Blowin' Lamely In The Wind

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The musical low point during Tina Turner's mostly superlative Verizon Center concert last Sunday came during one of her greatest hits: "What's Love Got to Do With It," which sounded like a laughable period piece, thanks to all those cheesy '80s synths.

And none of the synth sounds was lamer - or more laughable - than the one that sounded like some sort of mutant harmonica-flute crossbreed. (The effect, I've since read, was created with some Yamaha DX7 trickery.)

Then, this past weekend, on the car stereo, I heard Aaron Neville's cover of "Everybody Plays the Fool," in which some fool plays the synth-flute, thus destroying the song.

I'm going to go on record and say that synthesized wind "instruments" make for the worst sound in 2008 pop music.

They might have been acceptable in their day (remember, they were big in the '80s and very early '90s - not exactly a period marked by good taste); but they sound dated and downright stupid now and should go into whatever closet Andrew Ridgeley has been in since George Michael gave him the boot.

By J. Freedom du Lac |  December 1, 2008; 8:25 AM ET Annoyances , Ridiculousness , Screeds
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Rightly filed under Ridiculousness...

Posted by: Minutemenx | December 1, 2008 10:13 AM

The sound you diss is the plain old harmonica preset on the original DX7, no trickery involved. The DX7 was THE classic keyboard of the early 80s, much as the Fender Rhodes and the Hammond B3 were classics of their times. It brought FM synthesis to the general public, an important interim technology which was immediately incorporated into most classic game consoles and sound cards (AdLib and all that). Yes, digital synthesis got much better quickly, but the DX7 is the real early 80s retro deal, is loaded with controls (including midi out if you want more modern sounds), and is built like a tank. Don't knock it if you haven't tried it.

Posted by: stephenghowe | December 3, 2008 5:15 PM

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