Computer Love: How autotune exposes flaws just as much as concealing them


Manipulation of the voice can be a great opinion splitter. X Factor’s legion of fans will call it dishonest; a seasoned rockist may call it trite. But autotune is the musical texture that best defines our relationship with technology, in all its intimacy.

In this week’s playlist, autotune exposes the flaws of the human voice just as much as it conceals them. Take the moment at the beginning of Kanye West’s ‘Street Lights,’ where his voice erupts into distortion. Similarly compelling is the lack of instrumentation on Imogen Hope’s ‘Hide and Seek,’ which results in one of the most quietly powerful pop songs of the 2000s. These kinds of computerized love songs are as touching as any earnest, acoustic songwriters.

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