When Microsoft announced Songsmith at CES this year, I cringed.
The very idea of a musical MIDIscape being auto-generated as one croons seems like something that could only be dreamed up by the karaoke anti-Christ. Then there was the video they released to demo the app. Just try to watch the whole thing. I dare you.
Fortunately, Randall Stross has written a piece in the New York Times (Microsoft Songsmith Is Easy (if Painful to Hear)) that perfectly defines Songsmith: camp.
This one passage about sums it up (but the whole article is worth a read):
How satisfying are the musical results? Microsoft lets you hear for yourself in a promotional video titled “Everyone Has a Song Inside.” The video is getting more attention than the software because it’s awful, in unintentional ways. “Notes on ‘Camp’, ” the 1964 essay by Susan Sontag, identifies a category of art that isn’t campy, just “bad to the point of being laughable, but not bad to the point of being enjoyable.” The Songsmith video is exactly that.