Last night as I was listening to, and really really trying to like, T. Pain's latest over-produced and overly guest heavy new album Thr33 Ringz I quickly determined that Mister Pain is still painfully over-using that vocoder like voice altering program which I had hoped would have stayed back in the summer of 2007 when near every damn rapper had some digitally altered ear-piercing robot voice effect prominent in their sing-songy rap hit single/video. I thought or rather hoped the fad was long over. But I was wrong.
Apparently here at the end of 2008/cusp of 2009 this gratingly annoying vocal effect is still very much alive as proven by such current hits as the T. Pain featuring Lil Wayne single "Can't Believe It" -- found on the R&B singer's aforementioned recently released new album.
But let's leave T. Pain alone. Even more painful to these hip-hop loving ears is Kanye (the artist formerly known as a hip-hopper) West, who recently, in an interview about his rap-free new LP, announced that "hip-hop is over for me" and who dedicates his heartbreakingly-hard-to-listen-to entire new album (808s and Heartbreak) to (like T.Pain) singing through the vocoder like autotuner effects. Jeesh. I guess his hanging out with Daft Punk just rubbed off on him way more than anyone could have ever anticipated. Below is a clip of Kanye performing a track off this new album on Letterman earlier this week. Disappointing? Hells yeah and not coz the autotuner is a bad piece of musical recording/performing equipment. But like anything in music, as in life, it comes down to how you use it, or rather don't use it (3 words Kanye: "less is more").