maison book girl’s “cotoeri,” is a step closer to the future...maybe?
14 Nov 2017 - 12:36 PM  UPDATED 14 Nov 2017 - 12:39 PM

With maison book girl’s “cotoeri,” idol music moves one step closer to the future? Maybe.

Producer and songwriter Kenta Sakurai used a Japanese computer writing system to generate the lyrics for the song. I’m not going to pretend to understand the mechanics of how this happened - I specifically avoided computer science courses in my life, much to my financial disappointment - but based on what I’ve seen Sakurai uploaded various words into a program, and said AI (named cotoeri, natch) created the lyrics for this song. Shout out to Sou, at Arama They Didn’t, for offering the most coherent version of this:

The computer-generated words are the hook, so let’s focus on those first, even if it is hardly the best part of “cotoeri.” If you had told me “an idol group is going to turn to AI for words,” maison book girl wouldn’t have been my first guess. Whereas plenty of units basically sing about the same subjects over and over again, maison book girl have developed a very specific theme to their work, one that’s darker, lonelier and more complex than most. A song such as “faithlessness” shines thanks to the way the words develop, telling a story that builds up to an emotional release.

But “cotoeri’s” digi-developed words work, thanks to how disorienting they are. The computer’s writing isn’t particularly coherent, and it even feels like a stretch to label them 'poetic.' Yet I get the feeling Sakurai and the group embrace the confusing feel this process results in, in the same way some authors pick random phrases out of a hat to write stories. There’s something unnerving about these words (semi-metaphors?) coming together and being sung so straight-faced.

Which loops us back to what really makes “cotoeri” work, which is all the human elements going into it. Someone has to sing this, and the members of maison book girl give even the most eye-cocking lines here an earnest read. Sakurai’s music helps too, adding in violin swoops and signature xylophone sounds, upping the drama significantly. The chorus offers a nice bounce, while the percussion throughout offers a nice uneasy feeling.

In the end, “cotoeri” works because of the human touches. Take that, computers.

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