By Christopher Rosa
It’s not hard to record a song nowadays—a laptop, GarageBand and microphone are all one needs to crank out a decent track. And with the magic of Auto-Tune, you can even sound pitch perfect. It’s no surprise that artists flock to this tool to amp up their game, some abusing it to disguise the fact that they can’t really sing at all. It’s like a pop P.E.D.! But music’s most notorious tool isn’t always used for evil.
In some cases, producers use Auto-Tune for artistic expression to add a different aesthetic to their music. The processor gives new life to these songs, making them sound more futuristic, other-worldly and very addictive. Just check out these 10 great tracks! Ranging from pop, rap, and even country, Auto-Tune sends these songs into outer space. Oh, and the peeps can sing too. Check it out.
10. “Not Myself Tonight” by Christina Aguilera
Aguilera explored futuristic sounds throughout her 2010 album Bionic, seen most explosively on its first single, “Not Myself Tonight.” The electro-banger blends Aguilera’s out-of-this-world pipes with synth-heavy beats. The sonic peak at the 2-minute mark is particularly exciting.
9. “Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin’)” by T-Pain feat. Yung Joc
T-Pain is known for his Auto-Tune-drenched tracks, but he can certainly rap without it. “Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin’)” is very computer heavy, which gives it an ecstasy-packed oomph.
8. “Disturbia” by Rihanna
This Grammy-nominated song gets its dark and eerie vibe from synthesized effects. The icy moan at the 1:10 mark is especially disturbing (eh?).
7. “Nobody’s Perfect” by Madonna
Madonna is a proven singer—watch 1996’s Evita if you have doubts—so the use of Auto-Tune throughout her 2000 album Music was simply to explore the drastic contrast between electronica and folk. “Nobody’s Perfect” is a fine example of this; the heavy effects give the track a vacant, shivery vibe.
6. “Dance in the Dark” by Lady Gaga
Gaga goes ’80s nightclub on this booming, industrial track. “Dance in the Dark” employs techno trickery throughout its dizzying production, notably during the “Vogue”-inspired breakdown at the 3:22 mark.
5.”Forever” by Chris Brown”
There’s not one moment in “Forever” where Brown sounds particularly robotic; rather, the effect is evenly spread like an electronic frosting. This puts “Forever” on a dream-like cloud, floating into disco paradise.
4. “The Way You Love Me” by Faith Hill
This one’s interesting: Hill blended her summery vocals with crisp Auto-Tune tinges in the chorus on “The Way You Love Me.” The genre difference is jarring, but obviously paid off: The song was a smash, reaching No. 6 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 2000.
3. “SexyBack” by Justin Timberlake
Timberlake did more than bring sexy back in 2006. He ushered in a wave of electro-pop that still permeates today’s mainstream scope. JT’s verses are muffled on “SexyBack,” giving it a rich, techno feel.
2. “Heartless” by Kanye West
2008’s 808s & Heartbreak is smothered in Auto-Tune and dance-influenced sounds, a departure for West at the time. “Heartless” lives up to its title: The song’s synth-heavy production gives it an icy and, frankly, heartless aura.
1. “Believe” by Cher
Leave it to Cher to usher Auto-Tune into Top 40 radio. The Goddess of Pop’s groundbreaking use of Auto-Tune in “Believe” led many to dub it the “Cher effect” on other artists’ songs. Her signature vocals mixed with the tool made “Believe” an international smash and Cher’s signature song.
[Photo: Getty Images]