Monday, April 28, 2014

Hatsune Miku: Empowering The Musician - Not The Vocalist

Before you ask, yup, this was based on the PV for Luka's double lariat. Drew it myself.
As a follow-up to my other Hatsune Miku blog post, I thought I'd talk a bit more about why I like Miku so much. Aside from her character design, which is definitely a plus for me. I'm a big fan of Miku's music, but I never really realized how much I liked her songs until I started playing Hatsune Miku: Project Diva for the PSP when it was first released. I have to admit that I sucked big time at that game when I first played it. I was so bad at it that I was actually failing the first song, "World Is Mine" on easy. Of course, once I realized that music games are as much about using your ears as they are about using your eyes, I got much better at the game. In fact, I'm at least able to get an excellent on most songs in Extreme in Project Diva f right now and going for normal and hard perfects on 4-star songs (which don't really reflect the actual difficulty level of the song) without combo guards in Project Diva F 2nd. 
I do Miku fanart every now and then

Of course, I'm not here to talk about the development of my rhythm game skills. You see, as I continued to play the first Project Diva game, I began to realize something: I really, really like vocaloid music -- the songs composed for Miku in particular. This was when my obsession with Miku and vocaloids in general really took off.
Just in case you don't believe me when I say so. :)
One reason that I really like vocaloid music is that it actually takes the spotlight away from the singer in particular and empowers the musician, composer, director, artist, and other people behind the production in general.

I don't like all vocaloid music and my favorite songs are mostly from 40mP, DorikoP and Ryo, all big names in the realm of vocaloid music, but I find that this quite different from liking music from a boy band, or Justin Bieber, or some American Idol winner/finalist for example.

I've personally always found one particular practice that popular reality TV singing shows have advocated to be a tad disrespectful to the original composers of these songs; the singer shouldn't be trying to "make the song his/her own," because the original composition never belonged to them in the first place -- unless they made the song themselves.

In contrast, in a vocaloid song, Miku will never use "voice dynamics" or any form of "vocal acrobatics" in order to "make the song her own." There is nothing that goes into a vocaloid song that the original composer didn't intend to be in the song in the first place -- including the voice, which was also sequenced and tuned by the original composer. I just feel that this makes the song more "pure" and germane to the actual intent of the composer than one which is sung with the singer's own "interpretation" of the song, no matter how artsy and "performance-level" the singer might make it seem.

Naturally, I write this from the perspective of a fan and not that of a musician -- which admittedly, I am not by any stretch of the imagination.

With that said, here are some more of my recent favorite Miku songs.

I particularly like the parts where her voice goes up here. The song also has a very anime-like feel to it, which I feel are the kinds of songs that Miku's voice is best suited for.  It kind of reminds me of some of the BGM from Touhou games. A friend said it sounds epic-rockish ala songs from 403 forbidenna and Dragonforce -- which it does. Thanks, kik.

Naturally, I'd choose another 40mP song. This is a new one that's been translated and subtitled by descentsubs on youtube. There's always something kind of sentimental and a bit melancholic about 40mP's songs -- even something as seemingly light-hearted as this one. This style just sits well with me. 

A cute song in its own right, but the real reason that I like this is because of the translated lyrics together with the awesome PV. Sniffle... my friend was good at drawing, ok? Translation and subtitles provided by vgperson on youtube.

Finally, to wrap up this post, a Miku classic, Ai Kotoba. This songs just feels "so Miku" for me. Cute, innocent, perky, but with lyrics that are a bit sentimental and with an aesthetically pleasing tune over-all.

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