Thursday, November 6, 2014

T-Pain Singing Without Autotune Is Awesome. And Sad.

[Editor's Note: I'm giving the thinkpiece treatment to a web video about a has-been singer. Yeah, it's that kinda day. You thought I'd be talking about the election results?]

Yeah, I realize I'm a few days late with this one. Whatever, I've been working. It happens. In any event, the Internets were going Nuts earlier this week when a video of T-Pain doing an edition of NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert made the rounds. Most of the comments expressed amazement that Teddy Pinned Her A$$ Down could actually carry a tune without the assistance of a computer. And after having watched this myself, I found it enjoyable, and sad at the same time.

I'm not exactly shocked that T-Pain can carry a tune. The guy is naturally talented. He can rap better than 75% of the numbskulls on the radio right now, can write songs, is funny, and probably would have made the transition to TV/acting if he had a more foreward looking manager. Well, that, and Jay-Z's "Death Of Autotune", a mostly pointless and forgettable song that somehow convinced people that T-Pain was lame and essentially stalled his career.

I guess the more surprising thing here is that people thought T-Pain couldn't sing. I mean, come on, seriously? What's the likelihood that a husky darkskinned guy from Tallahassee would get put on if he couldn't sing in the first place? Making it as an R&B singer today requires some level of talent after all. What's sad is that the industry's so screwed up that an otherwise talented person had to resort to using a gimmick to be relevant. In a different era, T-Pain woulda been Jeffrey Osborne or Peabo Bryson, and might not be reduced to singing songs about bartenders and a$$es to get airplay. But alas, this is not such an era. R&B sucks, "urban radio" is unlistenable, and I've got Little Dragon in my headphones a whole lot of late.

Here's to hoping T-Pain using his newfound (fleeting?) notoriety to get his career back on track.

Eff' an autotune.

Question: Were you shocked that T-Pain could actually sing.

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