What do YOU say?

“Mmm whatcha say?
Mmm that you only meant well?
Well of course you did.
Mmm whatcha say?
Mmm that it’s all for the best?
Of course it is.”

Do you know who wrote these lyrics? If you’re thinking Jason DeRulo, please think again. If you have heard of Imogen Heap, you know better. For how could this so-called artist Jason DeRulo possibly take credit for such an alluring musical bridge? He can’t. Though he has written “songs” for rappers/singers such as Diddy, Danity Kane, Donnie Klang, Sean Kingston, Cassie, and Lil Mama, they are simply lyrics. He is not responsible for the configuration of the libretto mixed with the smooth, silk-like feel of the synth. His producers sped up the lyrics, added some background noise, and he has received all of the tribute.

Anyone who has been around me in the past month or so may have experienced a digression break out. When the subject of Jason DeRulo and his “superb singer/songwriter abilities” are brought into discussion, I freak out a little bit. Something that will never cease to astonish me is the fact that people believe that Jason DeRulo is responsible for those few epic lines stated above.

I’d like to say that I’m not against anything that he does as an artist…but I tuned into American Idol last season and witnessed his live performance perform of his hit song, “Whatcha Say”. For the record, I was sorely unimpressed. In the album recording, he goes into his falsetto which causes listeners to believe his vocal abilities cover a far greater expanse on the scale when in reality, it is not so. He was off-key, and instead of going up to hit the notes, he dropped down the octave. It was pathetic. Anybody heard of auto-tune?

Go here to watch the music video and listen to the song “Hide and Seek – Imogen Heap”. Though she uses auto-tune as well, she does not rely on it for every song. This song has that effect because it is completely a cappella, therefore it is truly a remarkable sound. You will hear about halfway through the song, the above lines, and in the original performance.

Auto-tune is used to mask off-key errors and mistakes, and allows singers to perform perfectly tuned vocal tracks without actually performing in tune. Hence, the notes are automatically tuned. It is an innovative tool to perfect slight slips in performances; I will give it that much credit. However, “artists” who have no real musical ability have used it to carry them through entire concerts and even careers, Exhibit A, T-Pain. All I can think to say is that I am displeased in finding more and more artists getting record deals because they sound “good enough” with the auto-tune effect. Instead of the studios traveling to find real people with real abilities and talent, they stumble upon a schmuck off the street who possesses a decent “rapping voice” and hand him a record deal. It makes me sick.

-Anna Gingrich