We needed a change of pace so I decided to expand the subject matter of my blog a little bit. This week I am going to list my top 10 favorite Vocaloid Songs. For those of you looking for a quick summary, Vocaloid is a singing voice synthesizer marketed by Yamaha. The most popular and well know Vocaloid are the Japanese released Vocaloid from the V1 and V2 software versions. It is a pretty neat software, though unless you are sound engineer odds are if you play with it the results will sound terrible at best
Anyhoo here we go starting from #10:
Dead Line Circus is a dark little song with some darkly poetic lyrics written by Last Note, but a pretty nice bass line. It apparently tells the story of a circus of serial killers who kidnap members of the audience and kill them as part of the performance. I absolutely love the refrain to this one, “The pathetic scream of the bullet cries out as it flies free, and as it hits the clown it disappeared.” Honestly, this made the bottom of my top 10 though because of its use of Kamui Gakupo, honestly, it isn’t the best sounding Vocaloid, though I give last note credit because his use of Kamui is the best I have heard so far.
As far as Lyrics go, Purple Butterfly on Your Right Shoulder is a bit confusing. It seems to be a song about a guy who has gone mad with love, and possibly alcoholism after kissing a girl (or maybe guy?) at a party. Don’t get me wrong, the lyrics are poetic and I dig that. However, they are still very confusing sometimes, one line seems to imply cross dressing (which I have no personal problem with for the record), so it is more of an acquired taste. It does have an awesome beat and makes a great dance song if you’re into that.
I honestly like this song mostly for its spunky lyrics. Ten Thousand Stars is one of the few Vocaloid songs intentionally done all in English with the (then) new V3 English Voice Bank Release. This song by CircusP won the Hatsune Miku Expo 2016 Song Contest which was part of a marketing campaign to promote the V3 English software. Not only did the composer win 10,000 dollars, his song was performed live by Hatsune Miku during the touring Miku Expo. So I guess that’s kinda neat.
Tsugai Kogarashi (A Pair of Wintry Winds) is a really beautiful song done in the Traditional Japanese Style. It’s flowing poetry paints a story of two lovers split apart and reunited by fate. This song for me is very calming but only made #7 because the voice of Kaito and Meiko really were not utilized as well as they could have been. An example of a good Meiko song though is…………
This one is one of my favorites and is composed by Team Kamiuta (Gods Song). It is an excellent use of the Meiko voice as much of the singing emulates real emotion almost. This song seems to be about a young student who is depressed and considering suicide over the world’s hypocrisy. While considering suicide she uncovers the gift of her ancestors, the spirit of the Samurai which gives her the strength and courage to keep on living each day to correct those wrongs. It is poetic, the lyrics are powerful, and the use of imagery of famous Samurai stirs my heart every time I hear this song and watch this video.
“This is the Story of a world after death.” And I gotta tell you, this song makes me wanna go to (Buddist) Hell. Heaven and Hell tells the story of a man who has died, and now Yama and an Angel are fighting over whether or not he will spend eternity playing the game of Heaven or Hell. The protagonist is dragged through Hell where he is forced to take part in crimes, fight, and even bungee jump with a rope around his neck for some pretty pervy reasons. He thinks he is saved when he goes to Heaven, but there he is repeatedly tormented and tortured for not being perfect enough. Now he is being made to choose again but….. Oh wait, they had the wrong person. Sayonara, see you soon though mortal!!
This song and its video are a real trip, a real hop, a real step. Apparently, it’s a dance battle at the very end of this world (and maybe the beginning of the new one?). As I am sure you guessed based on my other picks, I love this for its poetic lyrics. It also had a really danceable tune which I enjoy compared to a lot of similar Vocaloid Songs. And the Video, I mean that is possibly one of the best. Who doesn’t enjoy a dance battle between 2 (Triad Crimelord?) girls and their posse in casual dresses.
So this is basically a song about Hanafuda cards, more specifically the game of Hachi-Hachi (which is 8 8, or 88. the proper word for 88 though is Hachi-Jun Hachi). It tells the story of a gambler courting an Oiran at a gambling house. Pretty simple. The song is laced with many references to Hanafuda. For example, Five Brights (Gokou) and Boar, Deer, Butterfly (Ino, Shika, Chou) are both high point hands you can assemble in Hanafuda games like Hachi-Hachi or Koi Koi. I love this song because of the mix of traditional and modern sounds, and also the references to Hanafuda which is one of the few card games I am really enthusiastic about.
I enjoy this song a lot, Senbonzakura touches on a lot of themes from the time span between the Meiji Era and WW2 (Basically 1868 – 1945). That time was comprised of the Meiji Period, the Taisho Period, and the early parts of the Showa Period. It is almost like hearing the voices of the souls in the Yasakuni Shrine. For example, “After a bold and audacious Westernization Revolution, this is now an open and upright anti-war nation” is a mixed reference to the westernization began under the Meiji Restoration and was accelerated after WW2 accompanied by Article 9 of the post war constitution that forbade Japan to develop a functional military or engage in hostilities. And “This is a Banquet inside a steel jail cell, look down on us from your guillotine” is a reference to the post war execution of men accused of being war criminals. And “Hundreds of fights will give you the appearance of an officer” placed next to the lyric “The Courtesans are going here and there on a parade for their regular guests” refers collectively to military expansion/victories of the Meiji and Taisho Periods as well as a period of political and social degradation starting in the late Meiji Period and extending into the early Taisho Period before the implementation of the Taisho Democracy. While it explores the darkness of Japan it also reminds us of the greatness and resilience of its Empire and expresses hope and the final result of a happy enough ending.
I am not in the least bit ashamed to say this song brings tears of joy to my eyes. It tells a very important story from the Kojiki about how Amaterasu-Omikami hid herself and her light in a cave (Amano-Iwato) after being tormented by her brother Susanoo-no-Mikoto. The Kami (Gods/Goddesses) grew worried and held council near the cave. They finally came up with a plan to coax Amaterasu-Omikami out of the cave. Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto performed a wild dance and began to bare her skin, and the Kami laughed with joy. When Amaterasu-Omikami peeked out to see why the other Kami were celebrating, Ame-no-Tajikarawo-no-Mikoto pulled her out of the cave while the other Kami sealed it up behind her.
This is a really important story in Shinto. It establishes the basis for the ritual of Kagura. It also teaches many other things such as the burden the Kami bear, the importance of the Sun as a bringer of life and hope, the love our entire solar system feels for the sun, and the value of loving oneself and recognizing how important you may be to others. The video for this is done in the style of a scroll unfurling from right to left which is beautiful, and the imagery is based on traditional art patterns as well as the manga style. The music itself is mostly pop but it has a traditional flavor to it. This is really my absolute favorite song, it always brings me tears of joy near the end, and I usually listen to it when I am feeling bad. It was not hard to decide on this as #1 in my list, the happiness it brought me is priceless.
So hopefully this article was not too bad. Please, especially for this piece, leave feedback in the comments. I am always hesitant to add new content since I don’t want to risk diluting the subject matter of the website too much. Luckily with this, I was also able to tie it into subjects I already established. Anyway, good or bad feel free to drop that feedback. I value it greatly from my friends, and I need it from my readers. Oh, and if you are interested in purchasing Vocaloid software you can buy it here at Crypton Future Media’s online store, or if you are more comfortable buying domestically (within the US) you can purchase them through Big Fish Audio.
Oh, and before I forget, here is an honorable mention because the composer is deserving of recognition.
The composer of this song Sano Takayuki, or as some called him, Samfree, passed away September 24th, 2015. He was only 31 years old. His family did not release the cause of death but it was assumed that it was an internal disease as Takayuki was not suicidal. It is hard to see someone who had a promising career die so young, the only thing we can do though is to continue celebrating their work. This is still in my top 15 by the way.