“The Making of a Song” is an exclusive series from AT&AT which premiered on Direct TV this past November.
The show portrayed a raw, intimate look at the creation process behind Taylor Swift’s latest album “Reputation”.
But after watching the clips, just one question came to mind.
How can this artist have 10 Grammy awards?
The series is made up of short 7 to 10 minute clips, following the pop-superstar during the whole production process, with footage taken mostly from mobile phones and other low grade cameras.
One of the most striking things about the series is the extremely noticeable contrast between Taylor Swift’s voice in her albums and concerts compared to her raw, unfiltered interpretations.
It’s not even about the quality of the recording itself, it’s about the ability in her actual performance.
While her voice sounds bright, stingy and pitch accurate in her albums, here, she’s routinely out of tune, her range extremely limited and just plain uninteresting.
At times, it just feels like listening to someone with no musical training singing away nonchalantly in the shower.
Swift has been one of the most recurrent targets of fans, music critics and musicians who despise the abuse of auto-tune in the industry, and honestly this series only helps build the case against her.
Swift’s limited vocal talents were famously put into the limelight during the 2010 Grammy Awards when she completely butchered Fleetwood Mac’s classic, Rhiannon, in a disastrous duet with Stevie Nicks.
The technology debuted in 1997 as a plug-in for Pro Tools, the leading recording software in the music industry.
It’s analyzes the singer’s vocals and allows the producer to place effects on the “wrong” notes which edits them into the intended pitch.
Auto-tune came to the forefront when it was featured heavily in Cher’s 1998 smash hit “Believe”. Since then, the production gimmick has somehow “democratized” the entertainment scene, allowing some less than perfect vocalists and musicians to get away with their lack of ability.
Auto-tune can now be used not only on vocals, but on instruments as well. Even more, it can be used in real-time during live performances.
The music industry has embraced it wholeheartedly because of the effort and money it saves during production, not to mention it can transform almost anybody into a decent singer.
It’s inventor, Dr. Andy Hildebrand says about his product, “I just make the car. I don’t drive it down the wrong side of the road.”
Post production tools have been around since the very conception of the music industry.
However, it’s one thing to use these aids as a stylistic choice, like Peter Frampton’s famous talk box antics, and another very different thing to make up for a lack of talent on behalf of the artist.
These days, just about every single mainstream act uses and abuses the auto-tune technology, raking in millions of dollars in the process and raising a whole generation on the robotised sound.
Personally, I’m bewildered by how a pop star like Taylor Swift has earned so far 10 Grammy awards throughout her six albums, whilst artists such as Nina Simone, have none.
In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Keith Richards said Swift’s career is a “flavour of the month,”.
“Good luck girl — wish her well while it lasts,” he said in the interview.