Lemar - 'The Way Love Goes'
OK, I give in. King Cnut had to find out his limits the hard way and so, it seems, do I. If a man with a singing voice of as unmistakably high a quality as Lemar's can resort to a bit of autotune, everyone else might as well opt for a robotracheotomy and have done with it.
At least he's using it well, following the Cher model, where you slightly and subtly androiderise your all-too meaty voice so that it sits better among the unyeilding electronica. It's a bit like having a USB port soldered into your neck. Slightly painful, but a useful way to get two different operating systems to interface effectively*.
The other model is to use it as a kind of robo-polyfilla, where all vocal cracks are given a smooth metallic outer coating because the voice inside would simply collapse without it. If asked, all singers and producers will claim that this model does not actually exist, and that they are all dabbling with this hot new production technique for genuine artistic reasons. And because everyone else is.
(Here's the video. That's not a real bathroom.)
Until now, the opposing argument has always been that people who can really sing, like really SING sing, y'know...really SING SING sing, don't tend to use it, because why would they? Adele doesn't use it. Rod Stewart doesn't use it. Jack Black doesn't use it. Therefore, if you use it, it proves you haven't really got what it takes.
But Lemar has (and Cher has, and she started it). Which leaves us refuseniks with nowhere left to hide. It is just as well, then, that his betrayal of the anti-autotune cause has had such happy results.
Sometimes, with the best will in the world, Lemar's palpable talent has been used to sell songs which are not very much fun. This is not one of those times. It's a dance-pop song: it HAS to be fun. It can't hide behind soulfulness or integrity. So, ditching the stately dignity for a sec, Lemar hammers a one-note verse (with variations) before belting out a chorus of disco machine-gun syllables, jabberjabberjabber. He then slows to end on two long notes, like a spring winding down in a clockwork toy.
The end result of all this tinkering is a kind of elder brother to the Black Eyed Peas' 'I Gotta Feeling', only without the shouting and toasts. The very idea of this might fill some of you with horror, and if it does, all I can say is that with time (and some intensive therapy) this will pass.
Now, where's my daily mantra card? Ah, here. Autotune is good....autotune is goood...
*NOTE: Please do not try this yourself. It does not work.