Once in a Lifetime – Album Review by TheImmortalHottentot

Hello MikuDB! I’m a new writer here, and for my first post I’ll be reviewing 一期一会 (translated roughly as Once in a Lifetime), which came out in February of this year. This is Gynoid’s second album featuring their Vocaloid, flower. Flower’s voice bank is designed to fit rock and metal vocal styles, and, considering I got into Vocaloid by listening to metal and rock producers, flower is one of my favorite Vocaloids. That said, I have been very excited to finally listen to this album. In this review, I’ve focused a lot on flower and how she is used in each song because she is the common theme on the album. Also, most of the producers are on the record because they are already decent songwriters, so I don’t focus heavily on instrumentation.
One thing to note before I begin is that, although V4 flower is on the cover, V4 is only used in one song on the album (according to VocaDB). I expected this to be V4’s version of flower’s original debut album, and while this is disappointing, it doesn’t really have an effect on how good or bad I think the songs are.

Track Reviews:

The album begins with “vividest” by ANDRIVEBOiz, a fast, dynamic rock song with a few slightly heavier guitar parts. I think it’s a good song and, while not exceptional on its own, it works well as an intro to the album: it serves as an example of the general kind of music that flower is made for and is somewhat of an average between the sounds of the other songs on the album (excluding some outliers).

The next two songs display flower’s abilities in the hard rock and metal genres. Track 2 is “生きてるおばけは生きている” or “Living ghost is alive” by UtsuP, one of my favorite producers. Utsu does an excellent job of blending the comparatively lighter chorus with the heavy, almost djenty main riff and harsh breakdown. While the clean vocal tuning is good, the harsh vocals suffer a bit. They sound somewhat hollow, almost like a whispered scream. I’ve noticed that this is a common trend in a lot of Vocaloid metal and rock. I have learned to like it, but I still think a lot of songs could benefit from a fuller-sounding growl. Nonetheless, this is one of my favorites on the album and a must for Vocaloid metal lovers.

Track 3 is “Nirvana” by DevilishP, another big name in Vocaloid hard rock. The song is distinctively DevilishP’s style, evident from the main riff and chorus. I especially like the tuning in the chorus, and how flower effortlessly goes between the powerful highs and lows. If you’re a fan of DevilishP, you’ll certainly enjoy this one.

Next is “frost” by k_dash, a song which suddenly deviates from the rock theme with a soft electronic sound. Flower’s voice in this track is drastically different, and I could hardly recognize it as her. I assume the producer used some other effects to alter the voice, but I believe it was for the best. I think the voice is not the emphasis in this song, so it’s important for the voice to blend with the tone and style of the music. Flower’s sound typically would not fit with this style, but the vocal editing created a nice and smooth electronic track.

Track 5 is “CRY AWAY” by LiveP, using V4 flower. Considering my desire to hear more V4, it is unfortunate that this is my least favorite track on the album. I wouldn’t say that it’s a very bad song, but it’s certainly not my style. I don’t think that flower fits into this song’s wit happy tone, as well as she does the others on the album. I also think the tuning sounds a bit shaky at times. Overall, it was a pretty forgettable song for me.

The next track is “ヒトサマアレルギー” or “People Allergy” by Kairiki bear. Another one of my favorites on the album, I think it is a much better display of flower in a light rock song. Kairiki bear has some great guitar work here with an interesting main riff and good tuning with a catchy chorus. Despite the sad theme of the song, I always find myself getting into the groove of this track.

Track 7 is “ハナレバナシ” by Toa, a piano-driven song featuring more deviant tuning for flower. Unlike in “frost”, however, I can still hear that it is flower’s voice. I was expecting not to like this song when I first heard the style, thinking that flower wouldn’t mix well with it, but I was pleasantly surprised at how this particular sound of flower’s voice complemented the tune so well. The song itself is rather simple and pleasant to listen to. I think it shows flower sounding very good out of her main element.

Track 8 is “magic city” by koyori, a light rock song with some electronics thrown in. Overall a nice song with good music and good tuning. I like the use of flower’s higher register and the small electronic effect on her voice in part of the song. A track for easy-listening.

In my opinion, he next two tracks highlight flower’s lighter-sounding vocal abilities. Track 9 is “車窓の彼女へ” or “To the Girl in the Car Window” by Harufuri, and Track 10 is “虹色サイダー” or “Rainbow Cider” by mizki. Both are pleasant light rock songs that utilize a lighter voice and upbeat sound. I group them because I feel like I can describe them the same way. They both have a rather soothing guitar sound (perhaps Track 9 more so), and the tunings may not be perfect, but they fit the style of the songs well.

Track 11 is a cover of JimmyThumbP’s Megurine Luka song “No Logic” by cillia. As usual, cillia’s tuning is great, and she makes flower work very well with this song. The original song is not really a favorite of mine, but I find that I really like this version (perhaps just bias towards flower).

Finally, we have “東京サマーセッション” or “Tokyo Summer Session” by HoneyWorks, Gom, Kaizoku Ou, and Ore BananaP featuring flower and GUMI (two of my favorite Vocaloids!). This track is a self-cover, with the original featuring 鎖那 and CHiCO. I can’t really compare it with the original, so I’ll just say that I like the way GUMI and flower sound together. It’s not a pairing you see often. As for the song itself, the tuning and instrumentation are good, but it doesn’t stand out to me too much.

Album Overall:

I really enjoyed this album. It’s not everyday that I find a compilation that I like most of the songs on, but the quality is pretty consistent on this record. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to flower’s debut, but I believe that I like this one better (I’ll have to go back and compare). I would recommend this album to anyone who likes flower and/or rock of various kinds.

If you want to give it a listen, the songs can all be streamed on YouTube or NND (links can be found on VocaDB). The album can be purchased from iTunes and AmazonJP.

Feel free to share your opinions and recommendations! Thank you for reading!



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