Say No To The Vocoder

No matter who becomes President, this election year is sure to bring change in Washington. Both parties are presenting candidates who want to learn from the mistakes of the Bush years and regain America’s standing throughout the world. Today, the Hip-Hop community represents an ever expanding range of backgrounds, ethnicities and experiences, so we have a responsibility to combine our vast resources to correct what may be the biggest tragedy of the last several years: the resurgence of the Vocoder.

To be fair, the worst offenders actually use variations on the device like the Sonovox and Autotuner, but all of them are children of this mighty beast. Once an innocent vocal effect to help sing a song of love between a boy and his computer, the Vocoder family has since become a studio trick to cover up the fact that many of today’s Pop singers can’t actually sing (like, at all). Ever heard T-Pain live with the effects turned off? Yuck. Britney? Even worse. Rihanna’s dead, soulless eyes already scream “femmebot,” so adding a cold, mechanical tone to her naturally flat one-octave range seemingly only makes things worse.

It would be a shame, however, to eliminate the Vocoder from the planet altogether since its powers can be used for good. Snoop Dogg’s “Sexual Eruption” is perhaps the most fun integration of man and machine since The Huxtables met Stevie Wonder*.

Classic Rock heads might also point to Peter Frampton using a Vocoder variation for his famous “talking guitar” bit, and European dance producers everywhere would be devastated without one of their favorite plug-ins. Nevertheless, the world would certainly be a better place if we never had to hear Cher’s “Do You Believe in Love” again.

At this rate, if anyone with a computer can become a wealthy Pop sensation, our economy will surely be in ruins by the end of the decade. Therefore, I propose that, beginning in 2008, the use of Vocoder effects join driving, carrying concealed weapons and selling weed (Cali be on that medicinal Kryptonite) as regulated activities only to be performed by licensed individuals. Licenses will be awarded on a song-by-song basis by a council of trust-worthy individuals made up of Stevie Wonder, Prince, one of those robot guys from Daft Punk, Johnny 5 from the Short Circuit movies and esteemed theoretical physicist Dr. Stephen Hawking. We absolutely must contain this growing threat, so write your Congressman and encourage him to support Vocoder Control in ’08, if not for yourself, then for the future of our country.

Sinceriously Yours,

Alex Thornton

Correction: Actually, that episode was pretty f**king ridiculous. Stevie Wonder’s limo runs into Denise on an icy road and instead of calling the insurance company and faking whiplash, she accepts an invitation to his studio. Next thing you know, the entire family is posted up in the studio with Stevie Wonder jammin’ on the one. No wonder Cliff and Claire never went to work…