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Top 10 Auto-Tune Songs

The Best Examples of Positive Use of Auto-Tune In Pop Music

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Auto-Tune is an audio processor created by Antares Technologies. It was initially designed to correct pitch problems in the recording studio. The use of Auto-Tune technology is controversial in pop music. Many claim that is over-used to give singers perfect pitch who otherwise do not possess the skill. However, producers also use Auto-Tune to create a specific, obvious sound as part of their artistic creation. These are 10 of the best examples of creative use of Auto-Tune effects in pop music.

1. Cher - "Believe" (1998)

Cher - "Believe"
Courtesy Warner Bros.

Back in 1998 no one had seriously considered the use of Antares' Auto-Tune pitch correction software as a recording "special effect." Reportedly, producer Mark Taylor added the distinctive effects on a lark testing out what Auto-Tune could do. Cher says that when she heard the sound she demanded it be left in the recording. The futuristic effect on her vocals is an integral part of the subsequent record, and "Believe" became the biggest hit of Cher's career. To this day, the distinctive Auto-Tune sound is often referred to as the "Cher effect."

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2. Kanye West - "Heartless" (2008)

Kanye West - "Heartless"
Courtesy Roc-a-Fella

When rapper Kanye West set out to record his album 808s and Heartbreak in the aftermath of the tragic death of his mother, he says that he had emotions to express that couldn't be expressed solely through rapping. Consequently, West sings frequently throughout the album. He uses Auto-Tune liberally, because it gives his voice a "heartbroken" sound. T-Pain was consulted on the proper use of the technology in the recording studio.

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3. Daft Punk - "One More Time" (2000)

Daft Punk - "One More Time"
Courtesy Virgin Records

The electronic duo Daft Punk had already used vocoder distorted vocals in their worldwide hit "Around the World." They turned to Auto-Tune to alter vocals by singer Romanthony in the recording of "One More Time." The use of the technology was criticized in much of the music industry, but Daft Punk likened the criticisms to those leveled in the early days of the use of synthesizers in pop music.

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4. T.I. featuring Rihanna - "Live Your Life" (2008)

T.I. featuring Rhianna - "Live Your Life"
Courtesy Atlantic Records

"Live Your Life" features a dramatic, catchy recreation of the yodel-ish hook of O-Zone's "Dragostea Din Tei" by Rihanna. However, when she shifts into English, the Auto-Tune distortion makes her singing sound almost as exotic as the previous Moldovan lyrics. Later in the song a clear, non-distorted break has extra impact due to the earlier distortion.

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5. T-Pain featuring Yung Joc - "Buy You a Drank (Shawty Snappin')" (2007)

T-Pain - "Buy You a Drank"
Courtesy Geffen Records

From his first hit single "I'm Sprung," T-Pain became the acknowledged master behind an Auto-Tune revival in pop music. "Buy You a Drank (Shawty Snappin')" is his biggest hit single and a prime example of his style of drenching the vocals in Auto-Tune distortions.

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6. Chris Brown - "Forever" (2008)

Chris Brown - Forever
Courtesy Jive Records

Chris Brown is not a singer who would require Auto-Tune to stay on pitch. In fact, the opening of "Forever" is sung without its use. However, the judicious use of Auto-Tune by producer Polow da Don is an essential element in creating the overall gorgeous, sweeping sound of this song.

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7. Black Eyed Peas - "Boom Boom Pow" (2009)

Black Eyed Peas - "Boom Boom Pow"
Courtesy A&M Records

When the Black Eyed Peas decided to revisit the futuristic sounds of electro, they brought Auto-Tune along to drench their vocals in a mechanistic, robotic wash. The result is a smash chart-topping pop single.

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8. Rihanna - "Disturbia" (2008)

Rihanna - "Disturbia"
Courtesy Def Jam

A wide range of distortions are utilized to create the otherworldly, horror movie feel of Rihanna's "Disturbia." Auto-Tune is just one of the elements here that creates a disturbed feel.

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9. Lil Wayne featuring Static Major - "Lollipop" (2008)

Lil Wayne - "Lollipop"
Courtesy Cash Money

Rapper Lil Wayne jumped on the Auto-Tune bandwagon here as he embraced singing in his hip hop concoctions.

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10. Jamie Foxx featuring T-Pain - "Blame It" (2009)

Jamie Foxx featuring T-Pain - "Blame It"
Courtesy J Records

There are times when Auto-Tune may go a bit overboard. Here producer and featured performer T-Pain drenches the entire recording in heavy Auto-Tune. However, it does add to how memorable the "al-al-al-alcohol" line becomes.

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