Classic Vocaloid Works: “s/t” by supercell (First Version) / Album Review by Petridisch

Hey again!  Petridisch here again with another review of a classic Vocaloid release. This time we’re gonna check out (more like gloss over though, you’ll see) the debut LP by ryo, working as supercell. This one contains nearly all true classics, including the tacitly agreed Miku anthem “The World is Mine”, “Love is War”, “Heartbreaker”, etc. However (at least on the indie-released version that I have) the production and Vocaloid work leave much to be desired, especially in the wake of a work like cosMo’s “infinity” being released the same year.

“Love is War”, the opening track, is hard to deny as awesome. The song is just awesome. Anthemic, fist-pumping even. One of those stomping near metallic tunes. However, I feel like certainly I’ve heard versions of this song with more advanced production and Vocaloid technique — improvements as opposed to ‘glossing’. Miku is super clear here, as in maybe even dragged and dropped? It’s speculation, but to these ears it’s weird to hear such awesome elements as the instrumentation and the vocal melody be so far apart from each other on the speaks.  “It’s a demo…it’s a demo…”

I do appreciate the lack of pause between that and the following track, “Heartbreaker” (for a more album feel, natch), but the production just keeps me from really getting into this. It’s just super hi-gloss, with lo-fi technique. As a Vocaloid composer myself, I may be slightly hypocritical for a statement as such but really when constructing a tune with the interface it’s all about placement and balance. The ear strains here for me, and it’s hard to even sit back and enjoy it as a recorded song, though I’m loving the simple melody.

Quite unfortunately, the greatest ‘offender’ of this lack of production is, sadly, “The World is Mine”. I don’t have to ‘describe it’.  I know you reading this has heard this song if you’re even on this page. It just has a lack of power and a complete ditching of respect for smoothness that was fortunately improved on later versions. [Aside: wish I hadn’t read a translation of the lyrics. Augh!]

However, I don’t feel that everything this early version has to offer is bad. “くるくるまーくのすごいやつ” is admittedly quite incredible. There’s a very catchy little melody there, and for once on this release some attempted production on the Vocaloid. Nice stereo imaging as well. Upping that track even is “嘘つきのパレード”, a blinding rock number with a really powerful Miku vocal that is yes, out of balance, but maybe it was the right thing to do here? Also, GREAT guitar work that doesn’t sound electronic and THANK YOU for that.

To swiftly conclude, this was indeed a step along the way to a greater vision. I recently heard the rerecorded versions released in 2009 on Sony and while some of the songs are still, to me, lacking as songs, the production factor is amped WAY up and I imagine THAT version is the one that was ‘how Ryo intended it to sound’. So in short, I’d check out this 10-track indie version as a curiosity into early Vocaloid songs and albums, but I’d check the major label rerelease first.

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