KAT-TUN are a seminal band for me. Along with label mates News, they were the group that got me interested in j-pop, and I think that’s down to their international-minded pop/rock sound and incredible catalog of songs. They’ve been around for a decade, which means there were many, many singles to choose from. I had to leave off quite a few that I love (I’m looking at you, Face To Face, No More Pain, Run For You and Change Ur World, among many others), and the battle for number one was as close as it gets.
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10. Ultimate Wheels (2011)
One of the group’s earlier forays into pure orchestral rock, Ultimate Wheels is a galvanizing, ornate standout.
9. In Fact (2014)
Opening with a gargantuan refrain, In Fact quickly launches into a whirlwind of electronic dance rock, performed at breakout speed. There isn’t a moment to catch your breath.
8. Real Face (2006)
An incredible debut single, and a prototype for what we’d get from the band over the next decade. A dense mix of rock, rap and theatrical elements, it stills sounds enormous, dynamic and essential.
7. Don’t U Ever Stop (2008)
Fueled by a commanding rock guitar riff, Don’t U Ever Stop brings a healthy dose of aggressive funk and a call-to-arms, shout-along chorus.
6. Come Here (2014)
A potent mix of celebratory pop crescendos and resounding beats. Of all their singles, it sounds the most like summer.
5. White (2011)
On the surface, it may not be one of their most attention-grabbing singles, but White is buoyed by a soaring soft rock melody that quickly gets under your skin. The ever-climbing middle eight is everything.
4. Lock On (2012)
A straightforward rocker, but its punchy chorus and rapid-fire, hook-laden verses make it a force to be reckoned with. If any song deserved global domination, this would be the one.
3. Kusabi (2013)
A swirling fantasia of sweeping strings and electronics, Kusabi ushered in a new sound for the group. Its mature, mysterious vibe is complemented perfectly by the anthemic melody.
2. Dead Or Alive (2015)
My favorite song of 2015, and a veritable tie for KAT-TUN’s best single. It’s hard to overstate its epic, symphonic power. Just as the song at number one is their best release as a six-piece, Dead Or Alive represents the absolute peak of their four-member configuration. Few songs, in any year, have sounded so incredibly massive.
1. Rescue (2009)
With its sleek, glossy melody and pulsing beat that seems to constantly gain momentum, Rescue is the type of song that comes along only once in a great while. It’s perfectly executed, with calls back to 80’s synth pop and angsty dance rock, and includes the group’s most iconic, extended middle eight. But above all, it’s number one because of that flawless, soaring chorus, built almost entirely on an endless bed of layered vocals.