Obama and the Violent Hatred of Autotune

There are few things more ridiculous than when conservatives try to do pop culture, whether it’s their lame attempts at being Daily Show copycats that have crashed and burned or this hilarious article by David Goldman accusing Jay-Z of fomenting “American fascism” — with Obama in on the whole thing, of course. He quotes the lyrics from a Jay-Z song called DOA and gives this amusing analysis of it:

The explicit call to violence (including chain-snatching as a form of political expression) is a playful challenge to his “political connects,” namely the president. One should not conclude from this that Obama favors criminal violence, but rather that the popular response to Jay Z’s evocation of felonious rage is so great that Obama finds it convenient to exploit it. There is nothing at all new in any of this: we heard it before from Nietzsche in his evocation of the “blond beast’s” life-affirming violence, from George Sorel, from Mussolini’s call for “creative violence.”

Jay Z appeals to the same kind of rage that Hitler and Mussolini exploited during the interwar years…

This is a war in which there are no knockout punches, no decisive battles: It is an extended war of attrition to recreate a conservative majority from the grass roots up, in the face of a truly evil effort to exploit the rage and frustration of young Americans. It will last the rest of our lifetimes and more.

But as Amanda Marcotte points out, the song DOA is actually about…autotune. Seriously.

Oh man, that’s very scary! I mean, “DOA”! Whatever you do, however, don’t actually listen to the song itself, which came out in 2009 and is short for…..wait for it…. “Death Of Autotune”.

Yep, the “violent” lyrics Goldman is talking about are not actually a call to go out and hurt Republicans. He casually leaves out the lyrics like, “This is death of auto-tune, death of the ringtone”, because that might the idiots reading his column realize that the song is actually about how the song itself is like “a deadly weapon” against not actual human beings but heavily autotuned music. Or maybe Goldman thinks that “autotune” is secret hip-hop code for “crotchety white people”. I can assure him, it’s not. It’s a production tool you can use to make someone’s voice sing-songy that happens to be really popular in music right now.

Hell, I’m all for violence to end the threat of autotune.

"I'm not appalled. What I am is disappointed.Yet wistfully hopeful, mind you, but dolefully disappointed. ..."

Trump is the Harbinger of the ..."
"Sorry your English sucks, fag. Die of Aids already."

LDS President: You’re Poor Because You ..."
"And as bad as Palin was I suspect if she had ended up replacing McCain ..."

Wingnut Legislator: Sessions Has ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ ..."
"Funny how you copy paste explanation 1. Almost like there are other explanations.What a dishonest ..."

LDS President: You’re Poor Because You ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Shorter David Goldman: “Conservatives stand against unemployed youth, atheists and scary negroes in coming race war.”

  • blf

    Autotune is how the NSA monitors your music collection. It transmits a code to your personal drone…

    That must be the case! Autotune has no obvious purpose (and is actively harmful), therefore, NSA. And CIA. And Trilateral Commission.

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Autotune is of the Devil. Can we get Cindy Jacobs’s son to pray it to death?

  • Doug Little

    Shit I think they have been quite good at parody, on par with The Onion…. Oh Wait.

  • Moggie

    Nietzsche’s hip-hop career is sadly overlooked nowadays.

  • Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts

    I used to hate autotune, then I found Symphony of Science.

  • maddog1129

    What is autotune? Serious question.

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    What is autotune? Serious question.

    Serious answer.

    For me the key quote is this:

    The overall effect to the discerning ear can be described as hearing the voice leap from note to note stepwise, like a synthesizer.

    It makes singers sound like robots. Some people may like this effect, but don’t count me among them.

  • eamick

    Nietzsche’s hip-hop career is sadly overlooked nowadays.

    Who can forget Twilight of the Idols, Or How to Philosophize with MC Hammer?

  • cswella

    Love the racism and hypocrisy of conservatives attacking rap music for being violent, but nary a word about country music’s frequent foray into violence against liberals/democrats.

  • It’s a good thing angry conservatives have never made explicit calls to violence, like “2nd amendment solutions” or anything like that.

    I mean, just think of what our political culture would be like if instead of the calm, rational adults that run the conservative movement, we had wild-eyed crazies constantly warning about the death of America as we know it, resulting in 44% of Republicans favoring violent insurrection?

  • bryanfeir

    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne @#8

    It makes singers sound like robots. Some people may like this effect, but don’t count me among them.

    A friend of mine once commented on what he considered to be the one truly appropriate use of Autotune he had ever seen.

    It was an Indian movie with a robot that had just had an emotion chip installed and was singing about love and its conflicted emotions. Which was very deliberately done with Autotune, despite the robot’s actor having a perfectly good singing voice of his own, because, well, the character was a robot.

  • khms

    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne @#8

    It makes singers sound like robots. Some people may like this effect, but don’t count me among them.

    Huh. That Wiki article mentions Cher’s “Believe” as starting it, so I went and listened to that.


    Doesn’t sound like any “robotic” effect I’m familiar with. Except maybe just a very little when they add reverb … which, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with autotune.


  • dan4

    @10: “…country music’s frequent foray into violence against liberals/democrats.”

    Huh? Citation(s) needed.

  • Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    It’s ludicrous – and ludicrously funny – when just about any figure from the political realm tries to do pop-culture analysis.

    Who can forget Tipper Gore and her shredding of the “Under the Blade”. Except, oops: “Snider said about Under the Blade, a song Snider claimed was written about an impending surgery, that ‘the only sadomasochism, bondage, and rape in this song is in the mind of Ms. Gore.’ He stated, ‘Ms. Gore was looking for sadomasochism and bondage, and she found it. Someone looking for surgical references would have found it as well.’ ”

    But best of all was her group’s condemnation of Metallica’s “Creeping Death”. It is, to be fair to Tipper, a gruesome tale. Some stealthy, lethal spirit killing over and over – a mass genocide of biblical proportions. Tipper’s group insisted that such stories were entirely contrary Christian values, and that good parents would never, ever want their children to be exposed to a story that includes content like:

    So let it be written,

    So let it be done.

    I’ll kill the first-born Pharaoh-son.

    I’m creeping death.

    Entirely apropros of nothing, I don’t remember hearing her advocate for warning labels on Jewish homes or Christian churches. I don’t know what makes me think of that.

  • dingojack

    dan4 (#14) – Well there’s always Dusty Springfield’s Son of A Preacher Man which anyone with the secret decoder ring knows means: LET’S ALL KILL EVUL LIBERELZ, TO DETH, TWICE!!!



  • caseloweraz

    David Goldman: One should not conclude from this that Obama favors criminal violence, but rather that the popular response to Jay Z’s evocation of felonious rage is so great that Obama finds it convenient to exploit it.

    So, despite Goldman’s evocation of an “extended war of attrition” against Obama exploiting “felonious rage”, this is not about the president covertly promoting a violent campaign against Republicans. Then it must be some sort of music promotion. “Felonius Rage” — wasn’t he a jazz musician?