Sunday, October 4, 2009

Holy Auto-Tune, Batman

I hate when the commercial pop music world takes a song, decides it's not really polished enough for radio success, and completely changes it to something they think is better.

Driving back from work today, I flipped the radio station and heard a song that was vaguely familiar. It had some girl singing, but the beat was recognizable and I knew I had positive feelings towards it, even though I couldn't place it, even though it was the wrong person singing and there were all sorts of loopy flares over beat. Three seconds later, I realized what it was.

Someone decided it was a good idea to take "Star Struckk" by 3OH!3, auto-tune the hell out of it, add Katy Perry's "feminine response" to the lyrics, and add some dance beats over the dance beats. And then to sprinkle on some more synth and a little more pop. And some sparkle. I think this song is glittering.

This is not a song that should glitter. "Star Struckk" begins with the lyrics: "Nice legs, daisy dukes, makes a man go *whistle* ... low-cut, see through, shirts that make you *whistle*" This is not a... clean song. It's dirty, it's a little raunchy. The words are half sung, half screamed, with some big beats behind it. It's one of my favorite songs off the album, but not one I would play in front of my grandmother. It gets a little more introspective as it goes, and I love the chorus: "I think I should know how to make love to something innocent without leaving my fingerprints out. L-O-V-E's just another word I never learned to pronounce." It's a big song that fits so perfectly with imperfect vocals and huge beats.

But then, then someone took it and turned it into this. I realize that 3OH!3 was a part of this decision, that they went into the studio with Katy Perry and recorded this and that they made a conscious decision to put this out into the world. But I want to believe that it's because some executive decided that it was a good idea, not because they thought this version of the song, where their voices are completely unrecognizable, where Katy Perry's voice is unrecognizable, and where their song has been completely lost, was not their decision. It sounds nothing like them, or their songs. And what is up with Katy Perry's "response section"? Are they trying to be a little more "correct"? It's as if they're saying, "Sure, we're being gigantic assholes, but it's not actually working to get us girls." Except, that's exactly what the original song was saying. The video is them lying in a writhing pile of half naked girls. I mean, come on.

I don't mind it so much live. Sure, they're not all the greatest singers, but who cares? It's the energy and the music and their own voices. I don't want to listen to a computer, I want to listen to the actual singers. I like Katy Perry. I like 3OH!3. I think their live voices are a little off, but I want to hear them. I wouldn't have a problem if they just added Katy to the song, but the auto tuning and beat adding and crazy synth took a cool, catchy song and turned it into something almost unlistenable.

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