For fans of KAT-TUN, it’s been a long wait. The guys have been on a self-imposed hiatus for nearly two years after founding member Taguchi decided to leave the group. Ask Yourself is their first release as a trio, and their first new music we’ve heard since 2016. This return could have gone any number of ways, but they’ve played it smart. Ask Yourself’s polished, catchy propulsion reaffirms everything that has made KAT-TUN’s music so indispensable for over a decade.
Ask Yourself’s trendiest moment occurs right at the start, as the instrumental launches with a 90’s house loop that is quickly replaced by a more standard dance pop beat. Rhythm guitar gives the track a touch of funk, soon to be joined by gentle orchestration that brings the song closer to classic KAT-TUN territory. This is all a set-up for Ask Yourself’s giant, shout-it-out chorus. It’s the group’s strongest hook since 2015’s Dead Or Alive, but with an ear for the pop charts that makes it a supremely easy melody to get into. The trio delivers this hook with panache, not missing a beat despite their new configuration and lengthy absence.
Ask Yourself isn’t a particularly complex or challenging song, but its dramatic production adds layers that give it a thrilling immensity. From the bridge onward, the orchestral elements take greater precedence, providing a swell of theatricality as the song enters its final chorus. It all adds up to a closing minute that becomes a dizzying swirl of strings and electric guitar. And for a long-awaited comeback like this, I’d expect nothing less. The group has kicked off a new era with total fanfare, and the future looks very promising.