Review

Song Review: Eternity – I’m Real

I have… questions.

First, on a gut level I just don’t understand the appeal of an AI popstar. So much of pop stardom (and especially K-pop stardom) is built around personality and charisma. Those aspects can be programmed to some extent, but computers are never going to be able to replicate the quirks and charms that inspire the kind of idol worship K-pop has built its business around. Beyond that, I just don’t see the need. There’s certainly not a shortage of trainees, and I doubt their ever will be.

Regardless, tech (?) company Pulse9 has gone and created their own virtual girl group. From their dead eyes to their robotic dance moves, Eternity is like a nightmare come to life. You half expect the girls to pause mid-song, voice lowered to a hellish tone, and mutter “I’m going to kill you in your sleep.”

In reality, the vocals that “perform” I’m Real sound more like wailing cats. I’m a little unclear whether the audio is also computer generated or just a warped version of actual voices. Either way, the result is muddled, off-key and deeply creepy. You’d think that computer-assisted pop music would result in product that was more polished, but Eternity sounds drunk and ornery, as if these robots were at the end of their battery life. I’ve never needed to use words like “melting” and “malfunctioning” to describe vocals, but I’m Real is giving us a lot of firsts.

The song’s instrumental is basically every K-pop trope thrown into a blender. It’s algorithmic, which isn’t surprising given the nature of this project. I’ll throw it a bone for its adventurous spirit – a little organ here, a little guitar there – but like everything else about I’m Real, its structure is a mess. Elements appear without any purpose beyond distracting from those ghastly vocals.

Oh, Eternity. Thanks for single-handedly dragging down my cumulative rating for March!

 Hooks 2
 Production 1
 Longevity 1
 Bias 1
 RATING 1.25

39 thoughts on “Song Review: Eternity – I’m Real

  1. Y’know, i knew about stuff like vocaloid but i never actually got into it that much. This song made me realize how much worse a virtual idol song could sounds like, lmao.

    Even the latest hatsune miku’s song actually used the robotic voice well and the song didn’t feel like someone put a script into an ai on “Making k-pop song for dummies”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What the hell? Is this supposed to be alluring or creepy? Its creepy to me, like doll that speaks and blinks creepy or Chucky doll creepy.

    Itzy came out with MIdzy this weekend, so there is that for the slow day in kpop. Its not bad. Also, Nick, you still owe us all a redo of the SuJu top 10 or 15.5 list.

    People have been doing artificial life since Frankenstein made his creation, and Metropolis had the coolest female robot since ever. ELIZA the old Basic psychology program may also be considered of the genre. I think releases is in overdrive these days because of the tools are good enough for common hacks to use them, and so they do. The ease of the technology is driving the use, not the demand for it, I think.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I died after listening to this. Writing this comment from hell

    But what a deadly disaster it is. I wasn’t expecting the rating to be this low but I was still expecting it to be this low Lmao .lowest rating ever I guess.

    BTW The song could have been modified / improved and given to a ‘real’ and ‘living’ human girl group and then it could have been a good song.

    Like

    • I agree, even though it’s not a factor of Nick’s criteria, performance has a special effect on a song’s hooks, longevity and bias.

      If these robot songs keep on continuing I am pretty sure we will be getting an influx of new 1 ratings.

      Like

  4. (sweet baby hey zeus I can’t believe I listened to this again)
    If its all electronic and fake, why are the vocals off the beat here and there? For about half the song, in fits and starts, the vocals are a fraction of a beat behind the beat.
    Can’t they check these things in the computer, oh the loud parts should all line up. Its a line, that goes down the screen to form a line, good now everything is on the beat. Not twenty pixels over, that is off the beat.
    For that alone, 1 for production.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It looks like they created it with the UNREAL engine; as in, well.. ..you get the joke, right?

    As someone that has spent my entire life working with analog/digital graphics, I can appreciate trying to create a virtual experience. I’m not worried that CGI idols will replace flesh and blood. It’s kitsch and kooky. Still, the ultimate end goal for CGI avatars is erasing the uncanny valley. This video widened it into the Grand Canyon.

    The song itself is shrill, so.. ..yeah. It has that “how would Chinese producers write a K-pop song?” treatment.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Just so I don’t get accused of making a racially charged statement, I’ll include a reference of what I was referring to. Here is an MV from 4 years ago from a group called “AOS”. Clearly, the inspiration of the song was GFRIEND. While the producers didn’t crash directly into the plagiarism iceberg, they clearly scraped enough along side it (Titanic style), to sink this song before it even debuted.

      Ref: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9zQuk6L65c

      Like

      • Holy shit this song is a Glass Bead rip. I was half expecting Iggy/Youngbae, though I think there are subtle production differences that expose this as a copy and not the real deal. That said, the song is actually quite good (but hey, if you’re copying something as good as Glass Bead, it’s hard to miss).

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, it’s a guilty pleasure for me too. Despite everything wrong with it, it still manages to burrow into my brain and make a nest for itself. Hence, the reason I still remember it.

          Like

      • Clearly, yes. It may as well be a Gfriend song. Besides the blatant copying, what really cracks me up about this version is two things. 1) who is singing, sure it looks like this one is singing in one shot, and then the next shot someone else, or no one, so who is really singing, 2) the uniform costumes. Look at how high the waist is, its about the mid rib cage. Its like they bought uniforms for 10 year olds and put them on super skinny 18 year olds. Super short, so that everyone gets a alluring glimpse of spanky pants.

        drifting off topic …

        You might be old enough to remember the ELIZA program. Its like an early fore-runner of the google assistant or Amazon alexa bot. You typed your heart out in a simple basic program, and it would analyze the text per its algorithm and respond like a psychologist would. “rawr rawr raw life life life” “I see, can you tell me more” Depending on your mood it was either amusing or an uncanny understanding of What is Going on in My Life Right Now.

        The early IBM PCs and the TRS80’s in early 1980’s had it already loaded on the BASIC side, so anyone who messed around with a computer in the early 80’s played around with it. Eliza itself predates the IBM PC by a decade or two and was a regular program on the Altair’s from the early 1970’s. So here is the spooky thing. Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote Altair BASIC in the mid70’s as the first product for Microsoft, so they had had in their minds for ages the idea of these bots interacting with us in spooky read our minds way. Move on a decade to the mid80’s, and a very young Jeff Bezos was a double major in electrical engineering and computer science. I am going to bet that Jeff Bezos played around with ELIZA.

        Liked by 1 person

        • My first “computer” was a Timex Sinclair 1000 (TS1000), followed by Texas Instruments TI-99/4A, then a Radio Shit TRS80 Model III, and so on, and so on…

          Yeah, I remember all the “Oh my God! The technological magic of REAL AI!!!” programs that kicked around in the beginning. They were amusing. I spent most of my time playing text-based Infocom games like “The Leather Goddesses of Phobos” and trying to figure out how to hold “no tea” in “The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy”. Good time, good times.

          My mom worked for Hewlett Packard during the 60s and she had to work a few late nights. She’d take me into work and I use to play with the keypunch card machines making them punch out segments so that if I held them up to the light they would spell out words like my name or this and that. Then I’d play with the chaff that collected from punching cards mixing it with Elmer’s Glue and creating Paper Mache animals. Ultimately, I’d fall asleep listening to machines humming away as the reel-to-reel tapes spun, the gears turned, and a white noise hung in the air like a think fog. Ahhh.. ..it’s no wonder I am the way I am.

          Like

          • Ah, HP. Radio Snack. The Trash 80.

            My grandfather bought my uncle the first HP calculator, the HP-35, for use at college. His thesis was on punch cards. After graduation, he went to work for IBM, so a few years later my dad got via uncle the first IBM PC at the employee rate. It sat on the dining room table.

            For several decades to come, Grandma used the leftover punch cards for her grocery shopping lists (it was a lot of cards), and used that calculator to balance her checkbook until the red LED screen finally gave out in the mid00’s. Dad got her a regular calculator with LCD screen and solar cell from Radio Snack. We had to teach her how to use the normal calculator, because after three decades she was the only grandma to only know reverse polish notation.

            This is why I am the way I am in two lines
            10 Print “Myma is the greatest”
            20 goto 10

            (My brother has that calculator now, as well as Grandpa’s old slide rule for which he had to demonstrate to Grandpa that he could use properly before Grandpa let him have it,)

            Liked by 1 person

            • I HAVE A SLIDE RULER! Don’t know how to use the damn thing. It’s from my mom’s old job. Mint condition, still in the rigid cherry leather case with inner slidie rulers within rulers. Don’t ask me why I hold onto the thing. Always thought it was cool so my mom gave it to me.

              Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh my god, we got a new lowest score. Episode must be relieved lol. Honestly I felt like this could’ve been a guilty pleasure of mine ( like that group that has one mediocre song, but you remember them as being a part of a certain part of your life). However the vocals are so terrible, which is a shame cause this could’ve been catchy.

    Lowkey ( don’t hurt me) but I kinda like this more than “open my door”

    As far as the “girls” themselves go, they kinda look like characters from the old japanese PS2 horror game “siren” (AKA “Forbidden siren”). I think that kinda says it all for the watching experience

    Like

  7. I think it’s alarming that we’re trying to use AI in the CREATIVE SECTOR. That is an absolute no no for me. I can see why AI is used in other ways, but let’s keep people making arts

    Liked by 1 person

  8. In a world where vocaloid stars and v-tubers and video game characters have immense followings, it is sort of comforting that there is still a company who can take the idea of non-real idols and absolutely butcher it.

    Liked by 5 people

    • They should’ve hired CodeMiko for the avatars. Of course, they’d then have to stick a 19+ label on it if she added all her flourishes and mods, but the quality would’ve improved by leaps and bounds.

      Liked by 2 people

    • It’s sort of catchy-ish? Catchy adjacent? Of course, “catchy” isn’t always a good thing!

      Plus, isn’t it more savage to give it all 1’s and a 2 rather than just dismiss it completely? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • More savage? True. But it gives the group a glimmer of hope. Imagine the producers seeing that 2, then hearing the voice of Lloyd (Carrey) asking Mary (Holly), “So you’re saying there’s a chance?”

        Like

      • The thing about Vocaloid, too, is that it’s not really meant to be passed off as human singing (I don’t follow it much, but I do know the basics). Certain users do push the realism angle and are relatively successful (there’s a compilation floating around YouTube somewhere that could definitely fool me), but the voicebanks lean into the artificial nature both in design and execution. Thousands of Vocaloid users working with impressive and refined commercial software are bound to have better results than one AI team that’s gone out on a limb to make Real Human Idol Girls!

        Like

  9. What the freak did I just watch and listen to? I feel like I’m revisiting my nightmares from my childhood.

    Let’s talk about this song. It’s an absolute mess from start to finish and feels like it’s all over the place. Not only that, but the voices… goodness I want to rip my ears off listening to this. They sound like those kindergarten kids here in my country going around and caroling.

    Is it just me, or do the lyrics go like “I wanna lawyer, I wanna need you”? I just bursted out laughing lol I can’t help it!

    And the music video? They look like emotionless dolls singing and I don’t know if it’s just me, but they don’t even look like they’re looking at the camera. I am so not getting any sleep tonight.

    If they really want to do the virtual idol concept, I think they might want to take note from 22/7…

    And also, omg that rating! Episode’s Open my Door can finally find rest now lmao

    Like

  10. Whenever I try to think of how this sounds, I just hear Izone’s “beware”. The difference in rating of those two songs makes me weird that I’m connecting them in my head

    Like

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