The Columbia Chronicle

Ivanka Trump needs to take herself out of the equation

Mental illness cannot be immediate reasoning when tragedy strikes

By Brooke Pawling Stennett

September 25, 2017

While on “The Dr. Oz Show,” Ivanka Trump, senior adviser and daughter of President Donald Trump, told Dr. Oz, “With each of my three children, I had some level of postpartum depression.” “It w...

Politicians are supposed to unify, not divide

DeVos continues to squeeze students’ bank accounts dry

September 18, 2017

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has tapped former college official Julian Schmoke, Jr., to lead the department’s fraud investigation unit. Problem is: His former employer was the for-profit instituti...

Beyoncé’s loss points to larger issue in music industry

Beyoncé’s loss points to larger issue in music industry

February 20, 2017

The 2017 Grammys aired Feb. 12, and when Adele’s album 25 beat Beyoncé’s Lemonade for Album of the Year, which spawned the hashtag #grammyssowhite. Many tweets focused on whether race is the reaso...

Tremeka North, a freshman creative writing major, performed her spoken word piece, “Incandescent Flower” at RL Cafe on Jan. 21 at the Residence Center, 731 S. Plymouth Court.

Residence Life celebrates Welcome Week with RL Cafe

January 25, 2016

Students gathered for hot drinks, doughnuts and daring performances in the lobby of the Residence Center, 731 S. Plymouth Court, Jan. 21 for RL Cafe, an annual event in honor of Weeks of Welcome.Jessica...

Graduate student searches for Paris’ untold stories

Graduate student searches for Paris’ untold stories

By Campus Editor

November 23, 2015

By the night of Nov. 13, the terrorist attacks on Paris that killed at least 129 people that day were known worldwide. Within two days, Michael Esparza, a graduate journalism student, was on a plane o...

Adele doesn’t care about your feelings

By Managing Editor

October 26, 2015

Almost five years have passed since Adele dominated the music scene with her diamond masterpiece 21—just enough time for the millions of people who bought the album to recover from the heartbreak and trauma its vengeful lyrics and heart-wrenching ballads caused. But Adele isn’t letting us go that easily….The British songstress debuted her upcoming album, 25’s, lead single, “Hello,” Oct. 22, and if the song and its a...

Artistic entrepreneur creates opportunities

Jameel Bridgewater, a junior art + design major, works with photography and graphic design through Bridgesx1913, a company he founded in 2012. He said his company has provided him with networking and travel opportunities, and he plans to establish a global presence by 2025.

By Campus Editor

December 1, 2014

Jameel Bridgewater, a junior art + design major, founded Bridgesx1913, a media company that collaborates with artists to showcase their work at gallery exhibitions and events. Since starting his company in 20...

‘Rumour has it’ the wait for Adele will continue to 2015

By Managing Editor

October 13, 2014

May 4, Adele’s 26th birthday, started a fire in some of her fans’ hearts when the singer tweeted, “Bye, bye 25. See you again later in the year.” The tweet suggested that in typical Adele fashion, her latest album would be released under a title matching the age she turned on her last birthday during the production process—as she did on previous albums 19 and 21—alluding to an album release by late 2014.Howev...

Talking to himself

Michael Urie performs in “Buyer & Cellar,” the one-man comedy written by playwright Jonathan Tolins.

By Arts & Culture Editor

May 12, 2014

Michael Urie, a 2003 Julliard School alumnus best known for his role on ABC’s “Ugly Betty” as Marc St. James, the flamboyant, adversarial personal assistant to Mode magazine editor Wilhelmina Slater,...

Auto-tone deaf

November 12, 2012

FOR SOMEONE WHO raps about brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack, one would assume she’d be a tough bitch who couldn’t care less about public opinion. But in an October interview with Billboard magazine, popstar Ke$ha seemed fed up with negative comments about her musical abilities. In the article, Ke$ha said she has pulled away from auto-tune, which was used consistently on her debut album, “Animal,” because she wants to make something clear: She has legit vocal skills. “I got really sick of people saying that I couldn’t sing,” Ke$ha told Billboard. “I can do very few things confidently in my life, and one of them is that I can sing.” Excuse me, Ke$ha, for assuming your “white-girl rapping” discredits you as the next Adele. It might be a little hard to take you seriously when your lyrics are as substantial as they are wholesome. However, I digress. There’s a larger argument to be made here: that there shouldn’t be an argument at all. Auto-tune, in a lesser-known way, is taking over the music industry whether we as listeners like it or not. Similar to a subtle Photoshop retouch, the use of auto-tune is sometimes disguised from our ears. It all started in 1996 when a man named Andy Hildebrand, who worked for the oil industry at the time, wanted to create a way to use sound waves to locate potential drill sites. While at a dinner party, a guest challenged him to invent a box that would allow her to sing better. He created a device that would automatically alter her voice’s sound waves to a different pitch. After he studied autocorrelation for a few months, he created auto-tune. Now the music industry uses auto-tune plug-ins that take live vocals and automatically tune notes to the correct pitch, digitally creating a better sound wave than was actually produced. Almost immediately after it was released, studio producers and engineers used it as a trade secret to quickly cover up flubbed notes, which saves them the expense and hassle of having to re-record sessions. The program’s re-tune speed can be set from zero to 400. When it’s set on zero, the program will instantly change the original pitch to the target pitch, changing the output pitch and disallowing a natural transition between notes, which creates the robotic, heavily edited, synthetic sound of artists like T-Pain, Cher and Ke$ha. Set on higher numbers, the program will take more time to adjust the output pitch to the target pitch. This method smooths over the edited notes and makes it hard to distinguish which artists are fiddling with auto-tune. If you listened to 10 pop songs today, nine of them would likely feature this technology. Nowadays, anyone can use auto-tune. A $99 version for DIY musicians was released in November 2007, and T-Pain and auto-tune’s parent company teamed up in 2009 to create an iPhone app that features auto-tune software. I’m sure people are infuriated that Ke$ha is a famous performer, because auto-tune can re-create anyone’s voice to replicate recording artists, making her seemingly talentless.This has led people to argue that music was better back in the day, but I would argue that musicianship mattered more “back in the day” because that’s how artists sold records—they performed well. Pitch correcting microphones weren’t invented until the late ’90s, so precision was key. Now, two clicks of a button can get you a perfect sound. It isn’t the industry’s fault, though. Millions of dollars worth of music is illegally torn out of the label’s grasp and put on consumers’ iPods, which forces labels to conduct heavy market research and create airbrushed “Barbie doll” versions of musicians who are guaranteed to sell. With virtually no control over today’s consumer, labels have had no choice but to combine their money and advanced recording technology to make the best-sounding and best-looking artists for the market, forcing the industry into a heavily commercialized post-digital age. Not only does this open up the music industry to performers who are entrepreneurs rather than musicians, it can also make for disappointing concerts and ultimately a more competitive industry. We can’t fight auto-tune (sorry, Jay-Z). Instead, the consumers needs to be aware of its presence. Talented, un-edited artists still exist, but it might take a little more digging to find them. Complaining about the existence of auto-tune or lack of musicianship in today’s popular artists is like complaining that McDonald’s fast food isn’t fine-dining. It’s synthetic and horrible, but it’s everywhere. Whether or not we agree with its nutritional value, it tastes great. 

Taylor Swift: Lots of songs, little growth

By Alex Stedman

September 4, 2012

If you haven’t heard country singer Taylor Swift’s catchy new tune, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” here are the basics: It’s about one of her ex-boyfriends, and they’re never, ever, ever getting back together.While breakup songs have been a staple for most musical genres, there’s a fine line between art and tabloid fodder that Swift seems to have no problem crossing. Many of her songs come across a...

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