Nick Cave calls ChatGPT and AI songwriting “a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human”

The Bad Seeds singer isn't impressed with the AI chatbot service

Nick Cave has shared his opinion on ChatGPT and songwriting using artificial intelligence (AI).

The Bad Seeds singer addressed what appears to be growing interest in the chatbot service that uses AI to generate human-like text at the request of the user.

He revealed on his blog The Red Hand Files that he’s received numerous submissions from his fans, of song lyrics written “in the style of Nick Cave” on ChatGPT. The singer wasn’t inspired by the results.


Responding to a fan named Mark who’d sent him lyrics to an algorithmically generated song, Cave wrote that “with all the love and respect in the world”, the track is “bullshit” and “a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human”.

The 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.”

nick cave
Nick Cave performs at Cala Mijas Fest 2022 day 2 on September 02, 2022 in Malaga, Spain. (Picture: Pablo Gallardo/Redferns)

Cave wrote in his response: “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 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.”


He finished the letter by using some of the AI lyrics to summarise his thoughts.

“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. ”

You can read the letter in full here.

Nick Cave
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis performing live in 2022. Credit: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images.

Meanwhile, Cave confirmed earlier this month that he’s started work on a new Bad Seeds album, and shared some early lyric ideas in the process.

He also recently shared footage of a recent gig with his collaborator Warren Ellis at the iconic Hanging Rock as a TV special. You can watch Kingdom In The Sky here.

Cave’s last album with the Bad Seeds was 2019’s ‘Ghosteen‘, while in 2021 he shared his surprise joint album, ‘Carnage‘, with Ellis.

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