According to AVClub, The Beatles have a new song in the works thanks to modern technology. Who would've guessed that AI was the fifth Beatle all along?
Even though it's been years since the band was the center of pop culture, The Beatles are still a benchmark for modern musicians in the pop genre. Every couple of years, there'll be a host of headlines citing how a contemporary artist has usurped some obscure accolade from The Beatles. When news came out that Drake had officially surpassed The Beatles in Billboard hits, the rapper celebrated by getting an Abbey Road tattoo with a picture of him leading the procession. Although the tattoo was intended to be a playful jab at the Fab Four, Drake's ink only proved how eternally relevant The Beatles are, and to some extent always will be.
Case in point, despite the group calling it quits several decades ago, we're about to get a brand new Beatles track with the help of AI technology.
Before you get visions of a ghostly, semi-robotic John Lennon being resurrected from beyond the grave, this isn't the kind of wholesale A.I. that invents an entirely new vocal (á la that creepy version of Lennon lauding A.I. that went viral last month). Instead, with technology pioneered by Peter Jackson for his documentary Get Back, Lennon's voice can be isolated and strengthened from an existing unreleased demo.
"He [Jackson] was able to extricate John's voice from a ropey little bit of cassette. We had John's voice and a piano and he could separate them with AI. They tell the machine, 'That's the voice. This is a guitar. Lose the guitar,'" McCartney explained on BBC Radio 4's Today (via BBC). "So when we came to make what will be the last Beatles' record, it was a demo that John had [and] we were able to take John's voice and get it pure through this A.I. Then we can mix the record, as you would normally do. So it gives you some sort of leeway."
Speculation suggests the track will be "Now And Then," a demo that was considered for the Anthology project. "It didn't have a very good title, it needed a bit of reworking, but it had a beautiful verse and it had John singing it," McCartney told Q Magazine in 2006 (via NBC News). "[But] George [Harrison] didn't like it. The Beatles being a democracy, we didn't do it."