Country music is often the subject of parody, with satirical takes on the genre homing in on its would-be proclivity for maudlin tales about marital dissolution or the death of a beloved bloodhound. And while artists like Cledus T. Judd may make a living with a harmonized celebration and mockery of these and other nuts and bolts of the time-tested American music genre, none have mastered quite the feat undertaken by the song “You Can’t Take My Door”—a proverbial dissertation on the ins and outs of the country twang.
So who is the masterful artist who composed such a genre-defining—nay, genre-reinventing number? As a matter of fact, it’s not a whom at all. It’s barely even a what. As it turns out, the little ditty was written by a neural network. Take a listen to the game-changing power ballad, which we found over at Laughing Squid, below.
To be more specific, “You Can’t Take My Door” was written by Recursive Neural Network, which was developed by Botnik Studios to ingest myriad country songs and reproduce a specimen of the like. In a tweet that Botnik posted in October of 2018, when the video first hit the web, the studio claimed it trained its network “on all of country music’s greatest hits,” and then couriered the results to the production line to create the above video.
And the results? Something occasionally incoherent but—let’s face it—effectively moody and damn catchy! So all in all, a pretty good country song.
To be clear, the singing, instrumentals, and video work were not likewise handled by a neural network, but by actual human beings. (Primitive and boring, I know, but hey—that’s the music biz for ya.) Elle O’Brien and Timothy Joyce contribute their vocal abilities, and the video is the handiwork of Jonah Cooper.