Yesterday, Bo Bliz posted re: Stevie Wonder’s new song (a track for Obama’s inaugural soundtrack). Perhaps surprisingly, at least for those who don’t remember Stevie’s been at the tricknology vanguard for a minute (e.g.), Bliz reports that the song uses that plugin dujour, Antares Autotune (hereafter in lowercase, like xerox and kleenex).
Now, obviously Stevie doesn’t need help hitting his high notes. (I saw him in concert a little over a year ago and can attest that his pipes remain remarkably powerful.) So his use of the plugin calls attn, more than anything, to the way it’s become but a zeitgeisty effect — the “new reverb” — employed for style, not pitch correction (at least in certain cases — ahem — when it’s used for both).
Because you only really hear autotune when a singer is in between notes, and b/c there’s not much sliding in this song, Stevie’s use of the effect is far from T-Painful (luh dat tho); he resists running stairs despite being one of the most virtuosic and, importantly, motivated melismatic acrobats out there (in contrast to American Idol hacks who put fancy, meaningless filigree on every syllable).
Signed, sealed, robot-o-fied for 2009!