Beach Boys Fan Completes ‘Smile’ Album Using AI
A Beach Boys fan released a version of the band’s abandoned album Smile, using artificial intelligence software to complete the tracks.
You can hear the full album below.
Creator Mike LeRoy fabricated a backstory for his work before detailing how he brought it to fruition. “In the summer of 2018 I traveled to Japan,” he wrote in the video description, claiming he found the album in a secondhand store. “I slid a pink record sleeve out of a neatly packed shelf of vinyl records. Looking down at my prize, I was presented with a Native American glancing at the bicycle parked on the shore. The OBI strip simply read: The Beach Boys Smile."
He continued: "When the needle hit the disc, I discovered something utterly shocking: a seemingly complete, clean, stereo mix of the Beach Boys' unreleased opus. Or not! That’s just a story! But after all, in some universe that must be true.”
Listen to Mike LeRoy's AI Version of the Beach Boys' 'Smile'
Originally planned as a follow-up to the Pet Sounds, Smile collapsed under the weight of Brian Wilson's perfectionism, mental instability and drug use. The Beach Boys shelved the project and released the simplified Smiley Smile in 1967. Wilson revisited and re-recorded the material for 2004's Brian Wilson Presents Smile, and in 2011 the Beach Boys released The Smile Sessions, a hypothetical reconstruction pulled from the original album sessions.
LeRoy explained in his liner notes how he created Wilson-style vocals for the tracks that never featured them. “Months and months ago when I began this project, I was pretty sure the community would be morally opposed to AI vocals,” he wrote. “This had always been a dream of mine, but I wasn't sure how I felt. When I started to see [another fan’s] work with his AI Brian model, I realized the time had come to unleash it on the world.”
He trained the AI using a recent singing voice conversion model. “I hadn't used it for Smile much because I wasn’t sure I wanted to,” he admitted. “In hindsight, after the 100 hours I must’ve put into the whole process of getting Brian's voice out of this machine, it was well worth it. If you turn off your mind and, perhaps, sing along, it really can feel like Brian sang on these. A special feeling I’m blessed to have been a part of making happen.”
LeRoy's version of Smile comes shortly after an Oasis fan released an AI-based album of “new music” from the defunct band. British group Breezer launched The Lost Tapes last week, claiming they'd gotten bored with waiting for brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher to get back together. Liam responded to the project by calling it “mad as fuck” and adding: “I sound mega.”