Wrongsmith collects the “best” of Songsmith

Total hat-tip to Webomatica for this.

The web is slowly filling up Songsmith “remixes” of popular songs.

It’s a program recently released by Microsoft Research that purports to make anyone and everyone a songwriter. Just select a musical style and sing into a microphone and the app will automatically generate accompanying music. Arrangements and chords can all be customized.

Of course it didn’t take long for enterprising users to figure out that Songsmith accepts pre-recorded vocals as well. Just isolate them from the original recordings, feed them into the program and customized the settings. Songsmith does the rest.

The results can be hilarious and a steady stream of new mixes are making their way to YouTube. The website Wrongsmith [which is no longer online, oct 2012] is doing a pretty good job of collecting the best of them.

Here’s a few of my favorites so far:

Michael Jackson – Beat It

Envisioned as a spastic techno carnival.

Queen – We Will Rock You

A calypso anthem.

Billy Idol – White Wedding

Bluegrass style.

To its credit, the program does a pretty decent job of staying on key and and tempo. Though it’s not perfect, it’s often “close enough for rock and roll.”

Songsmith is one of my new favorite things.

The Beatles + Nine Inch Nails = Come Closer

The Beatles vs. Nine Inch nails Come Closer Together

I was tempted to let this pass without comment, but it’s just so intriguing. It’s a mash up of the Beatles Come Together and Nine Inch Nails’ Closer by DJ Zebra. The ending is a bit flubbed, but overall this is a very good combination.

It’s particularly noteworthy since both sources are rock songs and it’s rare to see good rock mash ups. Because of the way most rock songs are written and performed, its harder to effectively combine two of them than it is to lay rap lyrics over a riff or rock vocals over a hip hop beat.

Supreme Beings of Leisure: Overlords of Recreation

supreme leisure

The Supreme Beings of Leisure debut has the distinction of being one of two albums that I’ve ever purchased after hearing less than a minute of music from it. The other is The Dandy Warhols Come Down. I bought it shortly after listening to snippets of a couple of songs at a Barnes & Noble kiosk. Incidentally, it’s entirely possible that themodernista sold the cd to me about six months before we officially met.

For a time, I was enthusiastic about it and the record received a lot of play. That was five years ago.

I can truthfully say that, despite the enthusiastic start, the album hasn’t aged very well. Perhaps it’s because it has this kind of big-budget Propellerheads-meets-Portishead slickness to it that comes across as formulaic. Like a Michael Bay film, the Beings produce a superficially appealing work that can’t help but come across as cold and calculated from the start.

Granted, the album’s retro-lounge-spybreak sensibilities do sound good and the music is not unpleasant to listen to. I just can’t escape the feeling that each song was deliberately designed to be used as the establishing background music for trendy night clubs on TV or in as many commercials as possible.

In the end, I think I’ll hang on to it (for a lark), but I won’t respect myself for it.

On iTunes
Supreme Beings of Leisure
Dandy Warhols

I embarrassingly still have this

get born

I listened to jet's get born this morning (well, selections from it). And despite the fact that i know they're just a crappy band with one good song not a great song, mind you, I haven't yet brought myself to get rid of the album. parts of it are long gone, particularly the awful beatles-imitation ballads.

on that, i envision a scene like this unfolding in the recording studio: dons an australian accent

boys, i've been listening to the record and, it sounds good, but we simply rock way too much. we need to up our wuss-factor with some slow tempo pianos and crappier lyrics that usual. you in?

bloody right. chicks dig wusses.

cheap shot, i know. but i can't escape the feeling that the group is a bunch of ponces. which is why i'm slightly embarassed to still have retained 7 songs from the album. don't hold it against me, ok?

besides, 'are you gonna be my girl?' still kinda rocks, just not in a 5 star way.

Jet - Get Born - Are You Gonna Be My Girl