They’re mad, and they’re not gonna take it anymore.
Wake up Kanye, Mr. Gibbard’s in the building– and he and his fellow Death Cab for Cutie bandmates mean business. The indie rock superstars (if such a term can exist within its own undeniable irony) have just declared a new war on the music frontier: the battle against Auto-Tune.
For those of you who don’t hang out with T-Pain, or may have forgotten, Auto-Tune is an audio processor used by many studio engineers to correct insufficiencies in the pitch of both vocalists and instrumentalists. These days, however, Auto-Tune has become its own “instrument,” one that has been widely used by T-Pain, Kanye West, Miley Cyrus, and other high caliber artists. A healthy dab of the Auto-Tune function results in a vocoder-like effect, one that can be heard on numerous hip hop hits like Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop,” and all of West’s 808 and Heartbreak.
Death Cab and their bespectacled frontman Gibbard see the practice as a cop-out, and wore blue ribbons to Sunday’s Grammy ceremony as a means of promoting their cause.
“We’re here to raise awareness about Auto-Tuner abuse,” Gibbard told MTV. “Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen a lot of good musicians being affected by this newfound digital manipulation of the human voice, and we feel enough is enough.”
“We want … to bring back the blue note,” he explained to MusicRadar. “The note that’s not so perfectly in pitch and gives the recording soul and real character. It’s how people really sing.”
Will the boys of Death Cab prevail in their plight against the over-produced? Probably not. But it is undoubtedly refreshing to hear a voice, off-key or with perfect pitch, championing the cause of real music.