Best of KAT-TUN
Product Code: JACA-5038
Release Date: 2006.03.22
Debut Ranking: #1
Label: J-One Records
The long awaited debut of KAT-TUN finally reached the shelves of Japanese music stores on the 22nd of March. Perhaps to make up for the fact they have not debuted until 5 years from their formation, Johnny’s Entertainment on that date: a single (“Real Face”), an album, and a DVD.
KAT-TUN, a 6-person boy band, is one of the highest profile Japanese boy bands around to this date, despite only debuting recently. With good looking members who not only sing, but act (as do most other Johnny’s Entertainment boys), the boys of KAT-TUN have charmed not only the Japanese, but people from overseas. KAT-TUN’s members consist of Kamenashi Kazuya, Akanishi Jin, Taguchi Junnosuke, Tanaka Koki, Ueda Tatsuya and Nakamaru Yuichi.
The “Best of KAT-TUN” album comprises of 15 popular songs which the band themselves have performed previously in lives (with the exception of “Real Face”). Is this a worthy album to tribute the greatness of KAT-TUN before their debut?
With this album, KAT-TUN took a very pop/rock approach to mixing most of their songs, where some remained pretty much the same as when they performed it live, and others met what was called “distortion”. With this said, it is not unusual to be greeted by loud guitar riffs or drumbeats in some of the songs.
1. She Said…
A great way to start the album. This song first starts off with an orchestral intro, and then comes into the oh-so famous introduction, said at almost every single one of their lives by Koki, which then progresses with the guitars and drums. It’s a catchy song, mostly made up of rap, but it’s generally a feel-good pop/rock song with an addictive chorus. It’s just such a happy, happy song. But despite how the chorus is supposed to be “She said never look back”, I keep hearing everything but that (it’s the way they say “never” that makes it sound funny). Gotta love their Engrish.
2. Never Again
The tempo was slowed down a bit, while still retaining a dancey feel in their 2nd track on the album. I actually want to just say I love this song, but I’d better not. It’s one of the very different tracks on this album, that actually ends up with a sort of R&B tempo and melody, but who’s complaining? The chorus is really catchy, and this is coming from someone who generally doesn’t apprieciate R&B music, so yes, deal with it. But for the sake of fairness, this isn’t exactly a 5 out of 5 rating from me, since, I don’t know…something about it just isn’t there. But Jin’s vocals really shine through in this release, and it’s one of those songs where everyone gets a little solo part, instead of it just being Kame and Jin.
3. I Like It
Such a very dirty song, if you actually bother to listen to the lyrics. But putting the lyrics aside, this is definitely more R&B than “Never Again”, and I can’t say I like it, because again, I don’t like R&B. But I love the harmonies in the background singing the “dirrrty” lyrics. I generally don’t like it when Kame takes lead in songs, because he just can’t cut it out like Jin, since his voice isn’t as powerful or pretty as Jin’s. Anyway, people who enjoy R&B songs will probably like this.
The beginning of the song will catch you off-guard, no matter how much you like dance-pop music, because of the way they arrange their songs. It’s a catchy, pop/dance song, but I can’t seem to find a place in my heart to like it. The chorus is addictive though, and you may just find yourself saying “It’s a Miracle, Miracle!” subconsciously. I know I have a lot of friends who think I’m mad because I don’t like this song. However, don’t let my rating discourage you from having a listen.
5. Blue Tuesday
“Blue Tuesday” is a very pretty ballad, where the ocassional rarity of all members getting parts in the song makes it even better. I loved the harmonies in the chorus, and the melody is just so beautiful. But what’s to expect from a piano ballad? They definitely sound so much better recorded than live with a song like this. Sadly, it’s so much like all other ballads around, that it makes it very forgettable, which made my bump down my rating to the 3’s. If you enjoy those ballads by bands such as KinKi Kids, Tackey and Tsubasa, and even Dong Bang Shin Ki (Japanese stage name Tohoshinki, a Korean pop-capella band), then you’ll probably love this song just as much. In my opinion, it was a decent song, but not one of my favourites, and I probably wouldn’t randomly remember its melody off the top of my head.
I’d like to give this song its very own genre, which is Linkin Park-meets-Evanescence-meets-KAT-TUN, because it is, and you can hear it from the very beginning. If you weren’t paying attention, you’d think it actually was the beginning of a Linkin Park song, and what with the piano, it does sound very Evanescence-esque. It’s a catchy rock-ish song, but the chorus is really whiny when they try to reach the high notes. Yet despite all of the pitch problems, I love this song. The piano tune that keeps coming up will get stuck in your head, and if that doesn’t, then the chorus will, with its catchy Engrish, “I want your love, I want your hate”. KAT-TUN scares me with their versatility in music, especially when they sing songs like this, but I’m not complaining.
KAT-TUN chose to go with the dance version of “Gold” for their album. Though I must say I prefer the ballad version, it’s not a bad mix of the song. One thing I did dislike was the distortion. As if Koki’s rapping wasn’t already hard enough to understand, they decided to distort most of it. It’s a catchy song though, even if it’s a far cry from dance music, and ended up sounding more like a pop/rock band song. It is a bit repetitive, but then again, most songs on this album are, since they were originally concert songs, and repetitive=good concert songs. I actually like the Engrish in this song, but a lot of people dislike this song for that same reason. It’s actually a really suitable song for a debut album, since the last part of the Engrish chorus ends with “Don’t you wanna see it when we make it world wide?”, which just works, period.
8. Wilds of my Heart
I can’t help but crack up everytime I hear them say “Wilds of my heart”, and they say it a lot. For now, let’s forget they can’t pronounce “wilds” properly, and review this song. I love how the song starts and I didn’t find the distortion at the end of the introduction annoying, because it worked seamlessly this time. Again, a fairly repetitive song, where the chorus comes up more than the verses, but this time, the chorus has beautiful harmonies, and sounds amazing (apart from their lack of talent for pronouncing “wilds” properly). At some parts, the unison singing sounds quite messy, but generally it’s not very long, and forgettable. It’s also nice to hear the voices of everyone and not just Kame and Jin. I always did like this song, and I’m glad it was included in the album.
9. Special Happiness
A typical acoustic pop ballad, which is really pretty. I love the whistling in the beginning. This is one of the 3 split tracks (you’ll understand later), performed by Kamenashi Kazuya and Taguchi Junnosuke. It’s not exactly the fastest song around, but it’s really pretty, cute, and happy. I suppose the name of the song gives it all away, really. It’s really an adorable song, and I can’t help but find myself smiling everytime I hear it. While Kame and Junno may not be the strongest singers in KAT-TUN, nonetheless putting them TOGETHER, it works for this song, in a strange way. It’s really cute, I suppose.
10. One On One
The 2nd of the split tracks, featuring Tanaka Koki and Nakamaru Yuichi. Aside from the really pointless beat-boxing at the beginning, which I don’t care for, it’s got a very thick R&B/hip-hop beat to it, perhaps due to the lack of actual instruments in the background music, as well as the excessive rapping and the background vocals. The song itself isn’t a bad song, but I just can’t help but find the chorus not powerful enough for a song like this. Still, it’s a really fun song, which would make a good dance party song or something. I just love the hand-clapping parts, and the Engrish, of course! But I swear, if it weren’t for the beat-boxing in the beginning, the song would probably have a higher rating. It’s still a fun song, and if you enjoy Nakamaru’s beat-boxing and general silliness, then I’m sure you’d enjoy this song, or at least the first minute of it.
The last of the split songs, featuring Akanishi Jin and Ueda Tatsuya. This song still doesn’t sound like it should be on a J-pop album, even though I’ve played it about 15 times over. I don’t think it ever will. However, I will say, it’s an amazing song, if you like Japanese rock, or rock music in general. The chorus sounds fairly typical J-rock and is quite whiny, but I love how it ends, with the repetition and all. Perhaps the whiny sound comes from the fact that they just weren’t singing the unisons properly, and it didn’t work. It’s definitely a song I would not classify as J-pop, but it’s worth a listen. My favourite out of the split tracks by far.
12. Rush of Light
The first thought that ran through my mind when I heard this was “Are you sure this isn’t an anime theme song?”. But questions aside, it’s a nice, pop/rock song, with a slow tempo. To an extent, I could probably classify it as pop/alternate rock. I can’t stress this enough, but if you put the messy unisons aside, it’s a lovely song. I don’t have much to say about it, since it’s not one of my favourites off the album, but it’s not a bad song.
13. Harukana Yakusoku
The best song on the entire album, excluding Real Face, which technically I don’t count. It’s also the only song without an English name, too. This song has a simple but catchy chorus, that doesn’t come up so much that you want to hit your player, but enough times to get the melody stuck in your head. Admittedly, they never sound that great singing in unison, but the harmonies in this song is just lovely. The rapping wasn’t really necessary, but it’s not so bad as to spoil the song. It wasn’t totally unexpected that “Harukana Yakusoku would go on the album, with it being one of KAT-TUN’s most oversung songs.
14. Precious One
If “Harukana Yakusoku” is KAT-TUN’s best song on the album, then I lied. This is their most beautiful ballad ever, simple, yet beautiful. The whole song has a lovely, gentle melody and style to it, so gentle you’d probably swoon seeing them sing it live. Only it doesn’t sound that great live, and I suppose that’s why the album version sounds so much better. The accompaniment is simple, with a sweeping melody that’ll just lift you off your feet. I actually almost cried the first time I saw this song performed live, and I’m glad it’s featured on the album. The Engrish is excusable, I’ve heard worse. The lyrics are really, really beautiful. Hats off to whoever composed it.
15. Real Face #1 (Featured only on the Regular Edition)
Real Face #1 supposedly has a different arrangement from the single version, and was re-arranged by Matsumoto Tak from B’z, who also composed the original version. I still haven’t figured out the difference, apart from the fact that Real Face #1 is 1 second shorter. My apologies. “Real Face” proves to take on a very eurobeat-style of mixing, with entrancing synthesizer beats and yummy guitar riffs. One thing I didn’t like was the fact it was relapsing back to the KAT-TUN style of music, where Kame and Jin take lead and sing most of the song. It’s a catchy, infectious, powerful song, worthy of being their first single. Definitely a recommended track to listen to.
While KAT-TUN do not have the best voices in the J-pop boy-band industry of today, what sets them apart is their ability to handle a range of different genres of music. This “skill” of theirs was cleverly implemented in their “Best Of” album, therefore really making it a show of their “Best” music. I actually found myself very satisfied with this album, knowing that while not all of the music touches my tastebuds, that it’ll appeal to someone, somewhere out there. There was also a good mix of upbeat songs along with ballads, which leaves you craving more KAT-TUN. The only part I wasn’t satisfied with was the fact that the song “LOVE or LIKE” and “FIGHT ALL NIGHT” didn’t make an appearance on the album, and in my opinion, those were some of my favourites by them. But overall, a great album, definitely worthy of celebrating 5 years of KAT-TUN goodness, and worth every cent of your money.
- She Said…
- Never Again
- I Like It
- Blue Tuesday
- Wilds of my Heart
- Special Happiness
- One On One
- Rush of Light
- Harukana Yakusoku
- Precious One
- Real Face #1