‘This song sucks’: Nick Cave trashes AI-generated lyrics

Just putting it out there that I did something before Nick Cave did… That thing is getting AI to generate lyrics for one of your songs. 10 days ago I uploaded a TikTok (@saintceciliamusic) where I tried my best to make a song out of AI generated lyrics. In a gist, they were so awful that I had to stop and rant halfway through!

Last week, on his blog The Red Hand Files, Cave received numerous submissions from his fans of song lyrics written “in the style of Nick Cave” on ChatGPT. 

The AI generated lyrics read “I am the sinner, I am the saint/ I am the darkness, I am the light/ I am the hunter, I am the prey/ I am the devil, I am the saviour.”

In further detail, Cave’s blog states; “Since its launch in November last year many people, most buzzing with a kind of algorithmic awe, have sent me songs ‘in the style of Nick Cave’ created by ChatGPT. There have been dozens of them. Suffice to say, I do not feel the same enthusiasm around this technology. I understand that ChatGPT is in its infancy but perhaps that is the emerging horror of AI – that it will forever be in its infancy, as it will always have further to go, and the direction is always forward, always faster.”

He brilliantly continued; “songs arise out of suffering, by which I mean they are predicated upon the complex, internal human struggle of creation and, well, as far as I know, algorithms don’t feel. Data doesn’t suffer. ChatGPT has no inner being, it has been nowhere, it has endured nothing, it has not had the audacity to reach beyond its limitations, and hence it doesn’t have the capacity for a shared transcendent experience, as it has no limitations from which to transcend.
ChatGPT’s melancholy role is that it is destined to imitate and can never have an authentic human experience, no matter how devalued and inconsequential the human experience may in time become.”

Cave concluded the blog with a humorous note. In response to the fan who sent the lyrics, he wrote “Mark, thanks for the song, but with all the love and respect in the world, this song is bullshit, a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human, and, well, I don’t much like it – although, hang on!, rereading it, there is a line in there that speaks to me – ‘I’ve got the fire of hell in my eyes‘ – says the song ‘in the style of Nick Cave’, and that’s kind of true. I have got the fire of hell in my eyes – and it’s ChatGPT. ” 

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