Music, Technology, and Hatsune Miku

Music, Technology, and Hatsune Miku

Sienna Kemp, Journalist

Now that it’s had time to settle in, let’s rave about the new version of ‘Why Do I?’ by Set It Off introducing the popular Vocaloid, with Hatsune Miku, as a feature. Hatsune Miku has been featured on HUNDREDS of songs (actually look it up, it’s crazy) but this song sticks out because of the unlikely mix of Hatsune Miku, a voice synthesizer, and Set it Off, an alternative/rock band. Of course, fans love the song, both the version with and without Miku on the track, but most ignore how great of an advancement it actually is for both technology and music.

Set it Off is an alternative band that formed in 2008, however they were not popular until the mid 2010’s with their albums Cinematics and Duality. Namely, their songs ‘Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’, ‘Why Worry’ and ‘Partners in Crime’ (of which got me into the band). The boom of Nightcore, a style in which people edit songs by speeding them up and increasing the pitch , lended itself to the popularity of many bands in that era. Since then, they’ve been releasing songs and albums. 

‘Why Do I?’ was originally revealed as a part of the album ‘Elsewhere’ that was released earlier this year. The song follows a more pop-like beat as its lyrics tell the story of someone who continues to have feelings for their ex that has since moved on after they broke up. The version with Hatsune Miku is fairly recent with it being released on October 21st, 7 months after the original album. The song itself doesn’t change that much besides the wonderfully added vocals from Miku and a bit of an edge that I can only describe as “more drums and lower pitch”. Miku was pitched by Circus-P, a Vocaloid producer, who found a way to make Miku sound human despite her voice being entirely computed. All these details led to the song becoming popular on tiktok, giving the band even more popularity.

The implications the song has adds a lot of new perspectives and ideas on what can be done in the music industry. Hatsune Miku herself is a technological wonder with how popular and accessible she is. ‘Hatsune Miku’ is a voice synthesizer that can be used by anyone to say anything in any pitch in 6 languages. Miku in the songs sounds incredibly ‘human’ and meshes well in the parts that are sung in harmony with the band. This acts as solid proof that technology is getting closer and closer to being able to replicate raw human range and voices. Miku has already popularized digital concerts and new songs recorded by her and other Vocaloids are released by different producers everyday. Virtual concerts themselves are already amazing with their increased accessibility and lessening the risks of real concerts like injuries and theft. I see this as a new way to integrate technology and human voices to create an entirely new genre that will shock the world with ingenuity and uniqueness.