- CHAIN REVIEW -
I’d already listened to this track 800 times prior to my copy of the album even showing up. Oops? I guess it goes without saying that this song is amazing. They all sound their best here but I believe the star is Maru (中丸雄一). Without him I don’t thing it could have been carried off quite as well. Also, it definitely should have been a single. To top it off the PV is the best in a while.
2. ONE DAY
Superb opening, T-UN are killing me with how perfect they sound and the chorus is fun, upbeat and has a general good feel to it. The “YOU, YOU, YOU” makes me smile each time I hear it. :3
Single 1 of 5: I wasn’t too keen on this the first time I heard it. I liked it but I didn’t find it particularly amazing – probably because of the quality of the earliest previews. Even so, I didn’t really start to like it until after a couple episodes of Yokai Ningen Bemu. Now I adore it! In terms of marketing, BIRTH was a sensible single choice; however, I very much prefer the B-side, STAR RIDER, to the title track. However, I don’t think STAR RIDER would have fit very well in BIRTH’s place on this album.
4. ULTIMATE WHEELS
Single 2 of 5: This song is perfection – I’ve lured so many people into the world of JE & KAT-TUN by sharing this song with them! Everyone sounds their best here, the lines are split fairly evenly and they’ve even managed to follow the typical pop formula without creating a bubblegum track that will be forgotten by 2014. Although, even now – a year on since the initial release – I still don’t feel the title fits. I understand the symbolism of the wheel, and that the song was being used to promote Suzuki's SOLIO, but it’s still somewhat silly. Was it a good single choice? Definitely.
Well, fuck. Really, that’s all my mind could process on the first listen. The chorus sounds amazing and the rap completely sells this song. JUNNO (田口淳之介), SING LIKE THIS MORE OFTEN. PLEASE.
6. STEP BY STEP
I’ve loved this song since Maru first performed it. I think this is the type of the song he has been needing – something that really stands out. Answer and FILM both displayed his vocal talents well but what he has needed is something faster that grabs the listener’s attention, to make them sit up and pay attention, rather than something that just sounds pretty. He needs more appreciation.
7. RUN FOR YOU
Single 3 of 5: I’ve listened to this track more times than I’ve listened to any other KT song – and I’ve been a fan of them since Queen of Pirates (2008). It’s fast, it’s loud, it’s catchy, it’s strong, it has meaning – it’s KAT-TUN. This style suits them and they would have been stupid not to release it as a single.
From the very first note I had a good feeling about this song. Post-intro, this song is very 90s. I’m a complete sucker for 90s boy bands and hearing KT sing music like this totally knocks me out. Dear Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC – I believe you’ve just been beaten at your own game. The last minute of this song had the potential to go so wrong with so much happening at once – but the result is fantastic.
Is that a heartbeat? Damn, Kame (亀梨和也) hasn't even opened his mouth yet and I’ve already been absorbed. But then he does and I’m not sure what to think. When I realised he was singing yet another ballad I was disappointed – he’s not as good with the high notes as he used to be. His voice is much coarser now than it was when he sung someday for somebody. I’m not a big fan of 愛しているから or SWEET, so I didn't have my hopes too high. But the start is absolutely incredible! However, the latter half of the song is not enticing me as much – and that note at 2:25 is disastrous. The lyrics are pretty but in a way it’s a little dull. I feel like this is the type of song that should be listened to alone on a quiet evening with a glass of rosé wine.
10. SMILE FOR YOU
On the first listen I wasn’t sure if this song was as amazing as it seemed or if it was just the contrast with Kame's solo that made it stand out. After listening to it again, I’ve decided that it has the same quality even when listened to alone. However, I don’t think it’s the best – that long “you~” in the chorus feels unnecessary. Also, the title makes me think of Arashi – not KT. But it’s cute and happy and I like it.
I think this is my favourite group song! Holy~ this is so cute it’s hilarious. “YOU JUST TALKED TO ME” – this had me in stitches and I was scolded for “fangirling out loud”. Are they twelve again? But, in honesty, it doesn’t seem to fit KT’s image, does it? Sans Ueda’s (上田竜也) current naughty schoolboy hairstyle, that is. I love this so much but wouldn't the lyrics have better suited a younger group like Sexy Zone?
As with Kame, I wasn’t sure whether or not to get excited about this song when I first heard the title. I thought it would be slower – but this is gorgeous. He has such a soft, sweet voice and this type of song perfectly suits it. He nailed it again. ♥
13. CHANGE UR WORLD
Single 4 of 5: Every time I listen to this song I love it more and more – but I’ve already listened to it over 1,800 times. This song is exciting and I love the lyrics. This was a fantastic comeback after the confirmation of Akanishi’s departure: this is the song that showed the fans that KAT-TUN is more than capable of holding their own as five. And, if I’m being honest, after seeing what they can do without him I don’t miss his presence in the group.
14. DANGEROUS CAT ～MAKE ME WET～
Is that a dog barking? Fuck Akanishi and Yamashita; JOHNNY – you’ve a potential international star here! Okay, if this did happen Koki (田中聖) would probably be a one-hit wonder. But this is the type of music I can see fans of current American/British pop music listening to. The first thirty seconds are silly but after that I can really get into it. And, of course, the lyrics are funny. Like its predecessor, I imagine this being accompanied by a pseudo-sexy and epically cringe-worthy performance. DVD please?
I think I just fell in love with their voices all over again. I had a good feeling about this from the opening. It has this same aura about it that Gareth Gate's music has, but it’s not even the same genre or style. When I listen to Gates it’s as if I have to drop everything so I can focus on the music and nothing else. This song feels the same. And I love that. KAT-TUN, between this and the 90s boy bands I feel like you’re on a mission to steal the qualities of other artists and beat them at their own game – and you’re succeeding.
Single 5 of 5: This song instantly won marks for being released on my 19th birthday. However, it’s a bit of a mess. Everything feels thrown together and even though I really like it I can see the faults. It seems to lack direction. But it’s cute and optimistic, the chorus and rap often get stuck in my head and I’m incapable of listening to it without picturing them smiling. I love it. However, I don’t really think it was A-side material. It’s B-side, PERFECT, would have been a better choice. Would PERFECT have been a good addition on this album in WHITE’s place? Unlike with BIRTH/STAR RIDER, I’m voting 100% yes.
Wow. That opening was different – I was still in a happy WHITE place and this just tore me right out of it. I really like this, but I don’t think it did any favours coming at the end of the album.
18. CHAIN OF LOVE
This song doesn’t appear on my physical copy of the CD. I only have the LE right now so this must be an RE song. The opening is pretty! Within twenty seconds of this starting I decided I already liked it more than SOLDIER – and this impression isn’t shaken when they start singing. It’s not exactly a well-polished song but I feel that this is part of it's charm. This is definitely a better finish to the album than SOLDIER – this must be the RE’s selling point. It's too bad they didn’t make it obvious and label it as a separate track it - that would have been a much more intelligent way to market the CD.
The singles from this album – CHANGE UR WORLD, ULTIMATE WHEELS, WHITE, RUN FOR YOU & BIRTH – were all outstanding but I think WHITE would have been better as either a B-side or simply an album track. I also didn’t understand the WHITE PV one bit! I believe that RUN FOR YOU had the most interesting PV while ULTIMATE WHEELS was the most symbolic. However, if we are to include the LOCK ON PV then I think that it wiped them all out. As for STAR RIDER (BIRTH LE 2), I love it but it’s not quite up there on the same level.
Take out the singles and there are eight new group songs on this album (including the hidden track). They are: LOCK ON, ONE DAY, あの日のように, SMILE FOR YOU, 儚い指先, 歩道橋, SOLDIER and CHAIN OF LOVE. LOCK ON earns the top marks and could have done well as a single (maybe in place of WHITE) but I think the two songs that caught my attention most were 儚い指先 and 歩道橋. ONE DAY, あの日のように and CHAIN OF LOVE were upbeat and catchy and I love them. However, SMILE FOR YOU and SOLDIER just didn’t grab me in the same way the others song do. After several listens, yes, but on the first they didn’t entice me at all.
I really wish they would include more solos as B-sides to singles – they blow me away every time with how amazing they sound individually. The person who stood out most to me in his solo this time around, and quite possibly sang my favourite song on the entire album, was Junno. (If you know me well then you probably thought I was going to say Ueda!) FINALE is everything a song should be – it covers so many different styles without any of them feeling out of place. His voice was perfect, the lyrics touching and overall this is just an amazing track. Koki, please step aside sometimes and let him rap in group songs! Maru’s STEP BY STEP, Ueda’s ～again and Koki’s DANGEROUS CAT ～MAKE ME WET～ all rank highly (even above many of the new group songs) on my mental list but Kame’s ずっと really didn’t impress me.
Honestly, if I had to say what my favourite songs are on this album I would be picking at least 8~10 of them. This is the first album where they have genuinely been five; unlike with cartoon KAT-TUN II you and NO MORE PAIИ, where former member Akanishi still made contributions despite not appearing on the cover images. For this reason I don’t think I can fairly compare CHAIN to their previous albums. In my eyes, CHAIN and its five singles have marked the official beginning to a new era of KAT-TUN. And if you like this album, then please continue to follow them as they move forward. If KAT-TUN have showed us anything, it’s that they are always improving and outdoing themselves. ♥