Song Review: MIDNATT – Masquerade

MIDNATT - MasqueradeWhen you think about it, HYBE’s embrace of the ever-growing AI market feels inevitable. I expect this to be a huge facet of K-pop as time goes on.

Before writing about MIDNATT, let me tell you how I’ve been using AI over the past seven months. Last November, I discovered the Whisper AI model, which transcribes audio with great accuracy and times it out to create subtitles. I’ve been using this model, plus translation tools and my own knowledge to subtitle dozens and dozens of videos from under-represented J-pop groups (Genic, Fantastics, One Love One Heart, etc). It’s been a game-changer in my life as a fan, and even if it’s still a lot of work on my end I’m forever grateful to the power of AI for letting me engage with these beloved acts in ways I never could have before.

So in short, AI isn’t all doom-and-gloom. It’s kind of magical, actually.

And, AI-trickery aside, Masquerade is a decent song. Its vocal anchor comes courtesy of longtime Big Hit artist Lee Hyun. Then — as far as I can tell — the AI model is used to transform his lyrics into different languages. So just like a “choose your own adventure,” you can listen to Masquerade in six different languages if you’d like. I’m writing about the Korean version, which is listed as the “original.” So, choose your YouTube settings accordingly.

AI also allows Hyun to duet with himself as a female voice. I’m not sure what this accomplishes beyond novelty, but we’re in an era of experimentation with this technology so novelty is bound to be omnipresent. When it comes down to it, Masquerade‘s sleek, funk-pop sound would be satisfying with or without all the tricks. In fact, it would benefit from better mixing and a more natural production style. I don’t suppose the AI model can accomplish that, too?

Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8

Grade: B-


12 thoughts on “Song Review: MIDNATT – Masquerade

  1. The song works because it starts with good songcraft and a good performance, upon which the AI adds and builds. It sounds a bit like the early days of the vocoder with Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock trying out songs with that new technology back when.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am very curious to see how copyright laws around music are going to adapt to the rise of AI. There’s already the possibility to have wellknown singers “cover” other songs using AI – using their voices, essentially, to create new content. Very curious to see how this will develop.

    Anyway, the song is pretty good! I really like it. I agree about the mixing, though.. it sounds like the song isn’t fully finished.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I can’t believe I can listen to it in my native language. You can sense the accent but it’s still crazy how good it sounds in Spanish…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I appreciate you using AI responsibly and without infringing on others’ creativity and content.

    AI can do a lot of positive things, but said doom and gloom is very prominent for a good reason. Until no one’s career is on the line and everyone is getting properly compensated, it’s a good idea to keep AI (especially those that produce “art”, writing, and music) at a distance.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m very interested to see how this goes. Obviously some are gonna try and use it to replace artists and they’ll fail miserably because you can’t relate to AI. You can’t build a connection with them like you can your favorite artists. For something like this though that enhances the experience and gives more people a chance to hear the song in their native language is really interesting. That’s a cool marketing trick they can use especially the groups and artists with endless amounts of money that can fix the mixing issue this song has. I’m very interested as a science person to see how this can be used.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I find this project interesting but worrying with no regulation set on IA. And I also find it darkly funny that most complaints about Hybe songs are that the voices sometimes sound overproduced and too altered and they are working on new ways of keep doing exactly that 🤣


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.