How Autotune Ruined The Hunna
Yeah, It Pretty Much Sucks
I was eighteen, fresh out of an alternative High School program, and ready to fucking clean my kitchen. And I think some of you will know what I mean when I say I can’t clean jack shit without music on. Luckily for me, I had discovered a new British rock band several months prior called The Hunna. Now, they weren’t your usual run-of-the-mill kind of talented. They were raw and dirty and I liked every bit of it. At the time, their debut album, 100 hadn’t even been released. And in the age of homes and my shitty iPod touch, I had to scroll through YouTube every five minutes to get the music I wanted.
With a handful of recorded tracks and a few music videos, The Hunna burst onto the alternative rock scene in 2016 after forming in 2015. It didn’t take long for them to find a following that included an eighteen year old girl in backwoods Montana. Those early tracks were the absolute best I’ve heard from them. Cut to almost seven years later, and it's still the truth. Those YouTube videos were edgy and unperfected. As good rock music should be. Because let’s face it, if you a rock musician who can read music, you’re an outlier. Forget perfecting your craft like a first chair violinist, your job is to play in the moment and make a show of it.
I waited with bated breath for The Hunna’s first studio album. All my favorite tracks were on it, and in an order that made sense. I should have been happy when 100 dropped, right? Except these weren’t the tracks I’d heard before. The edge had been softened. The raw, passionate singing and shrieking guitars were like listening through a screen. I’m not joking, the sound was completely different, and, might I even say? Off-putting. I could blame a great many things. Mostly whoever produced the album, as they obviously didn’t realize what the draw to the bands sound was in the first place. I don’t blame the guys. A record deal is a record deal at the end of the day.
But when all is said and done, I blame autotune. Because the biggest difference from what I listened to before the album versus after? That would be lead singers voice. Its nothing fancy. Very bare bones all things considered. But That was the point. I can’t hear the scratch in his voice on the album. Not like I could on YouTube. And you know what? That destroyed it.
Of course with a producer like Tim Larcombe (Halsey, Lana Del Ray) I shouldn’t have expected much. I love Halsey. She writes some good songs, but I can hear the electronic edge to her voice in every track. And besides that, going from her and Lana to a band like The Hunna? One of these things is not like the other.
As for the albums that have come since, 2018’s Dare and 2020’s I’d Rather Die Than Let You In, I have no interest. I’ve given a few tracks a good listen, but the problem has only gotten more pronounced. I loved the Hunna. In 2016. As for 2022? I think I’ll stick with The Blue Stones or kick back to something older like The White Stripes.
Finally, a word to the wise, my fair music producers. In this case, Tim Larcombe and Duncan Mills. Take a sip of scotch before you turn up that dial and consider your options carefully. Making something smoother isn’t always the right answer. So please, stop censoring the guitars and making all our frontmen sound like Justin Bieber. We’re here for the music because its real. If we wanted fake, we’d switch to top 40.