‘Holohoneygaoka High School’ Album Review, Track by Track

2024 is shaping up to be an even more exciting year for Internet-based music such as Vocaloid, utaite, and VTuber music. Holohoneygaoka High School, the first album from hololive and HoneyWorks, is filled to the brim with every fascinating aspect of this culture.

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Holohoney is a new musical collaboration between hololive production, a VTuber groupwith over 50 streamers, and HoneyWorks, a group of creators. The album is a double album consisting of Holohoneygaoka High School -Originals-, new songs written for the album, and Holohoneygaoka High School -Covers-, covers of HoneyWorks songs by hololive members. Altogether there are a total of 20 songs (not counting the CD bonus tracks), which are presented in detail below.

Holohoneygaoka High School -Originals-

1. Kawaiko Check! by Inugami Korone

“Kawaiko Check!” is Holohoney’s first original song, released in September 2023. The song is about Inugami Korone, disguised as a school teacher, scouting cute girls to liven up the school’s culture festival. The speedy tune, livened up with accents like a brass section, emphasizes the cuteness of Korone, a character with a dog motif, as she races around, tail wagging.

2. Idol 10 rules by Nekomata Okayu, Himemori Luna

This punk tune, almost ska-core, depicts the hard work the two singers do to become top idols while always obeying the 10 rules of idols.

3. Tokyo Wabi-Sabi Lullaby by Gawr Gura

This mellow, mid-tempo number is sung by a member from hololive English. The lyrics are evocative of an exchange student thinking of home, and the modern R&B sound of the song is blended with Japanese instruments such as bamboo flutes and sound effects like railroad crossings and fireworks, painting a picture of summer in Tokyo and a feeling of wabi-sabi. You can feel the Japanese city pop flavor that Gura is so fond of.

4. Bridal Dream by Usada Pekora, Houshou Marine

“Pekomari,” the duo of Usada Pekora and Houshou Marine, is the most popular and well-known hololive duo, made up of two members of the third generation of hololive. “Bridal Dream” is an official B-side for the duo’s wedding…or, at least, that’s what it appears like, until you discover that it was all just Marine’s dream. There are wedding-like melodies sprinkled throughout and a frantic feel that’s a perfect fit for the duo, which always whips up a storm when they’re together.

5. Utage☆Dokudanzyou! by Nakiri Ayame

Sharp, strummed guitar lines drive this fast-paced song, an up-tempo tune with a post-Vocaloid rock pop feel and an exhilarating, breakneck pace.

6. Outsider plan by La+ Darknesss, Takane Lui, Hakui Koyori, Sakamata Chloe, Kazama Iroha

The five members of Secret Society holoX shares the pride of outsiders who can’t, or don’t want to, fit in with their classmates, carried by a powerful rock tune. What they’re actually doing — eating lunch before lunchtime, reading comics in class — is cute, and the heart of this song lies in how it uses pop to express the feelings of these outcasts.

7. PAKU-PAKU-SEIBAI by Hakos Baelz

“PAKU-PAKU-SEIBAI” is a dance-pop song with a “girl crush”-like sound rooted in EDM and trap music that highlights the cool vocals of Hakos Baelz, who plays a student with a powerful sense of justice.

8. Hero for a day by Kobo Kanaeru, Takanashi Kiara

hololive Indonesia’s Kobo Kanaeru and hololive English’s Takanashi Kiara sing about the joy of being a “hero for a day” up on the culture festival stage, backed by a sunny pop-rock melody. They also provide a glimpse of the wistful side of the event, singing that “the magic will vanish soon,” but in the end they look back on their experience fondly as another chapter of their youth.

9. Riazyuu★Bokumetu movement by Murasaki Shion

“Love and that tingling feeling you get inside, they’re just illusions.” That’s the message behind this ska-punk song by the angsty Murasaki Shion, who is doing all she can to block those around her from having rich, fulfilling lives.

10. Kyoushitsu ni Ao / Hoshimachi Suisei

This song is like the campfire at the end of the culture festival. It reminds the listeners that the time young people have to make memories and develop strong bonds with their friends will come to an end on the day of their graduation. It’s an emotional rock song that conjures up images of the starry night sky. Hoshimachi Suisei’s emotional, bright singing voice unlocks a flood of emotions.

Holohoneygaoka High School -Covers-

1. Fansa by Yozora Mel, Shirakami Fubuki, Natsuiro Matsuri, Shiranui Flare, Shirogane Noel

Five artists cover this passionate idol song from the solo artist mona, which was released as part of the HoneyWorks project Kokuhaku Jikko Iinkai: Ren’ai Series (Confession Executive Committee: Love Series). The original song was already an emotional one, but when the voices of the five singers come together in the chorus, the feelings run even deeper as you viscerally feel the strength of the bonds between them.

2. Inokori sensei by Tsunomaki Watame, Tokoyami Towa

These two artists from the fourth generation of hololive have burgeoning solo music careers and exceptional voices. In this song, they’ve come together to perform a popular, wild rock tune that tells the dark story of a teacher (Saku Akechi) and his student (Haruki Serizawa).

3. motto ichigo ore by Sakura Miko

Sakura Miko is one of hololive’s generation zero members, with a sweet, slightly lispy singing voice. In this rock number, she covers a song with a distinctly mona-like feel that depicts the heroic ideals of an idol. Miko’s sweet vocal qualities and the powerful song combine in a wonderful blend of sweet and spicy. The lyrics were also tweaked for Sakura Miko, such as by changing “mona wink” to “miko wink.”

4. Hokori Takaki Idol by Tokino Sora

This song by mona is one of pride in the face of the people who look down on idols. Here, it has been covered by Tokino Sora, a pillar of hololive since debuting as its first virtual idol.

5. Sis x Love by Kureiji Ollie, Anya Melfissa

This song by the sisters Sena Narumi and Mona Narumi has been covered here by a close-knit duo of second generation members from hololive Indonesia. The lyrics, about the powerful bonds between sisters that grew up together, convey a different sense of bonding when sung by Ollie and Anya. The scintillating string parts and uplifting sound bring tears to your eyes.

6. Daikiraina Hazu datta by Shishiro Botan, Omaru Polka

This bittersweet love song, originally sung by Kotaro Enomoto and Hina Setoguchi, is famous for a version sung by members of Nogizaka 46. In this cover by a duo of fifth generation hololive streamers, Botan plays Hina’s part and Polkaa plays Kotaro’s part, backed by a piano rock tune that is the embodiment of glittering youth — a duet that paints a picture of pure, bashful love.

7. Tokyo-Summer-Session by Oozora Subaru, Amane Kanata

This cover of a popular song depicts a scene of youth in full bloom — a couple, more than friends but less than lovers, realize their mutual attraction at a fireworks festival one summer night. Subaru plays the boy’s part and Kanata plays the girl’s part in a song that sets the listener’s heart fluttering with lyrics like lines from a drama and nuances that evoke the innocence of a young couple.

8. Kessen Supiritto by Moona Hoshinova

This beloved song by CHiCO with HoneyWorks was the ending theme to the TV anime Haikyuu!! To the Top. Here, it is covered by Moona Hoshinova, one of hololive Indonesia’s finest vocalists. The energetic performance is a perfect encapsulation of the drive to always keep pushing forward, using failure as a springboard for future success.

9. Doutan Kyohi by Momosuzu Nene

Momosuzu Nene, a fifth generation hololive member who is always bubbly and full of energy, sings this pop number, a straightforward declaration of devotion by Chu-tan, from the Heroines Run the Show series, to her favorite idol.

10. Senpai by AZKi, Ookami Mio, Yukihana Lamy

This song, originally performed by the voice actor unit TrySail, was the opening theme song of the anime movie The Moment You Fall in Love: Confession Executive Committee. Here, it has been covered in pure, three-part harmony. The song dramatically depicts the powerful romantic feelings of a student for an upperclassman that go tragically unnoticed.

This article by Hajime Kitano first appeared on Billboard Japan

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