AI writes ‘new’ Nirvana song Drown in the Sun that sounds just like it was written by Kurt Cobain decades after the singer’s death
By KORY GROW
Fans of Nirvana may do a double-take when they hear ‘Drowned in the Sun,’ a new song created by artificial intelligence that simulates the songwriting of late grunge legend Kurt Cobain.
Engineers fed Nirvana’s back catalog to Google‘s AI program, Magenta, which analyzed it for recurring components and then developed an entirely new track.
The voice on ‘Drowned in the Sun,’ is 100 percent human, though—provided by Eric Hogan, lead singer of the Atlanta Nirvana cover band Nevermind.
The song is just one release from The Lost Tapes of the 27 Club, a project developed by the nonprofit Over the Bridge, which spotlights mental health issues in the music industry.
Other AI-generated ‘lost’ tracks have taken their cue from Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Amy Winehouse, who, like Cobain, died at age 27.
A computer analyzed Kurt Cobain's music and lyrics and wrote a "new" Nirvana song called "Drowned in the Sun." Listen to the surreal track now https://t.co/5VW5Ko880j— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) April 2, 2021
In addition to ‘Drowned in the Sun,’ the Lost Tapes of the 27 Club set list includes ‘The Roads are Alive,’ inspired by the Doors; ‘You’re Gonna Kill Me,’ created using Jimi Hendrix’s catalog; and ‘Man I Know,’ Magenta’s take on an Amy Winehouse song.
Twenty to thirty songs from each artist were fed into the program, which analyzed every facet from lyrics and vocal melodies to note choices and guitar riffs.
The songs had to be stripped down to their individual elements and inputted one at a time, Over The Bridge Board Member Sean O’Connor told Rolling Stone.