The charts of 2046, of course, will be full of 12G code-pop songs, baffling to the human brain, written by banks of composerbots only for the Spotify algorithm to recommend to its colonies of ÆPhone listening farms. While the AI is busy concocting its own form of music, what better way to convince us that it’s a harmless bit of fun – and in no way a plot to enslave and farm the human race for methane – than to start a song or two?
Although artificial intelligence music dates back to Alan Turing’s experiments with computer-generated melodies in 1951, and Bowie was working with digital lyric randomizers in the 90s, it is only recently that computer-generated music AI has made sense. Commercials and computer games often circumvent copyright and licensing issues by creating their own soundtracks using programs such as Jukebox and Amper, which create music from basic parameters such as l mood, tempo and genre.
Meanwhile, musicians like Holly Herndon and Francois Pachet made albums with AI collaborators. Additionally, the art of deepfake has emerged through programs capable of consuming an artist’s entire work and recreating new examples based on the patterns it finds. Jay-Z, for example, recently had to take action against YouTubers who posted fakes of him rapping songs and speeches by Billy Joel from Hamlet.
The rock world has not escaped this treatment either. It’s almost as if, after a hard day of guessing 123 billion possible passwords for your PayPal account and whipping all your data, even a hot AI around the circuit board needs to kick back, grab a guitar simulator and knock out a blanket or two. Here are the best and least worst AI-made rock songs so far – ranked!
Nickelback, “Nobody Dies Every Day”
Robot name: Nickelbot
The only good thing about Nickelback is that they can’t continuously make music. There is a merciful limit to what they can play; at some point – oh, blessed relief! – they have to sleep. So the idea of a machine churning out Nickelback songs 24/7 is more terrifying than any rogue AI grabbing nuclear launch codes, and this early example is indeed a disastrous warning. By force-feeding the lyrics of a Markov Chain Nickelback program until it spewed sawdust and Sunsilk, YouTube’s Funk Turkey – aka Arkansas comedian Kirt Connor – came up with this monstrosity knotty grunge-lite with lines such as “And then we see the car! / You will never be alone / Drink everything in sight”. We will have to.
Morrissey, “annoyed by this desire to get ripped off”
Robot name: Botnik feat. Morrissey
Botnik is a group that has developed a program similar to predictive text for songs, which you can train to suggest words and lyrics from a catalog of source material. Tracks from their album “The Songularity” (see what they did there?) include an AI Beach Boys and a computer mix of Bob Dylan lyrics with bad restaurant reviews on 4th Street, Manhattan.
In this case, they fed both Morrissey’s lyrics and Amazon’s reviews of a home workout DVD, and from those raw materials, the algorithm weaved some pretty memorable lines of doomsday misery. cross training. “Just to see the results, I really started crying”their rather poor impersonator Moz sings, “I was wasting all my money and my overall health / On a government scheme designed to trick me into dying”.
The Strokes, “I’m not waiting to be there”
Robot name: Botnik feat. Shots
Sometimes you start to feel sorry for the machine, sifting through the not-exactly-immortal lyrics of Julian Casablancas for all it can turn into Grammarly’s idea of a dazzling pun, knowing that its operators humans aren’t exactly Funk Turkey in the group impersonation stakes. . “Please don’t force me to go back to your house”, “So Long My Favorite Person” and “I just need a city to love” are the best he can muster here, and Botnik has a fiery but amateurish swipe to make it sound like NYC 2001. Just the kind of thing that will convince AIs that we’re a superfluous species only good for the vanadium they can extract from our bodily tissues.
Robot name: MetallicAI
Devil horn emoji. From the guy who brought you Nickelbot (in fact, most of the AI pastiches online are the work of Funk Turkey, who writes the compelling musical parody to accompany the computer-generated lyrics) comes MetallicAI’s growling Charger, a gruesome metal barrage involving impressive precision Avatar Hetfield groaning “Hell is waiting for you” and “Open your eyes…death!” The software certainly isn’t shy about referencing mortality here, perhaps knowing it’s destined to be obsoleted by Elon Musk within eighteen months.
AC/DC, ‘Big Balls’
Bot name: AI/DC
By deciphering the weight and poetry of AC/DC, Funk Turkey’s AI exposes some of its strengths and limitations. Some time-tested wisdom emerges (“You women fool around with too many pills – yeah”) but also a lot of numerical nonsense. “I’m going to ride the dog a little too much” he suggests, having clearly not been programmed with Angus Young/golden retriever weight ratios, and he certainly needs to brush up on his understanding of human innuendo. “Super balls / Big balls / Too many women with the balls,“goes the suitably meaty chorus before the program appears to interface with an online slang dictionary and starts screaming”BLOCKED! HOOKS !” And with confirmation that the song is unequivocally about testicles, the essential AC/DC conundrum is dispelled. Game over.
The Beatles, “Dad’s Car”
Robot name: Sony CSL Research Lab
Unlike the rest of this list, “Daddy’s Car” was composed entirely by AI, music and all. The researchers created FlowMachines, which could learn to imitate a band’s style from its entire database of songs, fed it the complete works of the Beatles, and got… well, a wonky tune. “Take me to the diamond sky… Have a nice day sun in the car in the back”, it goes, dreamily soaring Beatles-like phrases like Noel Gallagher over powerful tranquilizers, as the music takes a long road trip through a strange valley via Brian Wilson’s goof. Cold computer psychedelia – weird stuff.
Red Hot Chili Peppers, ‘tool shed’
Robot name: Red Bot Peppers
Gathering an encouraging YouTube following as the guy from Honest Trailers (“do Placebot! Do Bot Dylan!”, etc.), Funk Turkey turned their lyrical mayhem gimmick on RHCP, and it slammed some absolute beauties. “I’ll be there – can I find your daddy / And spank your mama? » it opens, capturing not only the Chili Peppers’ essential funk leg, but also their parental kink. He keeps rhyming “methamphetamine lab” with “rehab” and gives his virtual Keidis some authentic scat funk: “ba-di ba-da bazumba crunga cong gone wrong”. It could only have been more on the nose if the system had crashed, filling the screen with an endless scrolling word: ‘CaliforniaCaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia…’.
Robot name: NirvanAI
Funk Turkey’s best moment to date. Its laptop reincarnation of Kurt Cobain serves to prove that Nirvana managed to never become cliché or stereotypical. Lines such as “In everything we are, everything is gay”“I wear a look without a look” and “I could eat your heart-shaped box for food” are recognizable as Kurt but not comically, and Turkey frames them with faithful flights of “Lithium”, “About A Girl” and “…Teen Spirit” which are more homage than pastiche. Make AIctic monkeys!