Auto-tune the news

The gossip world is buzzing about Beyonce’s allegedly leaked mic track, the real sound of her keening and wailing dead flat during a lip-synched and/or auto-tuned appearance. Similar clips of Britney Spears show more of the same. The idea that Beyonce can’t really sing upset me so much that I shoved my fingers in my ears, went LA LA LA (flat, in sympathy), and ate two creme eggs. Then I watched this: the evening news on autotune.

The whole clip is pretty funny, but the best part is Katie Couric singing about global warming.

I’m very happy the track was revealed to be a fake. To be honest when I listened to it again after writing this post, I couldn’t even parse it- if you’re lipsynching, I understand that you’ll fake some of the high notes just to get by, but that track was so radically flat that you pretty much couldn’t even do it on purpose. If you can sing in tune, deliberately singing out of tune is surprisingly difficult to sustain.

Anyway, I’ve been listening to Beyonce sing Halo for day-los now, and I’m convinced she did it live on Letterman– she was a teeny bit pitchy a couple times and she faked the two hardest parts of the song- the low note on “they didn’t even make a sound” and the wicked-ass, very difficult descending octave run on “burning through my darkest ni-i-i-i-i-ght”. If she was lipsynching, I think they’d have made those moments truer to the studio track, as they’re impressive as hell. It’s really hard to do that octave run in a single beat- basically you have to hit 8 notes spot-on in just over a second. This guy does a cute cover that just NAILS it (at 30 seconds in) and it impressed me so much I broke a personal rule and commented on his YouTube video.

Woah, Beyonce's fake boyfriend is a big dude.

Woah, Beyonce's fake boyfriend is a big dude.

Also, the music video for Halo is quite lovely despite the fromage factor. I enjoy the fact that she depicts a regular gal living in a nice apartment with a man who is not Jay-Z. Except that she’s also rehearsing choreo for the “Single Ladies” video even in her imaginary normal life. So down-to-earth!


4 Responses to Auto-tune the news

  1. j.bone says:

    The common excuse singers give when those things leak out is that it’s hard to hear yourself over the band and/or pre-recorded soundtrack. Also to sing while dancing around is difficult.

    I remember Enrique Iglesias on Howard Stern…they played for him a recording of his live singing and it was crappy. So he sang in the studio for them to prove that he could actually sing and that the recording was made on an ‘off’ night.

    It’s all crybaby nonsense because Broadway performers sing live, while dancing around and being hoisted in the air, all the effing time, six days a week.


  2. stamperoo says:

    Welll…. yeah, but Broadway dancing and concert dancing aren’t the same. I’ve tried both (on a small scale) and I vote that pop choreo is way harder than musical choreo, in my experience. Broadway choreo often involves the lead singer standing still-ish and belting while the ensemble members whip around them- the idea is to create a whole picture on the entire stage. But concert choreo often involves a jumbotron and closer focus on the popstar, who has to compensate by lunging all over the stage with her abs contracting weirdly as her pelvis thrusts.

    Plus, in a musical, even a the leading role only has maybe 6-8 solo songs spread out over 2 hours. A popstar might do a set of 15-20 songs in the same length of time, competing to hear herself over a screaming crowd, not to mention she’s probably on a crazy tour schedule and not sleeping enough, which kills your voice. All this to say, I know at least that I’ve sounded much much much better in musicals than I ever have doing choreographed concerts: comparatively speaking, I’m a hoarse pitchy piece of crap in a concert show.

    I think most concertgoers are more into the spectacle than the sound- there’s no way a produced-type popstar can sound as good live as they do in studio in the best of circumstances, and odds are she’ll sound way worse. So she might as well dance her face off, and for that she needs to lipsynch.

    That said, I don’t condone lipsynching for non-dancing acts, and I love hearing a good singer really give’r live. Feist, for instance, is unebelievable. But then again, no-one in a Feist audience yells while she sings, and the most active she gets is a wee shimmy around a small stage.

  3. Kelly says:

    @j.bone IDK, the other night I was partying to the wee hours bumpin & grindin and singing at the top o’ my unpracticed yet mellifluent lungs and lemme tell you i was wheezing by the end. wait did i just admit that on the interweb? *la la la la*

  4. […] Auto-Tune the News, Volume 8: T-Pain and Michael Vick Man, these guys got good fast! I first posted about them in April. […]

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