Artificial Intelligence Program Tries to Write a Beatles Song: Listen to “Daddy’s Car”

Last May, we told you about Flow Machine, an arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence-dri­ven music com­pos­er that analy­ses composer’s styles and then cre­ates new works from that data. Devel­oped by François Pachet at Sony CSL-Paris, the ini­tial exper­i­ments demon­strat­ed Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” as played in the style of bossa nova, the Bea­t­les’ “Pen­ny Lane,” and Ennio Morricone’s roman­tic work. Admit­ted­ly, it wasn’t the most stun­ning moment in A.I.—a com­put­er was now doing what arrangers have been doing for years, apply­ing genre rules to a melody cre­at­ed in anoth­er genre.

How­ev­er, Flow Machine has returned with an inter­est­ing devel­op­ment: two upcom­ing albums of A.I.-created songs, from which two tunes have been released to give you a taste of com­put­er cre­ativ­i­ty. French com­pos­er and musi­cian Benoît Car­ré helped out with the arrange­ments and pro­duc­tion of the songs, and also wrote the lyrics, so it’s not com­plete­ly an A.I. cre­ation, we should note.

So what should we make of “Daddy’s Car,” above, an attempt to cre­ate an A.I song in the style of the Bea­t­les? The open­ing sec­onds fea­ture the three-part har­mo­ny of “Because,” but when the band kicks in, it’s clos­er to the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds than the Fab Four. (If any­thing, it’s clos­er to the High Lla­mas.)

But does it sound like it was writ­ten by a human? Yes.

For some­thing stranger, try the oth­er song released so far: “Mr. Shad­ow,” writ­ten “in the style of Amer­i­can song­writ­ers such as Irv­ing Berlin, Duke Elling­ton, George Gersh­win and Cole Porter.”

Now this is much odd­er, a mix of coun­try twang, Daniel Lanois-style ambi­ence, along with a vocal that sounds like a cor­rupt­ed audio file. If you are look­ing for a true glimpse of the future, wrap your ears and san­i­ty around this one. Musi­cians and music fans, let us know in the com­ments what you think about this brave new world that has such hit sin­gles in it.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Two Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence Chat­bots Talk to Each Oth­er & Get Into a Deep Philo­soph­i­cal Con­ver­sa­tion

Noam Chom­sky Explains Where Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence Went Wrong

Stephen Hawk­ing Won­ders Whether Cap­i­tal­ism or Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence Will Doom the Human Race

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the FunkZone Pod­cast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at and/or watch his films here.

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Comments (18)
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  • robert tomaino says:

    no bea­t­le influ­ence here. sounds like a left­over track from pet sounds. sor­ry. todd rund­gren did a much bet­ter “homage” on deface the music

  • Lord Avalon says:

    Beats all the top pop Spo­ti­fy songs.

  • Tyson Bender says:

    Worst… “Bea­t­les”… song… ever.

    Almost sounds like dis­co!

  • The Endarkened Illuminatus says:

    Nice! This is freak­ing awe­some.

  • John says:

    I’d real­ly like to hear them do this with Rush.

  • Peter says:

    I have to agree with Lord Aval­on. It beats any­thing in those ads that Spo­ti­fy makes me lis­ten to. I wish Spo­ti­fy had AI to play me ads for songs I’d actu­al­ly like.

  • Matthieu jay says:

    Not a bea­t­les song definitely…sounds like a cliché but the song has no soul

  • Ludicrus Hypothesus says:

    I’m very ok with AI’s music but if it ever gets smart enough to fig­ure out what’s wrong, we might be in big trou­ble.

  • Nandor Sala says:

    Sounds like bad ele­va­tor music. Got to say I have not been in a ele­va­tor with music in a long time. Maybe they do not exist any­more

  • BionicDance says:

    I real­ly, real­ly want access to this pro­gram.

    Like, a lot.

  • fenbranklin says:

    So, what exact­ly what cre­at­ed by the A.I., and what was cre­at­ed by a human? I think what’s miss­ing here is clar­i­fi­ca­tion on this state­ment:
    “French com­pos­er and musi­cian Benoît Car­ré helped out with the arrange­ments and pro­duc­tion of the songs, and also wrote the lyrics, so it’s not com­plete­ly an A.I. cre­ation, we should note.”

    The arrange­ment, pro­duc­tion, and lyrics com­prise a large part of a song. Did the A.I. write the melody? Har­mo­ny parts? Any arrange­ment? I won­der…

  • Michael says:

    Reminds the Bea­t­les when they were on acid. Who­ev­er did this man­aged to recre­ate some­thing as bor­ing… the Bea­t­les were such a deceit a cheat a com­mer­cial scam that’s the first thing AI will man­age to imi­tate per­fect­ly in music

  • Gloria Wright says:

    .. Lacks fEEl­inG!
    Noticed from the onset.

  • Gloria Wright says:

    .. Lacks fEEl­inG!

  • jpoll3 says:

    Sounds more like ELO than the Bea­t­les.

  • What's His Face says:

    Absolute Rub­bish!
    Could have been writ­ten by the fake McCart­ney.

  • Avery says:

    It’s very odd any­one thinks this has a mil­lionth of the soul and cre­ativ­i­ty of even a third rate Bea­t­les song. “Fly­ing” and “Hey Bull­dog” make this sound like a tone deaf five year old’s work.

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