Mar 22, 2024 7 min read

And Finally! Not even robots like James Blunt

James Blunt asked AI to write lyrics in his style and it “totally humiliated” him. Turns out, AI doesn’t think James Blunt is very good at writing lyrics. Check out this and a round up of this week’s other funniest music news stories here

And Finally! Not even robots like James Blunt

There’s been a lot of discussion about the use of AI in the music industry. Is it an incredible new tool that will aid and enhance human creativity? Or one that will destroy the music business as we know it? Those seem to be the main two options. 

A third, less talked about possibility, is that AI is actually irritatingly unhelpful a lot of the time, and forces creators to just carry on doing things in the same way as before. As James Blunt will tell you.

Appearing on the latest edition of Squeeze frontman Chris Difford’s I Never Thought It Would Happen podcast, Blunt was asked his feelings about younger musicians using AI to write lyrics - something Difford said is becoming increasingly common, citing “a friend” who had told him so that very morning. 

Blunt lamented that he’d also tried to get AI to come up with words for him to sing by mimicking his own style. The results had been somewhat upsetting, it seems.

“Every single one of us must have - having heard [about what AI can do] - logged in and written, ‘Give me a verse based on this [idea] in the style, in my case, a James Blunt lyric”, he begins.

The results, he goes on, show that either AI is only able to come up with “something very, very generic”, or it’s absolutely nailed its approximation of his songwriting process and his lyrics are, in fact, “just absolutely mundane”. 

“So AI has totally humiliated me whenever I’ve gone and asked it to impersonate myself”, he says. “It’s taught me, if anything, not to use AI [and that I] must do better”.

In the name of journalism, upon hearing Blunt’s thoughts on AI, I obviously asked ChatGPT to write this article for me. What a meta thing to do! How clever! How incredibly funny! All things I thought briefly, before remembering that every other journalist in the world already published some version of that idea nine months ago. 

Yeah, whatever, it still stands up. It seems only fair that if Blunt is up for seeing what a bot thinks of him, I should be too. So I fed ChatGPT Blunt’s quotes and asked it to write an article about what he had said in the style of Andy Malt. The results were… well, let’s just note that they are not published here. 

Although I told it that the article should be funny, the first version was not. Like Blunt, I’m not sure if that’s due to the limitations of the technology or a comment on me personally. I’m going to take offence at it just in case though. 

Not wanting to give up immediately, I asked ChatGPT to rewrite the article but make it funnier. It didn’t make the fake me any more amusing, but - after noting that Blunt is “known for his dry wit and sharp tongue” - it went ahead and made up a load of extra quotes from the musician that weren’t in the podcast at all. 

This included claiming that Blunt has used AI to create an entire recorded song in his style, but which ended up sounding “like a soggy biscuit left out in the rain”.

Back in the real world, the actual Blunt offered Difford some thoughts on why AI struggles to create music on a par with something a human would make.

“The thing about songwriting and music generally is, it is your flaws and your failings and your mistakes which make it have character”, he says. 

“Character is something that is not formulaic or generic, and even if I have written something before and I say, ‘Let me write it in the style of me again’, it will be boring to myself. I need to go out and test myself and push myself to do something different”.

Noted experimental musician James Blunt continues, “Some of those things I would make by mistake and I don’t think AI can do that yet. I don’t think it can bring in true character flaws and mistakes at this stage. I don't think it's reached that [ability to recreate] one's own voice, one's soul, at this stage now”.

Whether or not Blunt gets involved, AI is clearly here to stay, and is going to continue to become more powerful. Maybe there’ll come a point where James Blunt is surplus to requirements. 

Could we reach a point where AI doesn’t even need human creators to mimic? A stage where it’ll just start predicting every step in the development of human creativity. We will no longer create, just consume what AI makes for us, content in the knowledge that one of us would probably have done it, if we could only have been bothered to try. 

If Difford is correct, younger musicians are already foregoing human collaborators and just getting bots to write all of their lyrics for them. The job of the human lyricist is now considered unnecessary by the next generation coming up. 

Maybe AI can’t write words that capture the true nature of humanity and is instead just churning out generic, meaningless nonsense. 

But any bore down the pub will tell you, that’s what most people want anyway. That’s all pop music is, so why fight it? No one wants true emotion or nuance, just some pallid words about love or whatever. 

Bores down the pub have been saying that for as long as pop music has existed, of course. So it’s about time we found a way to prove them right, yeah?

Human creativity is all but over, people. No one ever enjoyed using their brains to think things up and it’s about time we farmed the whole process out to technology. One day writing songs yourself will become a relic of the past like bum bags or rational politics. 

One thing’s for sure though, Blunt won’t be pursuing his place in this exciting revolution any further. “I promise I will never do it again”, he says. 

So our future is James Blunt standing firm, refusing to give into any new advancement in technology. He will be considered by others who long for a return to the past to be the most creative human in existence. An outlier. A martyr. His name will be spoken in hushed tones in underground clubs and bars where people gather to play his CDs in rooms with no wi-fi.

That’s our future. Definitely. But right now, here are some funny things that humans did in the world of music this week that other humans then wrote about…

Kanye West Just Stands There While Pre-Released Music Plays During Headlining Rolling Loud Festival ‘Performance’
For their headlining Rolling Loud set,Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign merely stood onstage as pre-recorded music from their already released album played.
Judge quotes Taylor Swift in replying to Metallica insurance lawsuit
A California judge quoted a Taylor Swift track while rejecting Metallica’s lawsuit related to 2020 gig cancellations in South America.
Lukas Gage: White Lotus actor sorry for Shania Twain wedding ‘time wasting’
Lukas Gage wants to say sorry to the singer for “wasting her time” at his wedding ceremony.
The Hives announce UK tour for first “franchised” cover bands
The Hives have announced the first UK tour of their first-ever “franchised” cover bands which is set to kick off later this month.
Tool’s Maynard James Keenan Is Helping Train Mike Tyson For His Comeback Fight Against Jake Paul
This summer, 57-year-old boxing legend Mike Tyson will make his return to the ring. Live on Netflix, Tyson will take on the YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul in Arlington, Texas. That’s pretty weird! And things are even weirder now that we know Tool frontman Maynard James Kennan is helping to train Tyson for the fight.
MGM Resorts Shuts Down Claims Bruno Mars Owes $50 Million in Gambling Debt
MGM Resorts denied that Bruno Mars owes $50 Million in gambling debt in a statement shared on Monday, calling the claims ‘completely false.’
Bob Dylan wrote a song for Huey Lewis, but Lewis never recorded it — and he lost the tape
Lewis revealed that Dylan once sent an original composition for his band, Huey Lewis and the News, to record — but Lewis doesn’t know where the cassette is.
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