Originally created to correct inaccurate pitches and smoothen out any off-key notes in a singer’s track, Auto-Tune is now used willy-nilly, slathered on hooks and verses to create special, fancy and otherworldly effects. Almost every artist has jumped on the Auto-Tune bandwagon, and it’s not a bad thing, really. And there are of course some, like the D.O.A rapper, who have made futile attempts to advocate its decline. There are plenty songs that have creatively manipulated this audio processer to create sounds that make for good listening, but we could only pick our best five.
Kanye West – Heartless
Choosing which track out of ‘808s and Heartbreak’ was best Auto-Tuned is a tough task. The contenders are “Love Lockdown”, “Say you will” and “Amazing”. We could have listed all if we wanted, but hey, we have to give other kids a chance to shine. On “Heartless” Kanye creatively employed Auto-Tune, succeeding in evoking emotional distress and other emotions he intended to arouse with the album. On the hook, what you hear is a world-weary voice telling a tale of a bitter experience, and it was indeed the aftermath of his mother’s death.
Lil Wayne – Lollipop
This was before the skateboarding, before the seizures, back when Wayne was Wayne. He applied a healthy dose of Auto-Tune over a sick beat and the result was a chart-topping single that was also the clubs’ favourite in the days of yore.
T-Pain – Buy You a Drink
T-Pain reintroduced the Auto-Tune trend in 2007 with “Buy You a Drink”, his highest charting single to date. Auto-Tune became his trademark, and that led to the coining of the word ‘T-Paining’. Although he now appears to be teetering on the edge of irrelevance, he’ll always be known as the master of Auto-Tune.
T.I. – Live Your Life
Who could ever forget this absolute hit, with a catchy and hypnotic Auto-Tuned chorus provided by Rihanna? “Live Your Life” is one of the highlights that T.I.’s sixth studio album, ‘Paper Trail’ has to offer. It, however, ended up an extremely annoying song due to its inevitable repetitiveness and ubiquity.
The Black Eyed Peas – Boom Boom Pow
Will.i.am is one of the many who have relied heavily on Auto-Tune for quite some time. Here, with his group, they made a heart-throbbing dance track, but the most memorable of its features of are the Auto-Tune lashings.