Album review: KAT-TUN - KAT-TUN III -Queen of pirates-

Album review: KAT-TUN - KAT-TUN III -Queen of pirates-Those insanely popular kakkoii boys KAT-TUN are back on the scene with their third album (their second studio album of new material). Being who they are it's difficult to take their music seriously, which is why it shocks me that 3 albums into their 7 year career they still don't seem to be making much of an effort to be taken seriously as music artists.

KAT-TUN's third album (aside from having a ridiculous title which serves no relevance) is a mess. It's like roadkill - shit splattered all over the place. Having not learnt their lesson before, their album features an abrupt clash of R&B and Rock - neither being nailed particularly well. From the cheesy "Keep the faith", to the trying way to hard to be dark "Lips" and the barely fit to be sung by a drunk sod at a Karaoke bar "Distance". There's varied and then there's an uncohesive mess - and an uncohesive mess is what KAT-TUN III -Queen of pirates- is. Fans will be glad to know that Jin Akanishi is back for the ride, but it doesn't make much of a difference, except every song is now guaranteed to have at least one verse that is sung well.

The songs which work are all those which aren't drowned in dark J-Rock. Album opener "T∀BOO" acts as a nice album opener, with its Stargate and Ne-Yo esque melody. "Affection ~Mou modorenai~" is probably one of my fave tracks on the album because it has a hot beat. The guys sound okay on the song, but they don't own it. I actually think the likes of Hikaru Utada would've laced the song how it deserved to be - as it sounds like something that you'd expect to find on her 7th studio album Heart station.

"「un-」" and "Our story ~Prologue~" are two of the nicer and probably best J-Rock tracks on the album because they don't feel like KAT-TUN are trying overly hard to come off as credible. Plus they are the songs with the strongest commercial appeal: very anthemic, radio friendly, melodic, with a nice feel good vibe. But as nice as the songs are, they could've been done better by somebody else. The likes of GLAY, Kato Kazuki and Porno Graffiti would've shut these songs down completely had they gotten them.

KAT-TUN's vocals still sound like shit. A group of 5 guys who have been performing together for 7 years and could have the best of the best in the music biz at their disposal should sound a heck of alot better. They all sing in the same tone and the same key. There isn't a single 5 point harmony on this whole album. Tight vocal production could've really turned some of the songs around. KAT-TUN need to start harmonizing and utilizing their vocals better. It's ludicrous to not make use of their group being a quintet of 5 individuals who can each at least hold a song. They can't keep having Jin Akanishi nail a verse well in the hopes it carries everything. They need to come better.

KAT-TUN III -Queen of pirates- is KAT-TUN's best album to date, which isn't saying much considering how rubbish their first 2 albums were. KAT-TUN need an A&R person who is going to have them work with a team of producers who can give them a more cohesive sound. Dark J-Rock and J-R&B does NOT mix well. Especially when the songs are placed in such a slap dash order and none of the styles are nailed or owned.

Fans and stans will undoubtedly love this album to death and say I'm stupid for saying there's anything wrong with it. But serious music listeners will find little to like with this album. As long as KAT-TUN can put out shit like this and hit the #1 spot on the Oricon chart, their team of people are unlikely to change things. KAT-TUN needs to start making more serious music or at least better produced music that showcases them better. They may be able to woo with their kakkoii looks in music videos - but when you've just got the music to go on, there's little to sell or buy into. As with their last album - this is for hardcore fans only.

Album highlights:
■ Affection ~Mou modorenai~
■ 「un-」
■ Our story ~Prologue~


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