Generative AI Music Bots vs. The Dang Ps — Who Wins? 

An Experiment. A Discussion.

For those of you know me well, you may know that my 13-year-old son, Finn, is as into all things digital as I am into music. Recently, he's been playing around with Generative AI tools. And not just the well-known ChatGPT, but all kinds of AI apps and bots. 

One he started messing around with recently is called Suno AI, or simply Suno, a "generative artificial intelligence music creation program designed to generate realistic songs that combine vocals and instrumentation, or are purely instrumental.”

Being a middle schooler, his first prompt was something about a song about how every single person in the world should eat cheese or they will get put into a pit where robots will forcibly feed them cheese. It was a bit cringy! 😬  

But Finn was curious how it would do with a slightly more sophisticated prompt. The results were… interesting. 🤔

Here's what Finn did:

  1. First, he asked Suno to describe our song "Driving Slow, Living Slower" (from our 2018 album "Present"). For reference, please give our version a listen:

    Here's what Suno came up with: 
    "'Driving Slow, Living Slower' by The Dangling Participles is a reflective indie-folk song characterized by its mellow tempo and laid-back vibe. The lyrics evoke a sense of leisurely travel and taking life at an unhurried pace. The song features rich harmonies and a blend of acoustic instruments, including guitar and harmonica."

    It honestly did a pretty darn good job, with the exception of the bit about harmonica; there's absolutely no harmonica, just resonator guitar, mandolin, and upright bass.
  2. Next, with my permission, Finn fed the lyrics to “Driving Slow, Living Slower” into Suno (full lyrics here) and asked the AI to generate a new version of the song, using the same lyrics and it's own description above. 

    Here's what Suno came up with: 


My First Impressions:

  1. Overall, it's pretty meh musically. Instrumentation and chord progressions are soooo predictable.
  2. But the chorus kinda slaps, and that outro…. ✋🎤🔥
  3. It's completely lacking Tamiko's and Tim's kickass harmony lines.
  4. Then again, Suno's AI voice did a better job of nailing the intonation on those high notes! 😜
  5. Suno knocked it out of the park with its autogenerated image of a 1963 antique convertible for the cover. (From the lyrics, it couldn't have known that the original was written about a light blue VW Beetle.) Kinda bummed, however, that Suno didn't pick up on the Great Lakes / Michigan imagery, though.


What do y'all think about this little experiment?

What do you think about the role of Generative AI in art and music more generally?

Let me know!  Feel free to add to the discussion on our Facebook post: [coming soon]

Leave a comment