Veteran pop star Britney Spears became the latest showcase of the power of Auto-Tune. An unaltered studio session voice track leaked online this month of her song called “Alien” from her 2013 album, Britney Jean. This version sounds absolutely nothing like the one released on the the album.

young brittany spears

Auto-Tune has long been embraced by the music industry for its amazing ability to make polished, listenable recordings even when an artist lacks the natural talent to hit every note. That’s the nice way of saying it. What they really mean is engineers turn to Auto-Tune when dealing with truly wretched “singers.” It has the ability to make everyone sound like they can “sing.” And they’re using it literally everywhere, all the time. Yes that probably means your favorite singer is most likely auto-tuned sorry.

Spears, who by now should be a recording studio veteran in every sense, is off the mark from start to finish. It’s bad enough to be almost unlistenable at first, and doesn’t get much better as the song progresses. I know everyone has a soft spot for Britney, after all, we grew up with her, but it sounds like she can’t sing for shit. Soon after the track leaked, producer William Orbit rushed to Spears’ defense and suggested that what we’re hearing is a first-take warm up. He urged listeners not to judge Britney’s vocal prowess too harshly on this one recording alone.

“I’d like to affirm that any singer when first at the mic at the start of a long session can make a multitude of vocalisations in order to get warmed up,” he wrote on Facebook. “Warming up is essential if you’re a pro, as it is with a runner doing stretches, and it takes a while to do properly. I’ve heard all manner of sounds emitted during warmups,” Orbit wrote. “The point is that it is not supposed to be shared with millions of listeners.”


Album version

This one was, though, and Orbit claims it was leaked with “unkind” intentions. “Britney is and always will be beyond stellar! She is magnificent! And that’s that.” It sounds like Orbit’s explanation is a sort of weak. Even when singing on a scratch track that no one will ever hear, most vocalists at least try to keep in tune. And let’s be real, if they are warming up in front of the mic, it’s usually not this bad.

Spears, who has sold over 100 million records, is currently in the midst of a Las Vegas residency with her Piece of Me stage show. Thankfully she doesn’t need to worry about being separated from Auto-Tune on the strip; Spears lip syncs during her performances. I think everyone knows that. So did Britney Spears just luck out with her career or what? I mean she is beautiful and she can dance, but it seems that singing was never really her thing…

[images sourced via: we heart it]