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"We Are The World" - 25 Years Later

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  • #31
    Yes, there is a whole generation of folks out there who think that autotune is the modern sound. If you listen to the radio, they are right! I'm not saying that I like it, but, lets face it, if you listen to Black Eyed Peas, you're going to expect some autotune. It's part of the sound. For those of you who doubt it, It's pretty hard to get auto tune to sound the way they want it to when you use it as an effect. On the Peas records, I think you'll find that AT is doing exactly what they want it to. It's not just some random stock preset.
    For the current version of the Black Eyed Peas the "Blatant Robotic Autotune" is part of the sound. But in the records they made in the years before that, Will-i-Am used AT very discretely to cover up the fact that he couldn't sing in tune if you put a gun to his head.

    The "Blatant Robotic Autotune" is part of a sound, and it is a fad and an effect. The Jason Bieber kind of autotuning is the best an engineer can do to make it seem like he can sing (even though he really can't). That kind of digital fraud is a lot more sinister than the "Blatant Robotic Autotune" thing. People know that Lil'Wayne doesn't talk like a robot. But they may not know that Jason Bieber or Taylor Swift are not very good singers. That is where the damage is done; in perception.

    And yes on the Peas record AT is being used to do exactly what Will-i-Am wants it to do. And that is to cover up that fact that Fergie is the only person in the group who can actually sing. "Blatant Robotic Autotune" is a fad. Deceptive trickery that fools the listening public into thinking that someone is a singer, who in fact really can't sing at all is true fraud. That is what is sad about that video, and the recording industry in general, in it's present form.

    Of course Haiti needs the money. I would hope that we are able to honestly discuss how good or bad a recording is for its own sake regardless of the cause. And yes; I can sing in key and in pitch without the benefit of pitch correction; blatant or otherwise. So I guess that means that I could do better than about half of the singers in that video.
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    • #32
      The most distracting production element for me is how everyone sounds like they are in a different room for their solos. I found it pretty uncomfortable. It gets less noticeable when the choir starts up... maybe it sounds better if I listen trough my laptop instead of through headphones?

      The sad thing is, this record was meant to raise lots of money for Haiti. I hope it does, but I think it will fall far, far short of expectations, because:

      1) The "older" crowd who prefers the original simply do not like the new version and will thus not bother to buy/legally download the single.

      2) The younger crowd, too young to remember the original, does like the new version, but will not buy/legally download the single because they are culturally accustomed to downloading/ripping music illegally.

      Thus...very little money will be raised for this song.


      Even if the young crowd doesn't buy the song they see folks they look up to getting together for a cause, and then at the end they're plugged with "Text 50555 to send $10 to Haiti" message.

      If the point of the endeavor is to raise awareness, evoke emotion and then hit people up for $ I think it succeeds.

      Hopefully adults don't need to see a music video to be cajoled into donating to charity!

      As far as singing ability: I think that unfortunately for you guys, the "casual listener" has a tin ear anyway (and doesn't even really care) and can't even tell (or doesn't mind) that first kid is way over-processed. So, I don't know that singing ability will have a huge impact on sales. This isn't classical music, or music created for an audience that really listens to music, it's hollywood pop culture show business music. You guys might wish that everyone in music was a talented musician, and real athletes might hate professional wrestlers... but I don't know that professional wrestlers are a sign of the decay of the sports... they just don't cater an audience that most of y'all identify with.

      Finally, I'm glad Wyclef was there! If anybody is going to guilt me into donating it's someone who I know is already passionately advocating for Haiti.
      <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">Whenever I'm walking home in the dark and afraid that a psycho might attack me, I use reverse psychology and convince myself that I am the psycho. - Rowka</font></div>

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      • #33
        Yes, there is a whole generation of folks out there who think that autotune is the modern sound. If you listen to the radio, they are right! I'm not saying that I like it, but, lets face it, if you listen to Black Eyed Peas, you're going to expect some autotune.


        Well, BEP only did the Auto-Tune thing with their current album. They were relatively late in the game as far as the Auto-Tune gimmick goes.

        Of course, over 10 years ago, BEP (before they added Fergie) was a pretty bad-ass underground hip-hop act.
        <div class="signaturecontainer"><b>Elson Trinidad</b><br><br><i>Singer, Songwriter, Keyboardist, Bassist</i><br><br>Elson and the Soul Barkada<br><br><br><br><b>Web:</b> <a href="http://www.elsongs.com" target="_blank">www.elsongs.com</a><br><br><b>MySpace:</b> <a href="http://www.myspace.com/elsongs" target="_blank">www.myspace.com/elsongs</a><br><br><b>Facebook:</b> <a href="http://www.facebook.com/business/dashboard/?ref=sb#/pages/Elson-and-the-Soul-Barkada/17610745066" target="_blank">Facebook Page</a><br><br><b>Twitter:</b> <a href="http://twitter.com/elsongs" target="_blank">twitter.com/elsongs</a></div>

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        • #34
          Well, BEP only did the Auto-Tune thing with their current album. They were relatively late in the game as far as the Auto-Tune gimmick goes.

          Of course, over 10 years ago, BEP (before they added Fergie) was a pretty bad-ass underground hip-hop act.
          And they have always tuned their vocals, even when they were a "pretty bad-ass underground hip-hop act." Just not in the "Blatant Robotic Autotune" way that they did on this record. They may have been late in the gimmick phase, but not late in the autotune game.
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          • #35
            Too many solo parts. There were also some who ruined it by being soloed too long or multiple times. They sounded bad the first time round and were given additional lines. Others who could really good sing had no more than a single line or less. I think they also drug the whole thing out too long. Ending it with rap vs a calypso thing wasnt my thing either.

            Obviously the producers never spent any time in the caribbean or purposely avoided the music being played in that region. Last time I checked it wasnt urban drug rap music, it contained much more ragae and calypso influences so the whole thing to me came off sounding like a political indoctrination.

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            • #36

              The "Blatant Robotic Autotune" is part of a sound, and it is a fad and an effect. The Jason Bieber kind of autotuning is the best an engineer can do to make it seem like he can sing (even though he really can't). That kind of digital fraud is a lot more sinister than the "Blatant Robotic Autotune" thing. People know that Lil'Wayne doesn't talk like a robot. But they may not know that Jason Bieber or Taylor Swift ar.



              Funny thing about entertainers. We "lay" public use entertainers to help us relax and forget our workaday cares and woes. This is why entertainers look like hippies, bums, hookers, wastrels, bikers, cowboys, playaz, rastafarians, you-name-it.
              Each of us "lay listeners" (of the middle-class developed world) likes to fantasize he is a well-dressed, buttoned-down, responsible, taxpaying corporate exec by day--- but secretly a beach bum/hippie/playa/cowboy on the weekends.

              In the "Golden Age" of American entertainment, people like Dean Martin understood this: he posed onstage as a drunk, a footloose, rich swinger and a lecher of young girls. What people don't know is, the tumblers of amber beverage he took onstage with him were of apple juice, not whiskey. In his spare time he most certainly did not chase young girls. (There is some question nowadays as to whether he actually "liked girls" at all....)

              Frank Sinatra wore jaunty hats and sportshirts and appeared onstage as the perennial bachelor/playboy type. In so doing, he invited our parents' generation to get in touch with their own carefree "holiday" selves, our playful "inner Child", if you will--- the part of us far from the workaday world of care, debt and responsibility.... It appeared for all the world that all the Rat Pack did was drink booze, play golf, crack wise, spin roulette, sunbathe and chase starlets.

              But it was a carefully crafted illusion: the Rat Pack worked their goddamned asses off behind the scenes to perfect their showbiz prowess : they could REALLY sing live... being carefully coached by musical geniuses like Marty Paich and Nelson Riddle. They all were advanced tap dancers, coached by Broadway choreographers. Actors coached by the best Hollywood dramatic coaches. Their stage patter written by comedic writers. They stayed super-slim and did not allow themselves to get fat.

              Today, we've got these kiddos who look like rapper thugz, prostitutes, playaz, cowpokes and rastafarians... Yes, they do succeed here in giving us a "leisure" sartorial image with which to identify (if only in our spare time). But they're not always coming up with the hard work behind the scenes.... that genuine ability to sing flawlessly and dance fantastically, act convincingly.

              This is where the decay in the entertainment industry has set in. Young artists want to "keep it real".... forgetting that show business was NEVER real; it was always, at its best, a well-crafted illusion, but one undergirded by undeniable work, discipline, and that elusive thing.... talent.

              You gotta hand it to an artist like Reba McEntire: a modern entertainer who DID, in fact, teach herself to sing flawlessly, dance fantastically and become a superb comedic actress (her comedic timing became every bit as good as a Lucille Ball or any other super-great comedian of yesteryear). It's that kind of "seriousness" that makes a true Megastar.

              [/rant]
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              • #37

                As far as singing ability: I think that unfortunately for you guys, the "casual listener" has a tin ear anyway (and doesn't even really care) and can't even tell (or doesn't mind) that first kid is way over-processed.


                Newspapers and mainstream publications like Rolling Stone regularly use the phrase "autotuning" when speaking of vocals, using this in reviews, articles, etc., so in my opinion, people can often tell the difference, and more than that, it's just a "given" for people that everything is autotuned now. So I think it's more that a lot of people don't mind that it's autotuned.

                So, I don't know that singing ability will have a huge impact on sales.


                The Autotuning itself probably won't have an impact on sales; whether people like it in general or want to contribute will have an impact.
                Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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                • #38
                  the funny thing is, the recipient doesn't hear the non-harmonious vocals, but everybody is repulsive to unsympathic timbre of people who should work in another profession

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                  • #39
                    The Autotuning itself probably won't have an impact on sales; whether people like it in general or want to contribute will have an impact.
                    Of course it does. If people heard Taylor Swift, Jason Beiber, Rascal Flatts, Akon etc. without atotune, most would realize that they can't really sing, and that would have an impact on the illusion that they are actually artists.

                    That they are tuned to death and that pretty much the entire performance that people hear on the radio sounds pretty good to the average listener, has a huge impact on sales because it is what allows the fraud that they are singers to be perpetuated in the first place .
                    <div class="signaturecontainer"><b> &quot;It's all good; except when it's Great.&quot; </b><br />
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                    • #40
                      I don't agree; critics are not regular people.


                      1. Critics are writing it for the "average joe".
                      2. Not all the articles were critics, as many were mainstream newspaper articles, which I mentioned already.
                      3. The phrase "autotuned" is used without explanation, with the assumption that people know what it is already.

                      I know you like to think that everyone is stupid and somehow cannot realize that 1.) everyone suddenly sounds bizarrely different from music that was made prior to the mid-90s, 2.) people sound different when they are singing right in front of you without amplfication than they do on a pop record or through a PA. Sure, some people cannot realize this, and I realize that it makes us all feel like we're somehow "in the know" because we have "superior" "discerning" tastes and knowledge, but the thing of the matter is that regular articles are regularly using the phrase "autotuning" with the assumption that the reader already knows what it is.

                      Of course it does. If people heard Taylor Swift, Jason Beiber, Rascal Flatts, Akon etc. without atotune, most would realize that they can't really sing, and that would have an impact on the illusion that they are actually artists.

                      That they are tuned to death and that pretty much the entire performance that people hear on the radio sounds pretty good to the average listener, has a huge impact on sales because it is what allows the fraud that they are singers to be perpetuated in the first place .


                      Most of the people sing well enough that they could get through a few takes a get a good take. Hell, I don't even sing at all and even I can do that, so certainly someone who makes a living as a singer would be able to sing one or two lines on "We Are The World" adequately enough. I'm sure you'll disagree because you think the younger generation sucks and no one cares and so forth, but I figured I'd try and point these things out nonetheless.

                      The AutoTune is largely for aesthetics, not just pitch correction, and even when Fergie - who really can sing - is away from the Black Eyed Peas, she's still AutoTuned. If AutoTune were only for pitch correction, someone would go in, just tweak a couple of notes, and bang, it'd be done. But since it's running all the way throughout a performance is clearly indicative that it's largely (not exclusively, but largely) for aesthetics.

                      And for the record, I can't stand the AutoTuned sound, so I'm hardly defending its use. I'm just pointing out these things above. Things are rarely so black and white as "singers nowadays suck and so the music industry is pulling the wool over everyone's eyes."
                      Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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                      • #41
                        I don't agree; critics are not regular people.


                        Well, that's a true statement.
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                        • #43
                          Remember that critics actually process music differently than non-pro listeners. Critics process music as more of a left-brain activity, casual listeners more as right-brain. This has been tested by seeing which synapses fire, and where, in response to music.

                          This also explains why the critics' top 10 list at the end of the year is always so different from the "reader poll" top 10 lists.

                          As to the remake, the less said, the better. Good intentions and all that, but the formula is dated.

                          Can you imagine what the impact would have been if an original song had been written, with each "star" singing a couple of lines a capella? Hell, even the American Idol contestants try out by singing a capella.
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                          • #44


                            The AutoTune is largely for aesthetics, not just pitch correction, and even when Fergie - who really can sing - is away from the Black Eyed Peas, she's still AutoTuned. If AutoTune were only for pitch correction, someone would go in, just tweak a couple of notes, and bang, it'd be done. But since it's running all the way throughout a performance is clearly indicative that it's largely (not exclusively, but largely) for aesthetics.

                            And for the record, I can't stand the AutoTuned sound, so I'm hardly defending its use. I'm just pointing out these things above. Things are rarely so black and white as "singers nowadays suck and so the music industry is pulling the wool over everyone's eyes."


                            That sums up my POV pretty well. I know how to tune vocals in a way where you could never tell which words I tuned and which ones I didn't. But that's not the style these days. It's an effect. People want it because they think it sounds modern and "better" to them. One man's classic is another's old-assed car. Guys like T-Pain and Rascal Flats have built hugely successful careers out of that sound. Many of the people here want them to stop using it on songs that they may hear because THEY don't like it. Especially on a classic song that has meaning to THEM.

                            Get over it. Like gated drums, it will be gone soon enough and then we'll all have to find something else to spend our "hatin" energy on.

                            Pop music is style.

                            Sometimes the dress makes the girl look better than she has the right to look. Sometimes she just looks ridiculous. She looks different to different people. Her friends see her one way. Dad sees her another, and her boyfriend sees something else completely. What I see around here are a bunch of old men who want to see things stay the same as when they first got bitten by the music bug. I hate to be the one to tell you, but that's not going to happen.

                            Steve
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                            • #45
                              The AutoTune is largely for aesthetics, not just pitch correction, and even when Fergie - who really can sing - is away from the Black Eyed Peas, she's still AutoTuned. If AutoTune were only for pitch correction, someone would go in, just tweak a couple of notes, and bang, it'd be done."
                              Of course Fergie can sing. I have said that few times on this thread. But Will-i-Am cannnot. Auto-tune - except in the blatant robotic mode - is always used "just for pitch correction." That is it's sole purpose.

                              That it also does that robotic thing in it's extreme setting has only recently become popular. It used to be - and for the vast majority of singers who are tuned still is - desirable to hide the roboitc arifacts so that it is invisible to the "average joe."

                              That is how autotune is used 99 percent of the time. You do know that? Don't you?
                              <div class="signaturecontainer"><b> &quot;It's all good; except when it's Great.&quot; </b><br />
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