings done with actual paint.

Beasts of England said...

’ The only way I can describe it, is that it has "fullness."’

Tubes are warm and musical. Accept no substitute!

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Ann Althouse said...

Sounds like you missed the point! Did Beato analyze the difference between what Cher's engineers did and what was done later? Everyone knows about the reliance on autotune these days. That wasn't the point here.

Yes he does. In fact he even autotunes his own voice as a demonstration.

He's also spoken out at the overuse of Pro Tools to make a song too rhythmically perfect.

And he's talked about the lack of musical innovation in modern music.

He also dissects popular songs and shows what makes them great. Which is usually that they're innovative, imperfect things without autotune or pro tools.

So no, I did not miss the point.

Scotty, beam me up... said...

After watching the video, when listening to the music of the 1960’s makes me appreciate even more the skills of the musicians, producers, sound engineers, and production assistants in creating those 50+ year old songs without the aid of computers and modern recording equipment.

Tom T. said...

If it wasn't Autotune and computers, it would be something else. Everybody imprints on the music of their youth and once we pass a certain age, we all find it really hard to connect to modern music. It happened to our parents, it happened to us, and it will happen to the kids of today.

Scotty, beam me up... said...

The host of this video mentions that with tools like Autotune, record companies can save a lot of money on production costs as well as time to record the songs. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, the record companies with studios in Los Angeles, Nashville, Muscle Shoals, and elsewhere used professional studio musicians, like the ones who are informally called the Wrecking Crew (in LA) who could nail the recording in very few takes, many times in only 1 take, to save on production costs. This was done even if the bands were very good musicians themselves but didn’t really do a good job in the recording process, because, well, time is money.

n.n said...

I don't need you anymore... mechanical. A prelude to social progress?

n.n said...

Artificially modulated, directed voices, visuals, thoughts are a trend. There's an ouroboros quality to social progress. I wonder how many cycles the human species... race has recorded and not.

PM said...

Fascinating, and a little like an outtake from Spinal Tap.

Rollo said...

Sure, autotune was new back then, but they used post-production techniques on that record to make something strikingly strange. It may be used more now, but it's expected to be unobtrusive and unnoticeable. If I can't connect with most modern day music there are other reasons why.

Mark said...

To sum up the video, what was done with Cher on "Believe" was to....

Sorry, but the auto-tuning, etc., isn't why people "find the new recordings off-putting." The reason is that ever since the 1990s, "music" has SUCKED. Lousy or non-existent melody or harmony or tune, etc. That's why all the kids today are going back to listen to music that is now 30-60 years old.

Mark said...

The problem today is NOT a tech problem, it is a WRITING problem.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Omigawd! They photoshopped and posterized the music. What a disaster.

Ann Althouse said...

“ So no, I did not miss the point.”

Did you watch the embedded video? It still sounds like you missed the point.

Iman said...

Great rock singers? Little Richard… Paul Rodgers… Lowell George… Robert Palmer… Jagger…

Jamie said...

I'm sitting in a waiting room without earbuds and can't listen to the video, but I'm going to infer that the point is that Cher used AutoTune artistically, like an instrument that did something aesthetically to and for the song, whereas too many singers today just AutoTune everything they sing to make sure their pitch hits the middle of the tuning fork (whether or not they could sing on pitch on their own).

My dad hated that Cher song, anticipating the use of AutoTune to manufacture "talent" out of electrons. I never minded that song itself - recognizing, instead, Cher's aesthetic choice - but I deplore the use of AutoTune to clean up the singing of singers who can't sing.

I suppose you can still call them "artists," in that they're still doing performance art (often 24/7), but the fiction that we can recognize them as "singers" bugs me, as a person who actually can sing.

At the same time... I'm nearly equally bugged by the fiction that (sorry, Althouse) singers like Bob Dylan are great singers. He's nasal, he slides all over the place, he's got no support that I can discern... Jim Croce - bleah. Michael MacDonald - are those words or is he humming? Janis - ok, I don't love her voice, but she was doing real blues and she could do it on her own; I just don't like the style very much. The Beach Boys are fun, and they really sang harmony, but falsetto gets old. I utterly hate Mariah Carey's stupid whistle register trick, but she can sing (I think her material sucks and I don't like her singing, but credit where due). I hear Ariana Grande actually is a solid singer (though she also does the dumb whistle register), but who can say for sure?

Joe Smith said...

'Janis - ok, I don't love her voice, but she was doing real blues and she could do it on her own; I just don't like the style very much.'

She was white. Cultural appropriation. Must be cancelled.

guitar joe said...

It's hard to know if the state of pop music now is the result of technology that makes "perfection" possible, or it it's that technology married to music that seems to become harmonically simpler every ten years or so. Pop music has relied on multi-tracking since the mid-70s--Dark Side of the Moon or Abbey Road are unthinkable without it. But digital technology bypasses a lot of the human element. Good video.

Clyde said...

I listen to a lot of music. I'm over 60, but I like hearing new stuff, and Amazon Music gives me a Discovery Mix based on what I've listened to, as well as a Soundtrack station of songs it thinks I would like. I'm constantly finding good, new music, and little if any of it has autotuned vocals; I can't say about any other recording and production tricks.

Joe Smith @ 11:56 a.m., re: Country music: One of my favorite albums from last year was The Marfa Tapes by Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram and Jon Randall. They were just sitting around a campfire with a guitar and singing the songs, warts and all, and it was great. Miranda Lambert has gussied up some of those songs on her new album Palomino. I preferred the original version of "Geraldene," but her latest version of "Waxahachie" is even better with the added production:

Here's the original "Geraldene": Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall - Geraldene

Here's the original "Waxahachie": Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall - Waxahachie

Here's the new studio version of "Waxahachie": Miranda Lambert - Waxahachie (Palomino Official Audio)

Bunkypotatohead said...

Music doesn't matter much to the latest generation of teen/twentysomethings. It's just background noise to their video games, or 15 seconds of tiktok immediately forgotten. Auto tuning is just a waste for that crowd.

The streaming services sell mostly older stuff to older customers. One of my favorite bands is a bunch of 30 year old Japanese girls. If you look at their live performances the entire crowd is middle aged and older men. Their contemporaries couldn't care less.

Bunkypotatohead said...

Music doesn't matter much to the latest generation of teen/twentysomethings. It's just background noise to their video games, or 15 seconds of tiktok immediately forgotten. Auto tuning is just a waste for that crowd.

The streaming services sell mostly older stuff to older customers. One of my favorite bands is a bunch of 30 year old Japanese girls. If you look at their live performances the entire crowd is middle aged and older men. Their contemporaries couldn't care less.

Bob Boyd said...

https://uberhumor.com/rekt-press-unmute

Paddy O said...

A hundred years ago and before that, people rarely heard live famous musicians, but every community had folks who could play instruments and sheet music sold like horseshoes.

People of the 20th century don't know what they're missing with their professional musicians, passive audience, lifestyle. The good old fashioned community sing a long where everyone got involved and evenings were made magical with person to person bonding is where it's at.

Paddy O said...

Which is to say the trend of perfecting music and removing it from human involvement started long before the current generation. It's the natural progression to what the 20th century gave us, passive reception and ever increasing expectations and mass market sensibilities to tell you what you will like.

Paddy O said...

Or maybe the decline started earlier...

Mary Beth said...

I didn't notice until I rewatched the video today that Cher's voice wasn't the only thing altered - her eye color was also digitally altered. Or, perhaps I noticed before but have forgotten. It's not a video I paid much attention to.

There's still a lot of music being made that doesn't rely overly much on auto-tune. I use YouTube to seek out new music. I listen to a lot of stuff that I end up rejecting, but still find plenty that is worth listening to.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Yancey,

The auto-tune is a cancer, but I understand why they use it.

I don't. It's just a big cheat, in a field where almost everything else is already a cheat. I think of this in the context of real music (meaning sonatas with piano, chamber music, symphonic music, song, opera) and can only shudder. Why would anyone want those artificially "corrected"? To make them extra-special-in-tune? Pfft.