Cat Power’s new album Sun dropped earlier this week, and the fact that she uses Auto-Tune on the track “3, 6, 9” has generated almost as much interest as the album itself. For an ostensibly innocuous pitch-correction effect, Auto-Tune has generated a heap of controversy over the last decade, ever since Cher introduced it to the world during the chorus of “Believe.” Much of the opprobrium directed at the use of the software is entirely justified (Hi, Eiffel 65! Hi, Chris Cornell!), but that’s not to say that every Auto-Tuned track is a priori awful — so we’ve set ourselves the challenge of finding 10 tracks that use its sound in creative or interesting ways. And for clarity’s sake, we’re discussing Auto-Tune as an audible pseudo-vocoder effect here, not as a production tweak to correct an errant vocal — otherwise every chart song since the turn of the millennium would be eligible. Anyway, let us know if we’ve missed anything. First person to suggest “Believe” or anything by T-Pain gets a lump of coal for Christmas.
Daft Punk — “One More Time”
Two years after “Believe,” Daft Punk proved that Auto-Tune didn’t have to be a novelty effect used to stink up an already dreadful song. The artificial vocal tones the effect produced on this track were a perfect fit for the band’s robotic persona, making this a fine example of using Auto-Tune for a reason, rather than just whacking it on whoever’s singing the hook because that’s what everybody else is doing.