Why does this go so hard?!
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Someone used AI voice cloning to create a cover of the late Johnny Cash singing Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" — and we must admit that it absolutely slaps.
It's been less than a week since Swift's self-released and re-recorded version of her 2014 album "1989" dropped, and already the "There I Ruined It" TikTok account has done the opposite of its tagline by creating a sparse, bluegrass-tinged version of the single that sounds freakishly authentic given that Cash died more than 20 years ago.
To hear it in Cash's "voice," the track's chorus recounting of the singer's "long list of ex-lovers/they'll tell you I'm insane" is transformed from the declarations of a precocious pop starlet to the tired admission of a wizened country outlaw, complete with violin and mandolin.
"Hello," the AI voice announces at the start of the 53-second clip, "I'm not Johnny Cash."
AI-generated Johnny Cash singing Taylor Swift is blowing my mind pic.twitter.com/TeibApYOoP
— BuccoCapital Guy (@buccocapital) October 31, 2023
While country stans will recall that this is not the first time the Man in Black's voice has transmogrified a song from its original version into something entirely unique — that distinction, of course, goes to his 2002 cover of Nine Inch Nail's "Hurt," released less than a year before his death — this is also not the first time "There I Ruined It" dropped a chillingly-good Cash rendition, either.
Earlier this year, the popular TikTok account, which is run by Dallas musician Dustin Ballard, created a mashup of Aqua's "Barbie Girl," the Spice Girls' "Wannabe," and Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA" in time for Greta Gerwig's instant classic "Barbie" film — all sung by the AI Cash to the tune of his "Folsom Prison Blues."
AI Johnny Cash sings "Barbie Girl" pic.twitter.com/bm5uA1DVIZ
— Benjamin De Kraker (@BenjaminDEKR) July 16, 2023
Strangely, Ballard deleted the "Barbie Girl" mashup from his TikTok and YouTube accounts, but not before the likes of Insider, Open Culture, and even the Fox News and the Daily Mail tabloid published laudatory reviews of the "cover."
The brain genius behind "There I Ruined It" seems to have a sense of humor, too, and at one point made the resurrected Cash voice sing "if they free me from this AI, if my voice was only mine, I'd bet I'd move it on a little further down the line," a reference to a similar line in "Folsom Prison Blues."
"Far from Barbie World, that's where I want to stay," the not-Cash sings on the AI-infused mashup, which was fortuitously re-uploaded by a fan account. "Oh come on, Barbie, let's go party, and take my blues away."
Ballard, who has also done a bunch of really hilarious and often amazing "ruined" songs, will be doing a few live shows in the Dallas area at the end of this year and the beginning of 2024, and it'll be awesome to watch videos of the events and see how his skills translate live.
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