It’s not a joke, IA’s new V3 voicebank is called “IA ROCKS” – made for Rock music, naturally. Although the songs and demos were released a while ago, IA ROCKS -ARIA ON THE PLANETES- officially went on sale on June 27th. Since there were so many official releases on Youtube as IA is popular composer Jin’s titular singer for his new projects, it’s been difficult getting ahold of any English subbed videos to review. Bloody Gravity isn’t my first pick, but it has a cool PV that matches its sound. IA ROCKS has a V3 voice library with all re-recorded vocals, and the improvements were made with the users’ feedback in mind. Is its finalized state all IA fans have hoped for?
It was actually Gumi’s 5th anniversary last week (Happy Birthday Gumi!), and while there were plenty of nice uploads, nothing came up subbed. This week isn’t a total waste since IA ROCKS is a voice library I’ve been trying to review for ages. As a new boxed alternative to the popular 1st Place Co./YAMAHA Vocaloid IA, IA ROCKS contains all new recordings that seek to improve upon the complaints of the old software. For the most part, it addresses clarity issues and stronger vocals, although the tempo range has decreased a little, and the elements of her vocal range and style were left the same.
To be honest, although IA ROCKS introduces a tone meant for rock, it is more of a software that offers additional capabilities rather than a huge change. Although Bloody Gravity is a song that has that light rock feel, IA’s voice is simply stronger than her original, not remarkably different. Of course, this isn’t an ideal song to demonstrate the new side of her – Jin’s first release, Inner Arts, really handled the rock sounding tuning. Looking at her box art, her outfit is unchanged apart from taking off the outer shirt – a clear sign that IA ROCKS is not an overhaul but an update.
Bloody Gravity features an unknown, white-haired female in plain, nondescript school uniform-style clothes. Along with what appears to be a high chain link fence that could be the school roof, we get the sense that she is a somewhat rebellious student. The PV is styled heavily in reds and black contrasts, with the student in her stark white. There are added effects that make it look modern and technologically dependent, which seems to be one of the themes.
The title’s choice of words “Bloody Gravity” seem a little hard to place. The song references blood as “bloody tears” and “red cheeks” that the main character has, but there is no mention of gravity. The lyrics only add to the confusion, pronouncing only that she wants to “live swallowed by anything and everything.” There seems to be various messages within the metaphoric statements, one of which is that the information-overloaded generation causes people to be “self-bystanders”, or passively and lazily stepping back even in living their own lives. Miss Protagonist is torn between wanting to indulge in living and wanting to run from this world.
One of my favorite lines is, “We pretend to be wolves, while actually, we’re sheep with very heavy thoughts inside.” Pretty deep, no? Bloody Gravity is rather confusing in its translation, but the key point is to not blindly follow what you are told. “The good and the hypocrite,” as portrayed by the two personalities of the main character, can be seen as the conscience that views following society’s rules as morally “good” or hypocritical to follow.
Again, the song’s sound attempts to draw out a rock-inspired genre to complement the new IA ROCKS tone. While the song is a typically guitar-and-piano-band heavy Vocaloid hit, the tuning doesn’t make the differences altogether stand out. IA’s voice is strong and clear, which is what the new voice bank aimed to achieve, just not as wholly as impressive a new voice is. Other than that, there isn’t a lot of hugely specific complaints from my side. Apart from being a solid song, it’s not extremely memorable or daring in its experimentation.
Although I personally haven’t heard of Composer ねじ式 (Neji Shiki?) before, he has a decent collection of song releases. From what I understand, he’s still a rather small-time producer. Bloody Gravity achieved a best ranking of 2 the first day of release on Niconico, which isn’t bad at all at 20k views.
It remains to be seen whether his rankings keep up the momentum throughout the week, and whether Bloody Gravity really has what it takes to stand out among all of the stellar new IA ROCKS debuts that will flood the Vocaloid scene (apart from the JinxIA releases, which are always going strong). Due to that, I am a little reserved on this release and my opinion remains at “could be better.” Rather, I look forward to even more usage of IA in the new format!
-Overall, skillful but not imaginative tuning of IA ROCKS.