Review

Song Review: KAT-TUN – We Just Go Hard (ft. AK-69)

KAT-TUN - We Just Go HardWith shake-ups at the agency and an influx of new debuts, Johnny’s Entertainment seems to be in an era of flux. Some changes have been very welcome (SNS accounts! MVs on YouTube!), making it feel like the agency is finally reaching out to global fans. But, we’ve been down this road with K-pop. Outreach threatens to turn into pandering and can result in music that feels more generic. When it comes to Johnny’s, I don’t think we have to worry too much about this. For one, they have a greater sense of agency history that heavily relies on touchstones specific to Japan. And, the Japanese music market is far less export-based than Korea’s.

Still, it’s been interesting watching some of their veteran acts experiment with genre and style. In the case of KAT-TUN, We Just Go Hard sees them embracing rap music. Given who’s left in the group, I wouldn’t have expected this to work at all. But, the guys have drafted veteran talent in the form of rapper AK-69, who co-wrote the track and features in its second verse. This lends Hard some credibility, but it’s the balance between KAT-TUN and AK-69 that makes it most successful.

Though their music has endured various iterations, KAT-TUN have always drawn heavily from rock. That style is infused here, from the stomping introductory chant to the moody pre-chorus. Rock and rap have been comfortable bedfellows for decades, and the blend works especially well here. We Just Go Hard unfurls several catchy hooks, which should guarantee mainstream appeal. Its chorus is memorable from first listen, while that aforementioned chant makes for a great bookend. The song also brings back Nakamaru’s iconic beatbox, infusing Hard’s modern influences with old-school KAT-TUN charm.

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5


5 thoughts on “Song Review: KAT-TUN – We Just Go Hard (ft. AK-69)

  1. This is pretty good. I prefer Euphoria, but it’s totally my personal preference. I think that both singles are objectively good. But, KAT-TUN releases really good songs in general.

    I was waiting for you to review kisumai’s fear though! I really love it. I’ve actually been liking a lot of Johnny’s latest round of releases like Kinpuri’s koifuru tsukiyo ni kimi omou, ABCZ’s natsu to kimi no uta, and Johnny’s WEST’s dekai ai (I also recently started watching/following WEST closely and totally fell in love with their group dynamic and personalities).

    As to changes in the company, I feel like it’s been pretty good so far; they’re pretty good at staying true to their roots. For every English song that kinpuri releases, they’d release something very Johnny’s together with it. Even the newer groups like travis japan that are putting in much needed modern flair to their performances are still dancing to their senpai’s songs. Have you seen their new youtube channel? It’s pretty cool.

    Also for some reason, unlike kpop companies, Johnny’s is actually interested in just being a talent agency, and is pretty good with giving their groups and individual members fair promotions. They find creative ways to promote less popular members, and don’t neglect older groups even though they currently have a ton of up and coming new groups (Even Morita Go recently shot a movie when he’s leaving in a month; TOKIO’s Nagase also had a starring drama role right before leaving the company). Maybe it’s their long history, maybe they just have a stronger monopoly in the industry or maybe that’s just how Japan works, but not even SM can rival their market monopoly in Korea.

    -Rina

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    • I like Euphoria too, but I’d like it a whole lot more without the heavy vocal effects. They’re totally unnecessary and very distracting.

      I’m happy for Travis Japan, and excited that they released another original mv. I’d love to see these kind of mvs become standard for junior groups. But, what I’m most excited about right now is the upcoming Snow Man album. I’m in love with pretty much every song preview so far, and if the album is as good as those previews suggest, I’m going to be playing it A LOT.

      Don’t worry, a Fear review is coming soon!

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  2. CW// differing opinion:

    KAT-TUN’s We Just Go Hard is another quintessential example of another legendary icon in the music industry going sellout. It feels languid, plodding but also quite generic. Even if the whole thing is essentially survived by the cadence and the unique arrangement it has. It is hollow, and mundane on the inside. It does nothing revolutionary or creative in a grandiose sense. It is a disappointment, but I guess I am also a sucker for basic hip-hop that sounds good and has cadence. It is not bad for me personally, but I think basic really doesn’t let you down. It’s actually strong and great though.

    OK. I wasn’t here to comment that. I was here to promote our DISCORD server! You can now finally talk to KPOPREVIEWED, 10/10 Music, Hallyureviews, Jei’s Kulture Notes, 555 Reviews, blueraspberrysyrup, Haruko, Deer, and Yan on the IAMCA discord! Feel free to slide in!

    (P.S. I need all of you avid readers to join us!)

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