Autotune is a plug-in utilized by many musicians that allows them to correct flaws in pitch; however, certain artists use it as a tool to create purposeful flaws and amplify their vocals in a unique and wholly original way. This creates a very different listening experience and pushes the listener into different musical pockets. Autotune’s use is far more creative than the average listener may think. It allows the artist to create tones that one may not be able to with their natural, un-tuned vocals. Using different autotune presets can create different vocal textures, creating a dynamic experience for the listener. Artists like T-Pain and Young Thug made their mark on the music industry by creating their whole sound based around the plug-in. Enjoy these picks that display a different array of artists and their different uses of autotune.
Frank Ocean – Lens
On this song, the autotune on Frank Ocean’s vocals slowly but surely fades and his raw vocal becomes the forefront of the track. As he sings over elegant production, his vocals begin to sound more natural and human which creates a certain bewildering feeling for the listener.
Bon Iver – ____45_____
Bon Iver has been experimenting with autotune for quite some time, using it to create intricate harmonies and beautiful melodies. On this song, the autotune isn’t placed on the vocals but rather the swirling horns in the background which contrast the crisp, unaltered vocals.
James Blake – Don’t Miss It
James Blake is always pushing the boundaries of what can be created with sound. He often uses a variety of filters and vocoders to create engaging experiences for the listener. On Don’t Miss It, the human voice is a fundamental part of the song with an ethereal vocal chop appearing throughout that has also been tuned a bit.
Kilo – Overthinking
Oakland’s own Kilo’s vocal style is hypnotizing and his impeccable beat selection make him someone to keep an eye on.
Kanye West – Say You Will
Kanye West brought autotune to the hip hop world in a way that no other could, bridging the gap of what melodies could be used in the genre. He uses autotune to make his voice more like an additional instrument. Throughout much of his discography, Kanye pushes the limits of what autotune can do.
Imogen Heap – Hide and Seek
Imogen Heap loves experimenting with her vocals and her breakout hit Hide and Seek is evidence of that. Hide and Seek has no instrumentation in the background; it is solely Heap’s vocals drenched in autotune heavy harmonies.
T-Pain – Buy You a Drank
One of the most noteworthy artists to ever use autotune is T-Pain. His smash hit Buy You a Drank is a fine example of the magic he creates with the plugin.
Young Thug – Check
When Young Thug burst out onto the scene in 2015, his unique style broke down the door for a whole new movement in hip hop. He stretches his voice in an indescribable manner, oftentimes pushing the limits of what he can accomplish with his vocals.
Tyler, the Creator – GONE, GONE/THANK YOU
GONE, GONE/THANK YOU is a vibrant highlight from Tyler, the Creator’s 2019 album Igor. The song contains two parts that seamlessly play off of each other. Tyler not only pitch shifts his vocals but also applies some autotune which creates a dreamy, melancholic listening experience.
Daft Punk – Around the World
French electronic music duo Daft Punk often utilizes autotune when creating their infectious choruses. This track is a perfect example of how catchy it can sound.