Unlock is the last official KAT-TUN single before member Taguchi leaves the group and the remaining three go on hiatus. Because of this, it carries with it an aura of sadness, though you wouldn’t know it from the song alone. Unlock is a classic uptempo rock number from the guys. And even if it may not be the best they’ve delivered in this genre, it showcases a sound they do very, very well.
The track kicks right into gear from the first stab of guitar, quickly giving way to fast-paced, agile verses. They’re similar in structure to previous single Tragedy, but the melody here isn’t as memorable. Instead, Unlock gets by on its chorus. It’s a punchy, anthemic refrain that hearkens back to past singles like the incredible Lock On. It feels very much like KAT-TUN emulating the style of melody they’ve had success with before, and for a single that carries the weight and emotions that Unlock does, I think that’s perfectly okay.
Still, 2016 has seen the group coast on past glories far more than I’d hoped. Although I didn’t care for 2015’s Kiss Kiss Kiss, that single showcased a handful of amazing funk and dance-inspired b-sides that seemed to show the group moving in a more interesting direction. It’s a shame that, after a long break, they’ve returned with music that feels mired in the past — as awesome and comforting as that past may be.
I enjoy reading your KAT-TUN reviews. Would you consider reviewing their b-sides? 🙂
Thanks! I’m not planning on doing anything in-depth, but in case you’re interested, here are my general thoughts on Unlock’s b-sides:
Ame ni Saku Ai, Yoru ni Naku Ai: Love the rapid-fire delivery of the verses, and the harmonies in the chorus. This is a sound I like a lot for the band, though they’ve had stronger melodies in the past.
Jet: I was really happy to hear something a bit more experimental and hard-hitting. I’m never a fan of heavy autotune and electronic vocals effects, so I could have done without that, but the beat is gigantic.
Honesty: I’m not a huge lover of Kat-tun ballads, and this is no exception. As far as similar sounding tracks go, I much prefer Twilight from the Tragedy single.
For me, Kiss Kiss’s b-sides remain the strongest in recent memory. I wish they’d go further down that funky pop route.
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