My Top 10 Favorite Vocaloid Songs

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:

#10: Dead Line Circus – Len Kagamine, GUMI, Kamui Gakupo

Deadline CircusDead 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.

#9: Purple Butterfly on Your Right Shoulder – Len Kagamine

Purple Butterfly on My Left ShoulderAs 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.

#8: Ten Thousand Stars – Hatsune Miku

Ten Thousand StarsI 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.

#7: Tsugai Kogarashi – Kaito, Meiko

Tsugai KogarashiTsugai 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…………

#6: Samurai Soul – Meiko

Samurai SoulThis 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.

#5: Heaven & Hell – Len Kagamine, Rin Kagamine

Heaven & Hell“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!!

#4: Worlds End Dancehall – Hatsune Miku, Megurine Luka

Worlds End Dance HallThis 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.

#3: Hachi-Hachi: Flowery Battle of Kagamine’s – Len Kagamine, Rin Kagamine

Hachi HachiSo 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.

#2: Senbonzakura – Hatsune Miku

SenbonzakuraI 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.

#1: As The Gods Say – Hatsune Miku, Rin Kagamine, GUMI

Ame-no-UzumeI 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.

Amaterasu-OmikamiThis 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.

Honorable Mention: Luka Luka Night Fever

Luka Luka Night FeverThe 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.

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App Comparison: Countable Vs Congress

So this week I am going to bridge two subjects I like to cover in this blog. I have the pleasure of reviewing two separate apps that both provide news and information about Congress. Both apps have their pros and cons so in the end whichever one you choose to use is left up to your personal preference. They really are decent apps though. I am going to start with a review of the app Congress.

Congress

Congress” is an app developed by Sunlight Foundation. I have been using it for a few months now so I am much more familiar with it and to be honest, I prefer this app. I will say however it is not for everybody. It has a minimalist layout that I really prefer.

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“Congress” Home Screen

Upon opening the app you are immediately provided with a list of upcoming bills and resolutions. It provides the index number of the item as well as the title. The menu to the left also lets you explore more bills as well as track Congressmen, the status of votes, and many other things. You can also open the Bill menu and view active bills being considered

When opening information on a bill it provides you with the title, the congressman who submitted it, a log of changes and a summary of the Bills Contents. By pressing the 3 vertical dots in the top right corner you can access a link to the exact text of the proposed bill. The app also gives you the option to share it or save the bill to your favorites so you can follow its progress.

The app also lets you search for your own congressional representatives and create a favorites list of congressional representatives you want to follow. The bios for each congressman contain links to their social media accounts and their personal website, a map of their jurisdiction, as well as the phone number for their DC offices and a shortcut to the pages for the committees they serve on. It also lets you track the votes of the congressman you are following.

“Congress” also provides a schedule of committee hearings as well as a list of the committees and the congressmen on them. This can help you keep track of what committees are doing since this doesn’t always make the news or get widespread attention

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Log of events on the floor

My favorite thing about “Congress” is that it allows you to see a log of events taking place on the House and Senate floors. For some, this makes for very dry and boring reading, however, I find it important to know how they are using their time while on the taxpayer’s dime. It also is the next best thing to actually watching C-Span.

The downside to this app is that it is a little glitchy. It also isn’t really the best for everyday users as it is heavy on legalese. Unless you took Poli-Sci in college or went to law school you may become easily by descriptions of regulations and such things.

So to summarize the Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Detailed information on Bills and Committees
  • Minimalist Layout
  • Log of events from the House and Senate
  • Ability to form custom list of Congressmen you want to follow\
  • Optional Push Notifications

 

Cons:

  • Glitches and Lags
  • Heavy on Legalese

 

Countable

Editors Note: Since this article posted I have noticed a disturbing trend in the news pieces this app chooses to share. Namely that they share click-bait titles designed to cater to the perceptions of Liberal users. This does not affect my opinion of the apps ability for people to share opinions on public policy or to contact their representatives, however it does call into question again the impartiality of the writers of the app. I would encourage the writers of the app to steer away from this behavior and question the way they word things.

Countable” is an app I recently found out about. It is an app designed to simplify politics. They try to make the issues understandable and simplify connecting people to their representatives. Now initially upon reading reviews about the app, I had some major concerns. It was encouraging when I actually got a response after reaching out to the PR department for countable. I brought up some of my bigger concerns and here are the responses from the CEO of Countable, Bart Meyers:

Q: My first question is about Bias. Many reviews claim that your app is biased. Out of the complaints to this effect which I read over, 4 of them claimed there was a left wing Bias. One did claim a pro-Trump bias but in light of the other reviews and recent behavior from former Hillary supporters I dismissed that as an ignorant reaction to hearing an opposing opinion. And one of the reviews with claims of left wing bias admitted he might have been reacting to other commenters. But yet another review claims the list of political organizations you connect people with has very few conservative groups listed. Of course Bias is a serious accusation, so how would you respond to this claims and how do you ensure the information on your application remains unbiased? What efforts do you make to market this app to people on all levels of the political spectrum?
A: Other than reviews, on our facebook page, and on Twitter, we get people saying we’re too left leaning, and then those who say we’re a right-wing trap.  It’s actually pretty even.  It just depends on what bills or articles people might be looking at.  For instance, it is pretty easy for someone fairly liberal to look at a bill that would kill the EPA, and think we’re too far to the right, because we don’t write up the bill in a way that gives all the points opposed that they want to see.  We actually have writers that check each other, and have various personal political views, to ensure that we’re avoiding bias.  But, naturally, if anyone feels like something is biased, we want to hear from them on what, specifically, they felt was too far right or left.  If they have a good point, we’ll change the writeup, absolutely.
Q: My second question has to do with bugs in the app. There seems to be persistent complaints of the application not keeping people logged in. There are basic complaints that the app makes it complicated to earmark information or articles. So my next question is how often do your developers read over reviews to figure out what needs to be fixed?
A: We want to give our users the best experience possible. We watch our reviews in real time. Any time a negative review is written, it’s felt by the team. We haven’t met our commitment to our users recently with the surge of new use. We now have those issues in hand and are eager to get more feedback.  We’re continually rolling out new features and fixes with a new version of our iOS and Android apps in the works.
Q: My third Question is about information security and hacking. One review claims that you mine peoples personal information. He also claims that a email he sent to a congressman in your app was rewritten to fit a liberal point on view. Now to be very honest these are wild claims, but in a time when cyber security is in the headlines how do you respond to these accusations? What efforts do you take to secure the information of your users?
A: We take our users privacy very seriously. We do not mine or sell users information.  At sign up, users can enter where they live, so we can match them up with their Representative or Senator.    Messages are sent immediately and automatically after you write them or vote on a bill.   Our lawmakers use legacy software tools to sort the emails that come through. It’s possible that the lawmakers software could mis-classify a message. For this reason, we encourage our users to send a video message in addition that carries the full weight of their message.
Q: My last question goes back to the matter of Bias. One review accuses you of bias because of ties to NPR. Now I did check your website and while there is a former NPR reporter working there, I can see no solid affiliation to NPR. I am concerned though because your staff lacks diversity. All of your staff listed are affiliated with the Democratic Party or with left leaning media outlets. There are no Republicans or Libertarians. Is there any way you can explain to me why there are no conservative leaning members of your team? Has any effort been made to reach out to or hire somone with conservative views?
A: Our team includes people from both sides of the aisle who believe in our mission that everyone should have a voice and be able to “get the facts”. In fact, our best “defense” against bias is that anyone can use Countable to have a voice and express their opinion. If you think we’ve got it wrong, correct us in a comment or opinion. You have the power.
Our team includes, or has included, many notable conservatives including Ed Feulner, the founder of the Heritage Foundation, Marc Shot, Trump’s Legislative Affairs Coordinator, Jon Runyan, the former Eagle and Congressman.
We don’t have any ties to NPR. We are, however, thrilled to bring aboard Andrea Seabrook, as our managing editor.  Andrea is an award-winning reporter in DC, who has a real talent for making information and bills a lot more accessible to non-wonks.  We actually do have libertarian-leaning conservatives working for us, including our chief writer, Eric Revell.

Now I didn’t like the answers to all these questions personally (Like Andrea Seabrook. Ugh), but it is encouraging to see a company willing to reach out to people. They also cleared up my concerns about bias as well as information security. So with all of that out of the way, I began a week-long evaluation period of the app. I was reasonably pleased with what I found as well.

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Countable provides a news feed with current events happening in the capital.

The first thing I noticed about countable is that it seems to rely more on news based presentation of legislative issues rather than just raw information and events. When you first open the app you get a news feed which shows you current issues.

In these news stories, it allows you to read opinions for and against a piece of legislation and then make a vote on whether you are for or against this issue which shows up on your profile. You can also publically comment on issues sort of like social media.

The app enables you to follow key political figures as well as the issues that concern you. It also provides you with ways to connect to non-profits that advocate for causes you believe in. Some of them I recognized, for example, I had an ex who worked at No Labels.

Now when you first sign up for the app it asks you for your zip code and then instantly adds your congressional representatives to your follow list. (whether you want to follow them or not) Countable provides you with a more diverse set of options for contacting your congressmen including email, fax, phone, and the app allows you to send a video message to your congressmen. It doesn’t tell you what committees they serve on.

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An example I caught of BOT posting

Now there are some downsides. For me it is the lack of detailed information, however, most would find that to be a Pro. Another goes back to one of my initial concerns of bias in a way. One review complained that most of the comments were from biased liberals and that he believed that was the general makeup of the app. Well, that apparently could be attributed to BOTs, programs that run automated tasks. In this case, it looks like someone programmed a BOT to repeatedly post inaccurate remarks disparaging the new health care bill. Obviously, this is not something Countable can really totally prevent. They were however extremely grateful that I brought this to their attention which is another great thing about the app.

Here are my Pros and Cons for Countable:

Pros:

  • Lush layout
  • Simple and easy to understand information
  • Provides a number of ways to contact your representatives in congress
  • Very responsive technical support
  • Highly interactive and allows you to share opinions

 

Cons:

  • Small BOT problem
  • Lack of detailed information on committees
  • Sends e-mail notifications rather than push notifications

 

Summary

So both of these apps have their good qualities and bad ones. Countable is simple to understand and their responsiveness and willingness to answer questions definitely scored them points in my book. I would definitely suggest it for someone who wants to get involved in the political process but isn’t a political or legal expert. I personally prefer Congress for its minimalist layout and its detailed information but its glitches are extremely frustrating. Both of these apps, however, are very enjoyable in their own rights. I recommend trying them both and seeing which suits you better. As for a final determination though, I would say based on the way it simplifies information that Countable is probably the preferred app for most users.

SPECIAL POST: Congrats Verizon, you guys are Saints!!

So every day we hear from liberals that corporations are evil and every day that is bullshit. This is a prime example of why that is bullshit. Cell provider Verizon is giving customers in the hurricane-affected states of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina Unlimited Domestic Calling, Text and Data between the 7th – 11th of October. Their reason is they want their customers to “stay connected when it matters most” and I have to say that is a beautiful sentiment. Kudos Verizon, I am definitely considering them as my next provider after my term with my current provider is up.

This is a classic example of why corporations are your friends rather than enemies. Besides providing us with jobs the better ones provide us hope in the darkest times. Corporations are people too because it is people coming together, and in tough times like this people need to come together. Sadly their only thanks at first will be having to cover the high taxes imposed on them by moronic liberal’s that their customers normally pay but I hope more people switch to Verizon after seeing this example of humanity at its finest. But the important thing though is that we thank Verizon for helping the Families affected by the storm.

Why Android is and always will be better than Apple.

So recently a lot of smug Apple fans have gone to the Internet trying to troll Android users over the Galaxy Note 7 Recall. This is like the skinny retarded guy in school trying to tease Valedictorian Quarterback. The only reason the Note 7 exploded is because Samsung tries to do something Apple doesn’t, make a better product. Seriously though, all Apple ever does is find ways to make their product less compatible with other things to try and force you to buy more of their products. A good example is their recent announcement to eliminate the headphone jack and make you pay for Bluetooth earbuds, but I bet they still haven’t addressed the dismal battery life their phone has always had. And when you compare the 6S Plus to the defect-free S7 Edge there is no comparison, the hardware is simply better.

Even older Android Build models outperform iPhones that were considered new and improved then as you can see in the chart below. The reason this happens is not the fact that the Android OS itself is open source, it is the fact that the Hardware Developer’s who utilize Android software are trying to build new and better phones while Apple focuses on phones that look pretty but force the user to be absolutely dependent on Apple alone.

Android is built to be open. Thus their slogan, be different. Not the same. Its about options and Apple doesn’t provide that. I mean beyond the Hardware Options, you can customize aspects of the software like the keyboard or launcher and do your own Bug Fixes. Android also has the ability to multitask and the ability to have 2 apps running on the same screen. Apple has not even tried to make that possible.

Android also has widgets. These widgets allow you to see relevant information from apps like previews of your email inbox and then access them with a single touch. I find them to be very handy myself, I even have the WordPress Widget on my phone so I can see how many people aren’t reading my blog! But seriously, iOS just added widgets however they are confined to a taskbar whereas the Android Widgets can be assigned to a home screen. It makes accessing critical information on the go a lot easier.

With iPhone you are stuck with the memory it comes with and when your battery finally dies you have to buy an entirely new phone. (God help you when it freezes too since you can’t pull out the battery and Hard Reset.) Most phones running on Android though have expandable memory through a Micro SD slot. Most models also have a removable backing and a removable and replaceable battery. This means my Android phone can and will last longer than any iPhone and I will never be limited to just the 16 GB of internal memory on my phone. Some phones are capable of even expanding up to hundreds of GB effectively making them like a handheld computer.

Android phones are more Durable too. Remember the Bendgate Scandal? Well besides it showing how committed Apple is to lying in order to cover up their messes it also shows you how they care more about how it looks than how durable it is. Apple users can laugh at the plastic housing of my phone all they want, it isn’t going to bend like their stupid iPhone. Along with that Android has features like water resistance, dust resistance, and shatterproof screens built into certain models. Meanwhile, Apple still has screens that shatter like glass when you drop them.

Android uses the far more durable and universal Micro USB. What does Apple use again? It’s that thing called Lightning USB, the thing that breaks easier and ONLY works on Apple devices. That’s to be expected, though Apple is about exclusivity rather than quality. But hey, at least you look hip at Starbuck’s in your skinny jeans with your bent aluminum iPhone that’s gonna die in 15 minutes since the battery sucks and you can’t charge it since your expensive Lightning USB broke like the 4 cords before it. 

When it comes down to it the this is what it boils down to. Android Phones are more functional than iPhones because they are built for adults. Apple iPhones are just built to look pretty and are in no way imaginative or innovative in a relevant way. Apple iPhones cannot match the Android phone in its capability to help users stay productive and dare I say it happy. All of this innovation is possible because the mentality is to build a better experience for the user rather than to trap the user and bleed them dry for profit. 

I’d like to thank crambler.com for the spec information and credit them for a few points I covered in this article that I forgot to consider going in. Click Here to read his article comparing Android to iPhones. It’s pretty good and less snarky than mine. XD