It’s been 10 years since Hatsune Miku was released by Crypton Future Media. The Saki Fujita voiced Vocaloid has become a global phenomenon. Hatsune Miku’s cyan pigtails and seifuku inspired garb are recognisable the world over as a symbol of the future of where pop music can go.
To help celebrate this milestone, What’s a Geek has a come up with a list of Hatsune Miku songs. Some of these range from silly memes to more serious, showing the diverse range of Miku herself.
1. Ievan Polkka
This is arguably one of the most famous Hatsune Miku songs. Ievan Polkka originally gained notoriety around 2006 as part of the famous Leekspin animation. Then in came the Miku cover and history was made. It’s the reason why leeks are Miku’s image object.
2. Black Rock Shooter
Who knew that an illustration could spawn so much? ryo, the man behind the band supercell, was inspired by a very distinct image by illustrator huke. ryo consequently felt compelled to compose the song Black Rock Shooter. The accompanying illustrated music video ended up spawning an anime series, a manga series and figures. While the character Black Rock Shooter and Miku were visually very similar, it was only a passing similarity. The characters were distinct, to the point that some Vocaloid creator portals won’t accept Black Rock Shooter fancreated works.
3. FREELY TOMORROW
The common complaint against Vocaloid was that Hatsune Miku and the others were merely tools at the producers’ disposal. To get a Vocaloid sounding smooth and realistic required a lot more work than most were willing to put in. Hence, she sounded very robotic in a lot of songs. This was my complaint that I held against Miku for years. But, the song that changed all of that was Mitchie M’s FREELY TOMORROW. Miku sounded less robotic and more realistic, with different stresses and note lengths like she was a human singer. This performance from the 2013 Magical Mirai concert in Yokohama Arena, featured a holographic Hatsune Miku twirling around stage while a live band plays. This was, in my opinion, a look into the future of where technology can bring music.
4. Pink or Black
Produced by livetune, Pink or Black is here to represent the extent of Miku’s commercial potential. Apart from being a sparkling electropop tune guaranteed to get toes tapping, Pink or Black is the theme of the anime short Six Hearts Princess by noted artist Takashi Murakami. The superflat artist combines traditional and more avant garde styles of illustration in the short, which was released as a tie in with makeup company Shu Uemura for their Six Hearts Princess collection. Plus, Miku’s English sounds fairly understandable here!
5. ACUTE (featuring Megurine Luka, KAITO)
The relative success of Miku has meant two things. First, there would be others after her. Second, and more importantly, all those Vocaloids who preceded her would receive attention too. KAITO is from the generation before Miku and Luka was one of the Vocaloids that came after here. In ACUTE, we see how all three Vocaloids are characteristically distinct from one another. The other great point about ACUTE is that there is a strong tradition of story telling within the Vocaloid community. The lyrics have a strong narrative element which spans multiple songs. In this case, producer Kurousa-P has followed with the song ReACT which tells the second half of this story. The song features Hatsune Miku, with the Vocaloid twins Kagamine Rin and Ren. That song has some motifs taken from ACUTE.
6. World is Mine
This is the second supercell song on this list, for a good reason. The digital based nature of Vocaloid has meant that Japanese video site niconico plays a pivotal role in how creators distribute content. There is a Vocaloid Legend category for songs that have reached 1,000,000+ views, which is no easy feat. Thus, it is fitting to have World Is Mine as a representative of this legendary status. It has been argued that World is Mine is the most popular Vocaloid song in the world, being the first song to reach a million views on niconico. The song about a spoiled and fickle princess is largely seen as Miku’s character song and solidified supercell as one of the top Vocaloid producers.
7. Rolling Girl
I feel that it is necessary to state that Hatsune Miku and other Vocaloids have actually been on the top of the Japanese Oricon charts. EXIT TUNES, a label specialising in electronic music has released a number of Vocaloid compilations that have reached the No. 1 spot in Japan in terms of sales. Rolling Girl is one of the notable songs featured on the album EXIT TUNES Presents Vocalogenesis, the first ever album to do so. Produced by wowakaP, the song veers towards a more traditional pop rock composition featuring energetic guitars and drums to contrast with Miku’s more electronically generated voice. The juxtaposition is the reason why the song was propelled to notoriety online in the first place.
8. Glass Wall
Not many people can claim to have been an opening act for Lady Gaga, arguably the biggest pop star of this generation. The heartfelt tune by GuitarHeroPianoZero draws from dubstep and house music with bright pianos and heavy drops as Miku sings melancholically about her digital existence, trying to communicate her feelings. Fans of Gaga worldwide would have had their first experience of Miku on the Artball tour with this song.
10. Matryoshka (feat. GUMI)
Matryoshka, a nonsensical song by Hachi, rounds off this list. It’s a frantic rock song which features fellow Vocaloid GUMI. The distinctive style of the official music video goes to show that there is a Hatsune Miku for everyone. Even if you get her singing relative nonsense, she’ll still turn out a hit at the hands of the right producer.
We hope you enjoyed walking down memory lane or found some new bits to listen to! Featured image is “未来へ” by よいし.