I’m fully aware that any subjective analysis of music lyrics is fraught with danger.
But hopefully we can all agree that there is great disparity in the quality, artistry, and virtue of modern song lyrics. Let’s face it, for every “imagine all the people, living life in peace” there’s an “I want a brand new house on an episode of Cribs, and a bathroom I can play baseball in.” For every “beauty walks a razor’s edge, someday I’ll make it mine,” there’s a “swag on you, chillin’ by the fire while we eatin’ fondue.”
If you aspire to be a songwriter but (like me) have realized that you’re more Nickleback than Dylan, well there’s an app for that. Or, more specifically, an AI-enabled website. These Lyrics Do Not Exist is the brainchild of Peter Ranien who created the site to showcase the creative side of AI.
Now, with lyric writing joining the fray maybe it’s time for me to finally give music a try. I put These Lyrics Do Not Exist to the test with one of my favorite holidays: Christmas. I entered “Christmas” as a song topic, chose “Pop” as a genre and “Happy” as a mood. Three seconds later I was blessed with this gem:
Together we could see the whole world and be there in the end
And how you made Christmas feel like it was Christmas day
Never thought that Christmas be the day for me
You and I you are what I am
All the things and all the times we had a storm before
A Christmas storm and Christmas is another feeling,
have a very, happy, good, happy, Christmas, baby
Okay, so maybe this isn’t exactly a Grammy caliber effort, and you’re unlikely to see this on an Ultimate Christmas compilation in the near future. But still, it was created by a neural network.
Ranien envisions his project as more of a creative jump start. And I can see this tool being a good way to nudge your OI (organic intelligence) out of a writing rut. But it’s not difficult to imagine a near future where a human/AI collaboration produces art that arguably carries more impact than what either could create alone. Perhaps we’re already there.
I continue to be bullish on the future of AI, believing the doomsday robot overlord scenarios are grossly overblown. What’s far more likely is a future where AI assumes much of our daily near-mindless drudgery, and helps spur us to greater creative and intellectual achievements. That day is not far off.
Until then, have a very, happy, good, happy, Christmas, baby!