Welcome to a new Music Highlights post in a long time!

This is the longest pause I've ever taken on this blog ever since starting Music Highlights. I had all my writing energy allocated towards writing my final university project! Thankfully, that phase is over, and now I can resume to regular writing on this blog!

During the pause, there's a lot of songs released that I've taken quite a liking to. My music listening habits is also influenced by Denonbu a lot, and the fact is reflected in this particular Music Highlights, where it's mostly music I took a liking to, thanks to Denonbu.

Now, let's talk about music (in a long time!)

#1: Hiasobi (feat. Hatsune Miku)

Camellia, Electro Swing, and Hatsune Miku! This song is submitted for Project Sekai's NEXT song contest, and clearly, this song is a lot of fun, with stylish swing rhythms and signature Camellia sounds.

Unfortunately, Camellia did not quite win the contest (I think Project Sekai staff were specifically looking for smaller creators), but the result is still really fun to listen to!

#2: Elfridean Stories

This song and album is one of my favorite releases from the M3 Spring 2022 event. During my pause, I took a liking to Elliot Hsu's world-fantasy tracks. My fondness for this particular genre only increased after I got into the Atelier series (btw, Sophie is life). As for the song itself, the title track of the album fits the theme really well (a fantasy cityscape), and the rest of the album also feels great, and some of them really drew my inner Atelier out.

By the way, I ended up buying both Elfridean Stories and their previous release Lost Aria. Physical releases.

#3: 僕らが愚かだなんて誰が言った

Next is a release from DIALOGUE+. The very interesting part about this song is that it is arranged by none other kz (livetune). The song also incorporates more EDM elements than usual, resulting in an anime ending that feels fresher than usual. I am pleasantly surprised that this is an anime ending, even. Cool song.

#4: Azabu Autobahn

Kenmochi Hidefumi, drum'n'bass, and Azabu. Denonbu Part 2 is coming soon, and if IAM and Azabu Autobahn were any indication, things are about to go harder. Previous Kenmochi Hidefumi works are for Tama, and they're jersey club songs. For Azabu, he decided to make drum'n'bass, and I love a good dose of drum'n'bass! The bridge section, especially, goes hard, reminds me of the neurofunk genre, super well done.

#5: Shoujo Rei (Synthion Remix ft. Nini Yuuna)

Remember my previous Music Highlights post? Turns out, I did become a fan of Yuuna, and all it took is a Denonbu cover. I am a simple person, if you do anything Denonbu-related, I'll be looking at you respectfully.

The first Yuuna song on this list, of three (!?) is her cover of Shoujo Rei. This cover is also a remix by Synthion, and I really like that the song have a Jersey Club section, since I have a bit of a soft spot for this genre (thanks, yet again, to Denonbu). Also, that part when Yuuna said "daisuki dayo". That was a direct hit...

On an unrelated note, I now know two characters named Yuuna, and both are cute.

#6: JOLLIE JOLLIE (Prod. KOTONOHOUSE)

KOTONOHOUSE and Kureiji Ollie! This is quite an apt combination, since KOTONOHOUSE makes great songs that make you want to move your body, a.k.a. dance music. My favorite part is actually around the outro, when it goes all in, and I love it. Also, Ollie herself voiced the iconic "Eh, Atashi?!" sample that KOTONOHOUSE is famous for in this song.

It is actually pretty interesting how hololive ID's second generation have been choosing composers who also worked on Denonbu's Shibuya Area. Pavolia Reine has songs by YUC'e, and now Ollie has songs by KOTONOHOUSE.

#7: 天球、彗星は夜を跨いで (Kanzaki Hiro Remix)

Hoshimachi Suisei and trance music. Two of my favorite things that collided with the release of this remix by trance artist and illustrator Kanzaki Hiro. I like that they can draw and compose, and they already have several hololive remixes under their belt. This remix further adds up to the list of trance music I like, and especially VTuber trance remixes.

#8: SOS

This time, let's talk about Hoshimachi Suisei and TAKU INOUE. Their first release together, 3:12 is a pretty huge success, but they now decided to team up as a composer/singer unit, Midnight Grand Orchestra, and SOS is their debut song as part of this unit. As per unit name, I really like TAKU INOUE incorporated both electronic sounds and various string instruments in the song, along with Suisei's impressive vocals.

#9: Fading Sky

This is probably one of my favorite soundtracks out of Arknights. Hypergryph has always been releasing so many good songs, many people joked that they're a music company with a game, but this track, part of Contigency Contract#8 Dawnseeker's soundtrack, is very notable: it was composed by AJURIKA, who has composed for games like Tekken. This song is intense and calm at the same time, which is perfect for an event like Contingency Contract.

#10: Fluffy

So, Yuuna. One cover and one original song, spaced a month apart. This song is released as part of her second anniversary celebrations, and her first original song. This song is a lot more grounded, compared to the stuff I usually listen to, but I shared it here anyways because, Yuuna. Also, the lyrics to this song are so sweet I think I need to get my blood sugar checked. Oh, and I decided to buy her second anniversary merchandise.

#11: Astrogirl

This song is one of my most anticipated ones of June, and there's a reason for that: Snail's House. Oh my, it turned out amazing! Snail's House put some really cool melodies into the song, and Sana's vocals fit the aesthetics so well. The lyrics are also space-themed, which I'm personally a fan of. Sadly, as of the time of writing, she will be graduating soon. Godspeed.

#12: Colorful

Before we talk about this song, let's talk about FUTUREmode. FUTUREmode is a dance music brand launched by avex, focused on genres and artists that are nurtured in Japan. Their starting line-up is pretty powerful, with the debut song being composed by YUC'e.

This song itself is quite interesting because KOTONOHOUSE themselves sang it, and it has a more grounded four-on-the-floor beat, with a bit of their own signature rhythm.

#13: Bang Bang

We have an IDOLY PRIDE song! This song is super interesting because its style is pretty unusual for an IDOLY PRIDE (granted, this is a new unit, and every unit pretty much has a specific direction of music), and because this song is composed by none other than Hayashibe Tomonori. The same composer who is also involved in a SpongeBob soundtrack. What an evolution.

#14: Everything Goes On

A new Porter Robinson song! With an anime-esque MV, you can try to draw a parallel between this song and Shelter, also with an anime-esque MV, but being in the era of Nurture, Everything Goes On is much more personal. The melody is amazing, the lyrics are very personal, and the MV is very interesting, despite being tied to League of Legends, and I don't understand any of those stuff.

Side note: I was very surprised when I saw Hige Driver in the credits section. I'm confused by their appearance for quite some time, but turns out, yes, they're really involved in this song. Very interesting.

#15: Polaris (cover by Nini Yuuna)

Yuuna. You dealt another direct hit to my heart.

So, this is a Polaris cover. Some of Dragalia Lost's soundtracks have always struck a chord with me, and my favorites happen to be the ones composed by TAKU INOUE and sung by Liyuu. Polaris, Singing in the Rain, Across The World, the whole shebang (those are also apparently some of Yuuna's favorite songs too, talk about the magic of TAKU INOUE and Liyuu at work).

Yuuna's vocals fit really well in the cover, considering that I've listened to the original several times over. There are some additional vocals I really dig, that adds to the song overall. The instrumental for this cover is closer to archetypal future bass than the original, but I can't really fault it; it's probably hard to top that sick guitar solo in the original.

#16: Testify

WARNING: Arcaea spoilers ahead. Skip if you don't want to be spoiled of Arcaea's final story chapter

For the final song in this list, it's only appropriate to include a boss song. Testify is the boss song of the Final Verdict pack, the final main story chapter of Arcaea. void being chosen to compose the boss song is a great decision, and story-appropriate at that.

The song itself really illustrates the "fatal" decision that Hikari took. It is unforgivingly hard in the game, with barrages of piano, synths and chants giving in to the highest-rated chart in Arcaea. This song also has lyrics which further reinforces the storytelling. Arcaea's weaving of music and story is one that I really like from the game.

Arcaea spoilers end

As before, I'll be posting those monthly from now on, so see you next Music Highlights (for real)


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