A new Beatles song titled Now and Then has been released, but it has received a lukewarm response from critics. The song, which features the vocals of John Lennon, was originally recorded as a demo more than four decades ago. Despite the hype surrounding its release, critics found it to be underwhelming.
Geoff Edgers of the Washington Post described the song as not terrible, but ultimately mundane. The Times daily in the U.K. acknowledged that the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the song was interesting, but it still fell short of being a lost masterpiece. Will Hodgkinson, reviewing for The Times, noted that while parts of the song captured the classic Beatles-esque flavor, it lacked the brilliance expected from the last Beatles song.
Variety magazine took issue with the lyrics in particular, criticizing lines such as I know it’s true, it’s all because of you. The magazine’s Jem Aswad described the song as a rough and incomplete sketch, rather than a complete composition.
Now and Then was initially written and sung by Lennon in 1978. The unfinished track was later completed by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. It was released by Apple Corps, Capitol, and Universal Music Enterprises, with a music video set to debut soon.
McCartney, in a promotional trailer, mentioned that the song’s release holds emotional significance and confirmed that all the surviving Beatles members played on it. The song was part of a cassette tape that Lennon had recorded for McCartney in 1979, a year before his death. Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, later gifted the tape to McCartney in 1994.
AI technology was used to process the recording and enhance Lennon’s voice, leading to a crystal-clear sound. This has raised debates within the music industry about the use of AI, with concerns over copyright issues and praise for its technological capabilities.
Overall, the release of Now and Then has left critics feeling disappointed. While the song has elements reminiscent of the Beatles’ signature style, it falls short of being a masterpiece. The use of AI in music production continues to be a topic of discussion, and its effectiveness in recreating the magic of iconic bands like the Beatles remains a subject of debate.
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