Blame it on the A-A-A-A-Auto-tune. Yes, the not-so-new pop music instrument processor that entered the scene with Cher’s ‘Believe’ back in 1998, and is now in every other song (make that, EVERY song) in your friendly neighborhood club, has now made it to the news. Thanks to Brooklyn-based The Gregory Brothers, a music group with both a Facebook and a YouTube presence, we have the pleasure of listening to our favorite pundits and politicians pontificate in…song? That’s correct, their exceptionally funny Auto-tune the News, could now be called a full-blown web series.
The Gregory Brothers is in fact a band consisting of three brothers and one sister, Sarah, Evan, Andrew, and Michael. They each seem to appear in various capacities in this five episode series, crudely CGI’d as anything from a drummer to a fellow singing pundit. Other times you may see their arms taking the place of someone like Rachel Maddow in episode 5, jamming to the beat.
The crude effects work surprisingly well, sometimes making me wonder, ‘how did they do that?’ As in episode 5 when it seems they either manipulate, or fit words, like, “…bringing on the boogie…”, into Katie Couric’s moving lips. I might be wrong, she may have actually said that, but it’s nevertheless funny and kind of amazing how Auto-tune makes everyone sound like they are actually singing the words they are saying.
And what are the words exactly? Well, the titles help with that: Auto-tune the News #2: pirates. drugs. gay marriage. (Which actually includes a large portion regarding global warming as well.) Or, ‘Auto-Tune the News #3: cuba. afghan friendship. 2party woes.’ (Again, among other topics) I think you get the picture, basically whatever is in the news that particular week that they are creating the video.
And what are The Gregory Brothers saying about these topics? It’s anyone’s guess, but I think in episode 3, Sarah sums it up in the intro to the video as she ‘sits’ among the ladies of The View, listening to them discuss Joe the Plumber, when she says, “You guys, this is not making any sense at all, can we please just sing about it?” Cue the beat, cue the auto-tune and cue Elizabeth Hasselbeck never sounding so good. It might be the first time I’ve actually ever listened to her.
The point being, at least I think, that the news to some degree has become white noise. A deluge of depressing information that just sounds a lot better when auto-tuned and mixed with a beat. And you can probably glean about as much information from the jumbled melodic mess that The Gregory Brothers make of it as you can from the jumbled mess that the networks make of it.
The Gregory Brothers are actually pretty talented musicians, you can see that from the way they mix the music in their videos as well as their more serious music found on their Facebook page. They are also funny, in a kind of quirky way. Episode four includes one of them as Rep. Edward Markey a Dem from Massachusetts, but in a gorilla suit, calling himself ‘an angry gorilla’ angry about spa regulation in a bill on the Senate floor. Why? I’m not sure, but it’s about as absurd as the concept of regulating jacuzzi’s for their overuse of energy. Not that I have anything against energy conservation, but the series is an equal opportunity lampooner and makes the news seem, well, absurd.
Each are between three and five minutes and are definitely good for a laugh and can happily be shared with the office if you’re so inclined. I highly recommend a visit if your feeling down about the state of the world, because this will surely put things into perspective. Auto-Tune, the next leading anti-depressant, who knew? Well, T-Pain and The Gregory Brothers, I guess.