Rage Against the Machine’s touring days may be (apparently) over, but Tom Morello looks like he’s keeping busy — even if his next high-profile collaboration isn’t with an artist you might have expected. Morello’s solo work has included collaborations with artists on the louder side of things, from Killer Mike to Portugal. The Man to Kirk Hammett; in this case, he joined Sheryl Crow on guitar for the new single “Evolution.”
Ultimate Classic Rock reported the news that Crow’s song — the title track from her forthcoming LP — drew on the songwriter’s concerns about emerging technologies. “As a mom, I want to leave a better world for my children, a healthier planet — is A.I. going to be a benevolent partner in these goals or not?” Crow said in a statement. “It’s unsettling, and this song deals with those anxieties.”
Crow opens the song by singing of the experience of hearing a song uncannily like something she’d written on the radio, gradually ratcheting up the themes of skepticism and lost emotion. A little over two minutes in, Morello turns in a guitar solo that adds to the ominous tone of the song.
As one might suspect, the song’s thematic content is a long way from “ChatGPT will save us all.” While it isn’t necessarily shocking that Crow (who has spoken out repeatedly against gun violence) and Morello (whose pro-organized labor stances are well-documented) would raise concern over AI, it’s still refreshing to hear them do so. After all, some other recent high-profile musical collaborations have been, shall we say, disappointing.
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It’s also worth noting that his appearance here isn’t the only time when Morello has veered into the Americana world — his solo work has featured appearances from the likes of Jim James, Nathaniel Rateliff and Bruce Springsteen. On paper, Crow and Morello converging might sound strange; in this context, though, it turns out to click quite organically.
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