The Cher Effect

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I can remember where I was when I first heard Auto-Tune turned up to 11.  I was coming up to a particular curve on my commute and the radio announcer introduced a song by Cher and “Believe” came on. It was like Cher in a carnival mirror—and I liked Cher back in the day. She has a voice others would want to be able to mimic. While the albums may sound dated now, the voice she shared on Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves and Half-Breed is inimitable—it’s masculine, feminine, sexy, strong, and Cher. 

The twisting of her voice with Auto-Tune excited many fans, obviously, as the album did exceptionally well.  The sound on “Believe” was a novelty, but it was also an indication of the same sort of self-consciousness that led Lennon to distort his amazing voice over the years of his recordings.  Granted those tunes sound amazing, it’s still striking that Lennon should think his voice needed anything other than a careful recording. Same with Cher.

New Uses for Auto-Tune

It turns out Auto-Tune has been a different kind of distortion in the music industry than what Lennon and George Martin had done to “I Am the Walrus” or “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite.” It’s become a staple of the Euro-disco sound, a flag of bad singing in some instances, and a stamp of commercial stooping.  It’s polarizing. Many listeners do hear it as just plain old distortion. No doubt there will be—or are—Louis Armstrong Auto-Tune revisions.  Exactly. Why would anyone ever do that to a real voice?

 ‘Not sure whether Cher can still sing as I haven’t heard a thing from her since that day back in the late 90s when I was coming up on that curve and heard her voice wrong. There have been some viral ones since such as “gotta’ have my bowl” from “Friday” and some other contenders from some more mainstream crew.  Just hunt up “worst Auto-Tune songs” and you will have your fill.



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