Happy birthday, Hatsune Miku!!! Eight years has gone by since our Virtual Diva was released, despite the fact that she will forever stay 16 years old. Hello peeps, this will be my second album review. It’s Miku’s birthday and I wanted to do something special. I’ve been preparing for quite some time, so I hope you can find this somewhat worthwhile to read. Now, without further ado, let’s enjoy the ride.
There are several reasons why I picked this album to review. First and foremost, I like this album, so I review it. Ya got problem with that, punk? No? Good. Second, I’ve checked VocaDB’s song rating ranks for marasy and I found out that actually his songs aren’t that popular since he ranked around 130 mark. True, he IS popular in certain genres and audiences, but overall, I believe he deserves more. In my opinion, he is an amazing composer so I think people need to know more about his music. I’m sure there are a number of people who don’t know about his songs and I hope via this review, many will find his songs enjoyable. Third, the album title is so fitting for this Miku birthday occasion. I’ll explain the reason for that a little later.
Out of many vocaloid producers out there, two of them are outstanding vocaloid producers with instrumental covers that I know of. And they are; osamuraisan on guitar and marasy on piano. This particular album is an one unusual from marasy, the piano prodigy. Released on August 28th 2013, Kuusou Memorize is his first major album with vocaloid singing alongside the instruments. Unlike his previous albums where he covered other producers’ songs, he composed the songs in this one. And how good is it? We shall find out soon enough.
What do you expect from a pianist? His songs are so…. (pardon the lack of better word) piano-y. They’re full of intricate and advanced playing, not to mention his avant-garde style. The first time I listened to this album, my impression was… unpredictable. Maybe because of the technique, virtuosity, and whatnot, but the songs are so captivating, compelling and completely siren my ears. I’ll try to describe the atmosphere that I feel when I listen to the songs.
I believed Amatsukitsune (#9) is the most “mainstream” rock style marasy can go. Unfortunately, or should I say fortunately, I was proven wrong. I was fascinated by its interesting bass line, showcasing the magnificence neck and neck with the piano, one of marasy’s strong forte. Not only that, the guitar also fuels the blast along with the powerful beat of drums. All in all, it’s quite a unique and rich piece, almost like the song is tangible, almost.
Harugasumi (#5) sounds so soft and has a good flow to it. Of course with the piano in the spotlight. When the song starts playing it feels like a lingering feeling after the rain, you’re standing at the front of your house and you need to go somewhere. The smell after rain, the air is still crisp and cold and there are puddles of water mottled everywhere. The atmosphere is pleasant, calm and you want to indulge in that feeling. But in the end, you still need to go out, so with reluctance, you step and walk out picking careful steps around the puddles of water.
I’m really head over heels with blackbox (#16) MV animation. It also portrays the lyrics about piano as a black box to drown yourself, away from whatever pain and sadness you’ve experienced. To tell you the truth, when I first listened to it (I didn’t watch the MV first), my image of it was a tad different. I was imagining a robot made of junk and scrap metal in a post-apocalypse world. The junk robot kept wandering, searching and searching for anyone or another robot to no avail. At around 2:03 of the song, what was that creepy laugh? Sometimes there were flashes of scenes which appeared from the robot’s memory. But even those flashes of scenes were not shown completely, as if the memory is broken. Okay, “a tad different” is an understatement. But still, the junk robot and piano are made of metal, a bit similar, right? Right? Oh wait, I mean the piano strings. Okay, I’ll stop defending myself.
Okay, I think that’s enough of summoning mental images. Moving on, Marasy’s love towards piano can be seen everywhere. Isn’t pianissimo (#11) a blatant giveaway? Colorful88 (#4), that 88 is obviously 88 keys, which also appears in blackbox (#16). The song lyrics are mainly about love. There are a few songs which lyrics that are joint efforts with other producers such as Colorful88 (#4) with beat mario, Tsukigeshiki (#7) with minato and Pianissimo (#11) with clear.
I’ve always admired you, senpai. I want to be noticed by senpai, I wonder if it can reach you. So to convey my feelings, I’ll sing and dance to this Colorful88 (#4) melody.
Cat’s dance (#3) is indeed a cute title, but it always leaves me feeling uneasy, especially when I watch the MV. Is that because of the lyrics, the video or both? Or maybe the helpless little kitten with a chain around her neck? I’m not really sure.
Kuusou Shoujo he no Koitegami (#14). This is the third reason I mentioned before. It’s a song about a love letter to an imaginary girl. The main character had a boring life, until he met a virtual girl and fell in love with her. It was devastating for him because even though she’s so close, only a monitor screen away, she’s so distant and nonexistent. Undeniably, Hatsune Miku is also a virtual idol. I don’t know how many people love Miku just like the way the main character in this song did. Some may see Miku as a singer who will obediently sing whatever song we give her, some may see her as only an icon, some worship her like a goddess, and some even treat her like a wife. With all the differences in perception about Miku, she will always be the one who unites all vocaloid fans. Of course other vocaloids, utauloids, etc are included as well.
Love is a wonderful thing. Harugasumi (#5). Daidai kousaten (#12). Yume, tokidoki (#17) speak mostly about love. Even though most of them are about bitter-sweet love between lovers, Kogitsune no Ran (#2) is about a lost little fox which was left by its mother. Now that I pay more attention, there are a few songs that are somehow related to foxes and sung by Rin, for example Amaterase (#8) and Amatsukitsune (#9). Is that a pure coincidence? Only Goth and marasy know.
I’ve compiled a few songs with their translation from this album into a Youtube playlist. If you feel like it, you may check them out later.
In this album, marasy uses Miku and Rin. Rin’s voice sounds crisp and blends well with the songs. The songs sung by Rin have a similar vibe and by using Kagamine Rin Append (Power), her voice is able to draw the songs’ color. Miku voicebank used in this album is more varied. Overall, her voice has a hint of whisper and a bit high. On blackbox (#16), her vocals sounds muffled and a bit hoarse, this is probably to emphasize the effect of being inside the so called black box. Miku’s voice sounds a bit breathy at times but still enjoyable and complements the music.
If you’re looking for something adventurous, unpredictable, yet elegant and classy, Kuusou Memorize is a must to pick up. A breakthrough album from marasy, with his stunning composition and arrangement. Even though the tuning is not flashy enough to draw gasps, the heartfelt music and top-notch arrangement make up for that. Of course with extraordinarily enthralling piano. The instrumental tracks also provide enjoyable intermezzo. I was barely aware that I already listened the whole album until it repeated again from the start.
So, adopting Yuki Doke’s MikuDB rating system, this album receives *drum roll* 4 mikus out of 5!
Okay, that’s all for my love lett review. Thank you for sticking with me until the end.
This is the youtube playlist I mentioned earlier.
This is unrelated to the album I’m reviewing, but I find Uta ni Katachi ha Nai Keredo (even though my song has no form), a song from doriko, also suitable for Miku Birthday occasion. Miku – a virtual singer, nonexistent in flesh – and a song, which has no form. Very fitting, huh? This song is also covered by marasy on piano, included in his album V.I.P -marasy plays vocaloid instrumental on piano-
And below is a little something. Obviously, not as awesome as the one marasy plays.
I can’t thank withered-flowers enough for bearing with my pestering and assisting me with this whole… thing. Especially with the lyric translation.
Also many thanks to @WoobiE for beta-ing my review.
Okay, that’s all. Once again, Happy Birthday, Miku <3