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We used AI to write song lyrics in the style of real bands and the results are amazing

An AI robot using a touchscreen
(Image credit: Yuichiro Chino/Getty Images)

Talk to the scientists, and they'll tell you that Artificial Intelligence will change our lives. There might be arguments over the form this change will take – some say that AI will replace our jobs, freeing us to go fishing or play tennis while enjoying a generous universal basic income, while others predict a world riven with inequality, societal breakdown and chaos – but change is coming.

While the most high-profile AI projects involve space exploration or robots cats that can care for the elderly (we made that one up), it turns out that AI can also be used for more mundane work, such as assisting rock stars with writer's block. 

We know this because the team of scientists at Santa Clara technology firm NVIDIA have built a tool that does exactly that. Their Jasper tool allows users to create content for their blogs, social media accounts and websites, all without having to attend journalism school or undertake copywriting courses or anything bothersome like that.

One of Jasper's more intriguing features its ability to take instruction. If it's told to "write a news story about Rammstein's new album" it'll do a pretty convincing job. It'll also write lyrics on request, with users able to tailor the instructions to affect the output. Enter "Compose some lyrics in the style of Metallica," and that's what you'll get. Type in "Write an Iron Maiden song about Elon Musk" and it'll deliver just that.  

We asked Jasper to come up with new lyrics for a bunch of familiar names, and some of the results are brilliant. The Kiss lyric opens with the surprisingly poignant lines "You wanted the best / But you got me instead", while the Lynyrd Skynyrd song ends on the entirely believable "So if you're looking for me / You can find me down south / Where the sun shines bright / And the sweet tea flows / That's where you'll find me."

Others? Not so much. The Sabbath results are definitely Dio-era rather than Ozzy. We struggle with the idea of Ian Anderson penning a Jethro Tull classic that starts with the couplet "I'm a folk rocker / I've got the flute and the look". And we think it's unlikely that Brian Johnson would ever sing "We are AC/DC / We ain't gonna stop! (Yeah!)".

The results of our scientific experimenting follows.

Alt

Judas Priest

I am the Sentinel, standing guard
Over the Temple of the Lord
My sword is drawn, my shield is raised
I will not yield to the enemy's forces

I am the Sentinel, unafraid
To defend the faith with my life
My armour is strong, my resolve is firm
I will not falter in my duty

I am the Sentinel, a fearless warrior
Fighting for what is right and just
With strength and honour I serve
Defending the weak and innocent

I am the Sentinel, ever vigilant
In pursuit of justice and truth
Evil shall not triumph while I stand guard
I am the Sentinel!


AC/DC

With a boom and a clap
Call the devil to your side
Let him know that you're ready
For the thunderous ride

Come on baby, it's time to rock 'n' roll!
Can't you feel that fire inside?
I'll give ya something to believe in - come on let's go!
The battle rages on, as we fight for our lives.

And with every song we sing, we set the world alight
We are AC/DC - we ain't gonna stop! (Yeah!)
We're here to burn up the sky (Heh heh)
We'll keep firing on all cylinders


Metallica

I am the one, the only one
I am the king, the lord of all
I am the Sun, I am the Moon
I am the star, the burning flame

I am your god, your destiny
I am your fate, your final end
I am death, I am life
I am everything, and nothing all at once

You cannot escape me, for I am everywhere
There is no escaping your doom
You may try to run, but you will only fall into my trap
For I am the one who decides your fate

And there is nothing you can do to change it
So accept your fate  and embrace your death 


Lynyrd Skynyrd

I was born a poor boy
In the backwoods of Georgia
My momma died when I was young
And my daddy didn't care

He just drank his whiskey
And he played his guitar
All night long
Now I'm a poor boy no more

I've made my mark in this world
I ain't never gonna go back
To the way it was before

So if you're looking for me
You can find me down south
Where the sun shines bright
And the sweet tea flows
That's where I'll be


Black Sabbath

The gates of hell are open wide
And all the demons have come out to play
With fire in their eyes, they're marching through the night
Come face your fate and let the battle rage

We've come for you and it's time to die
So take up arms and hold your ground
As the battle rages on, we'll fight 'til dawn
And we won't stop until our foes are slain

No magic can save you now; there's nowhere left to hide
Our swords will pierce your heart and send you straight to hell!


Manowar

I'm the Lord of Thunder
The Master of Lightning
And I'll give you a spanking!

You better bow down to your new king
Or else I'll show you what real metal is! 

This land is my land and it's time for some action
I've got my sword and my shield, so let's start the damn thing
Raise up your fists and shout out with pride
We're gonna rise and conquer 'till we die 

Cause I'm the Lord of Thunder
King of metal here on Earth, oh yeah!
Your face has met its maker


Motorhead

I am the engine, I am the machine
I am the power inside of you
I am the one who makes you scream
I am Motorhead, I am your dream

I am the fuel that keeps you going
I am the fire that burns inside
I am the one who makes you move
I am Motorhead, I am your groove

I am the beat that drives you wild
I am the rhythm that makes you move
I am the one who makes you feel alive
I am Motorhead, I am your thrill


Jethro Tull

I'm a folk rocker, I've got the flute and the look
But don't mistake my style for Jethro Tull

Got my own sound, that's what keeps me afloat
Ain't no wannabe - I sing original!

Well there's people who think I should tap into old school
But I'm charting new territory in this musical world.

So give me some space and some time to grow
Stay tuned 'cause you'll see how far this flute can go


Kiss

You wanted the best
But you got me instead
I'm not the demon you thought I was
But I'm not the angel you hoped for either

I'm just a man
A man who's trying to find his way
And if that means breaking a few hearts along the way
Then so be it

You can hate me
You can love me
Or you can just walk away
But whichever you choose 

Just know that I'm not going anywhere


Led Zeppelin

I been thinkin' 'bout you, baby
I can't get you outta my mind
I been thinkin' 'bout you, darlin'
All the time

I been dreamin' of you, nightly
I can't wait to hold you tight
I been yearnin' for your lovin', girl
It's gonna be alright

So let me take you in my arms tonight
And show you all the love I have inside
For you, I will always be there
Loving you eternally... my dear!


GG Allin

I don't care if you're rich or poor
I don't care if you're sick or sore
I don't care if you're dead or alive
Just as long as you party with me

As long as you party with me
You can be my friend for life
I don't care if you use drugs or not

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 36 years in music industry, online for 23. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.