Vocaloids are More Than just “Cute” – Analyzing the Lyrics of Vocaloid Songs
Any veteran fans of Vocaloid should know about this – Vocaloids are more than just being cute. I’m not sure if the mindset of non-fans is of the contrary, but this post, is one of the many posts,
at least, let’s hope I can expand it THAT much, where I intend to show that Vocaloids are more than just simply having cute or pretty designs.
One of the very element that shows the “vastness” of Vocaloid is the very lyrics of the songs. If you take the time to study the lyrics, you will notice that a lot of the songs talk about surprisingly pretty grim subjects like murder, twisted love, suicide, sex, drugs and I could go on. If you watched/listened or is aware of the songs from Kagerou Project, they used the same idea that most Vocaloid songs in general utilized-creating a story through lyrics, yet making it slightly vague for interpretation. Most Vocaloid songs tell a different story each, and obviously, different story matches with different types of songs.
We will have a look at the lyrics of some of the more popular songs from Vocaloids; it will be a good introduction as far as lyrics analyzing and interpreting goes, and I’m limited to just the popular songs myself too anyway, since being a Project Diva player, I’m mostly more familiar with songs within the games, and haven’t hear nor check out the lyrics much for songs outside of the Project Diva series.
Note: Since this post is about analyzing lyrics, in addition to the video link, I will also link it’s lyrics. I recommend you to at least glimpse through the lyrics to the songs since I will be referencing them a lot.
I will start this post with one of the most maddest songs in Project Diva. After hearing a bit more songs outside of Project Diva, I’m well aware that there are even more crazier songs out there. However, Sadistic Music Factory is definitely one of the very first songs which expanded my “horizon” on Vocaloid and taught me that Vocaloids are more than just cute. When I read the lyrics, I jokingly thought ‘No wonder there are so many Miku songs out there’.
This song in general, interprets Miku as being tyrannical, greedy, manipulative and even cannibalistic; except that Miku “eats” the songs you give her. Yes, “eat”. One of the most interesting thing about this song is that the Vocaloid is given a personality, and a perspective – allowing her to feel what it is like to have thousand of people giving her “food” (aka music). Miku, with her devilishly cute facade, is able to “rob” thousands and thousands of people into producing “food” for her, and anyone who dares escape from her music factory, she will torment and recapture him, just like the lyrics say “No matter where, I’ll always chase after you, catch up to you, torment you, and capture you.”
At this point, I’m interpreting the song in a negative light. I think the song is trying to tell that Miku, being one of the most popular Vocaloid and also, admittedly, with her devilishly cute looks, has the ability to “manipulate” fans into mass-produce songs for her. These fans are very delighted to find a “vocal” for them, and being a virtual idol, she’s just more easier to work with than a real human singer. However, at some point, they got addicted into Vocaloid song producing, “shackled by Miku”, as the lyrics put it. At some point, there are just so many songs for Miku it’s getting more and more difficult to produce a good quality song that would be consider a masterpiece, and likewise, Miku “couldn’t satisfy her hunger”, and the songwriters are being forced into further labor. They are stuck between trying to enjoy making music, or making a quality music (possibly to make a name for him/herself, admittedly, quite a few Vocaloid producers managed the feat). And Miku’s “charm” just somehow kept attracting the songwriters back into producing music regardless.
I would like to point out that I, of cause, do not see Vocaloid in such a negative way, just that I could only interpret the lyrics as such. It was definitely still an interesting way to see it, but what’s more interesting is the last segment of the song.
“I’ll never be able to completely wipe off my fear of having to return to nil.
Although I’m supposed to be immortal, death has at last caught up with me.
I’m becoming hysterical just imagining how I’ll be left behind in the past
where every sound will have stopped. Caught in my thoughts, I’m creaking and aching.
I’ll gulp down this transient story and chew it thoroughly into little pieces.
My heart, made up of music pieces and stories covered in patches and stitches, is filled with rage.
As I regurgitate and spew out huge amounts of ignorant grumblings,
the empty impulse of my perpetually egoless self transforms into “hunger”.
“I definitely won’t let you escape.”
This part of the song seems to tell a possible future where Miku’s fame had probably outlasted, if the “return to nil” and “death has at last caught up with me” is any indication. The later segment however, show that the songwriters are still producing songs for her, or more like “forced to”, to feed Miku’s endless hunger for music. In summary, I’m thinking along the lines of Miku’s fame almost outlasted, yet, still barely “surviving” with thousands of lackluster songs. We definitely had not come across such a future yet, of cause, but this certainly let me think a bit about such a possibility.
Note: I posted two videos here. The first video is the original PV with a better focus on the story and drama, while the second one is the Project Diva version.
So it seems we had already broke the fourth wall on the first song. Let’s talk about ACUTE this time, and with it’s respective story.
When I first came across ACUTE on Project Diva, I like the song; the backdrop of the catchy song-the jazzy piano and somber guitar chord progression make for a refreshing combination, and also a mature sound. I definitely like the dance choreography too; however, after seeing and comprehending the lyrics to a degree, my appreciation for the dance routine reached another level, if you try to relate the game’s video to the lyrics, you will notice that the choreography blended accordingly to the context of the song-it’s brilliant.
What’s the song about then? In short, it depicts a love triangle relationship between Kaito, Miku and Luka, which turned immensely ugly in the end. In here, Kaito, is depicted like your typical harem protagonist, with the first line he sang in the song the biggest clue “I thought things were fine the way they were”. In this case, the story itself was already told in wiki, but to summarize (and to be very blunt), basically Kaito was two-timing with Miku and Luka, and to make matters worse, all three of them are childhood friends. On one side, Miku was afraid to verify Kaito’s relationship with Luka in fear of damaging their relationship. The suspense developed stronger as the hidden truth went on and on, until Miku found out what’s going on in a phone call with Luka whose in the midst of an encounter with Kaito (I think there are some interpretations that they were having sex here, but I’m not completely sure. Or perhaps they are just making out). Feeling betrayed, Miku brought a knife, went to Luka’s place, and literally stabbed him. She then stabbed herself in the neck, probably a desperate way to “be with him forever”.
I could make a post detailing about how the dance choreography relates to the context here, but I think it’s going to take another whole post to do so, so I’ll just end this for now. As a side note, there’s another song which acts as a sequel to ACUTE, titled ReACT, which was also interesting which gave the story a better closure. Additionally, in Project Diva, Kaito’s costume in ACUTE is called “Guilty”, while Miku’s “Innocent” and Luka’s “Amour” (which means love in French if I’m not mistaken), and when you try to relate those to the story here, once again, it’s just brilliant.
Magnet is one of the more popular songs by minato which talks about homosexuality and love between two girls. It is one of the song which, I assume, propelled the fame of Miku X Luka, although the song itself has a number of alternative covers-mainly used for shipping purposes, especially for other Vocaloid pairings.
The song depicts how Miku and Luka discover their hidden lesbian: “A feeble fire is lit at the edge of my heart”, and their love for each other. It is a love emerges from pure passion. The love comes off as a little wrong, naughty, and toxic; but nothing can stop their overflowing passion. The use of an oriental music and video is interesting-it is definitely pretty, but at the same time, it also highlights the fragility of their relationship, how it can be easily crushed by the prejudice of society-just like how pretty flowers can still be stepped and trampled on. This part of the song, predominantly reinforces the fragility:
“As dawn breaks, I become uneasy,
and end up crying in tears.
You whispered “It’s okay” to me,
but were you also crying?”
This seems to show that just like how society is generally uncertain of homosexual relationships, the main girls in question themselves feel uncertainty as well, and gaining no moral support at all from anyone does not help matters. Interestingly, even they themselves acknowledges this love as a “sin”, as evidenced by lines like “what we’re doing might be unforgivable” or “Please make me believe that this is not a sin” or even “With a heart that has gone astray”. They are stuck between engaging their passionate love for each other, or to control themselves in due part to the prejudice against them. However, in the end, the hedonism won over, and they decided to pursue love still regardless, as shown in the last lines:
“Draw me closer, as if we are two magnets,
that even if we separate, we will reunite again.
Let’s become one; it’s okay not to be able to turn back.
That’s fine, for you’re my one and only love.”
Hopefully, my post had more than enough shown that Miku, and the other Vocaloids, are so much more than just having cute and pretty designs. I originally planned to do five songs, but seeing how the post is already so long, I will stop at just three. If any of you have any other interpretations for the songs listed here, or even any other Vocaloid songs, feel free to have at it! One of the best thing about Vocaloid is that it is such an “open” product; the character’s personality and music are interpreted by the producer and even then, the viewers or listeners are free to input their own interpretations into it as well-it is such a fan-based product.