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Vocaloids are programs that mimicking singing... Such a lazy explanation. Look it up on wikipedia or the vocaloid wikia!
The Vocaloid Madness
So you've got songs in your head and no singer to sing them, let me introduce the Vocaloid! It all started with Lola and Leon, two English vocaloids produced by Zero-G using Yamaha's synthesizing voice technology, but took off with the Japanese "Hatsune Miku " (translation is something like "First voice of the future") vocaloid in Vocaloid 2, the sequel program.
I look at the latest release "BIG AL" and note that things have come a long way. In the beginning of the program, the voices sound more robotic and less human, but BIG AL sounds almost like he is smiling as he sings. Yes I say "HE" because something Miku and BIG AL share in common is they have an Avatar to portray their "character", an image to go with the voice. Miku is as much a "SHE" as AL is a "HE" in many respects. You get people who treat them like they are real people, who learn the ins and outs of what each character's voice is like in high and low pitch. But most of all their "celebrities", digital virtual voices that people can hear and come to know as much as any singer in real life.
I don't imagine the day that these programs will replace the real singers, because their just for now robotic. The program is still at its infancy even at version 2 stage. But when you look the way people react to them, the excitement of each release you do feel like its a step towards replacing the real singers. There are some folks who react to a song like its a story and some folks who can't understand that their not from an anime, they just have a manga figure on the box. And then because they have no personality they give them one that becomes "standard" for the character. For example, Kaito has become an ice cream lover, but he is a Vocaloid 1 singer who doesn't even have an official "avatar" since the boy on the front was not meant to serve that purpose then, but does now. So now the typical image of Kaito is that of an ice cream addict and when someone wrote a manga for the first 5 Vocaloids, they even slipped his ice cream fan fad into a few pages.
And Prima... Poor Prima has a yandere personality due to illegal torrenting. She was the first English Vocaloid 2 produced and had a nasty code to stop illegal downloads. Long story short, if you downloaded Prima without the activation code and had other vocaloids on your computer, Prima would take not only herself down, but also the others with her thanks to it. This is something she'll always be remember for, hence the yandere personality.
Meanwhile, BIG AL has a reputation of his own since he was late... Being released (I forget by how long)... Being able to download (Big-Al's file was too big lol)... But you must give Power FX some credit, their only a small time studio, but damn they make good vocaloids! Even if "Manly" ends up sounding "child-like" by the time a few Japanese have had their fun with him, but blessed Power FX they did portray him as a new age Frankenstein's monster at the end of the day. Lol. ;-)
Yeah, back to the songs. You can look them up on Youtube anywhere, you can get figurines of Miku and a few others. And with rumours of Vocaloid 3 on the horizon it does make you wonder where things are heading. The whole point of the vocaloids is ANYONE can find a voice for any kind of song. So long as you have half a poetic nonsense in your head and half a good mind on the kind of voice you want, as well as some mixing skills, you can be a song writer. Thats the whole point of the Vocaloid madness. Kids forking out many £££s and $$$s for a program that they hope will get them some credit of their own. But the thing is, after you've heard all 19 of them singing "Magnet" you soon begin to wonder if there IS any creativity out there.
And some of the fans are terrible...
... Their not the WORST fans (hats off to "Naruto") but their certainly some of the least informed. I only got into the vocaloidized songs just before X-mas and I still seem to have come out knowing more then some of the fans following for months. There are many of them who are just watching them for the artwork and the cool avatar design... Or their popularity. Or whatever they are following them for. Saying that, I myself am just waiting for a release thats good for Heavy Metal and Rock. I guess I'm no better then the many out there because of that. Then again, its one thing to be listening to songs as examples so you get get an idea on what voice is good for what and to be like the aforementioned fans who just want something to ogle over. :-/
Though looking at today's "talent" in the music world, all my favorite songs were 80s releases, makes me wonder if since I'm taking a liking to these fake singers if replacing the "crap" out today isn't such a bad thing. There is some good singers and bands out there, but the real successes have been and gone and right now their are few and far between on hope for some sort of "big" hitter. The music industry certainly has felt the pinch of the internet. At least with the vocaloids, theres no loved loss, you know when you buy a cover album produced by someone that its fake to begin with, and that you're buying a fake singer's work. They don't feel the pinch themselves (okay maybe the song writer does) of illegal downloads and criticism thrown at them. Nor do they get themselves into drug use and scandals... So lets give them half a credit, their not the greatest way to go with music but they are a nice alternative.
Speaking of songs and all... The last few One Piece songs have felt a little below par... The beats have become dull and I seem to have been the only one who hated the remix of "We Are". But I like catchy songs that make you feel alive, perhaps because as of late I've been stuck in depression lock thats made me constantly ill.
Oh wells, at least there's 40 years worth of New Michael Jackson albums to endure in the meantime (if they release 1 a year), did that guy sleep in the studio when he was alive? :-/