Year released: 2009
Although I’ve fallen in love with many Johnny’s entertainment groups over the past few months, the group that have probably struck me the hardest are Kat-Tun. Not only do they have an incredibly consistent yet varied discography, but their incredible vocal blend is enough to make almost any song transcendent. Even though they’ve gone through a number of configurations, they’ve always managed to comeback with some excellent material. However, within this stellar discography stands one incredible song that still remains unmatched. That song, is Rescue and it remains the greatest J-pop song of all time.
When asked what my favourite song of all time is, up until a few months ago I would without a doubt say Infinite’s The Chaser. But boy does Rescue give The Chaser‘s untouchable throne a run for its money. Not only do I consider it to be the greatest song to ever come out of Japan but it’s right up there in contention for my favourite ever track. As one of the groups last releases as six, Rescue stands a kind of memorabilia piece. A relic of times long gone. Yet it feels utterly timeless almost 11 years on from its release. Although the group had already built and strong following in Japan with epics like Real Face and Don’t You Ever Stop, Rescue was the sound of a group really coming into its own.
Opening with the sound of a thumping heartbeat and an even more melodramatic monologue, Rescue sets out its intentions almost instantly and wastes almost no time before it launches into its opening hook, a sneak peak at the tracks incredible chorus. Johnny’s as a brand always greet their listeners with layered hooks, and with a group of vocalists as dynamic as Kat-Tun, it’s no surprise as to why this became the norm.
After the extended intro, the track delves into a more reserved verse, underlined by a dramatic and almost sinister dance beat. Make no mistake, reserved in no way means lack of momentum, as Rescue manages to maintain its sense of build even through its more quiet moments. This builds to the tracks first massive chorus, which pulses with incredible energy and even better vocals. The first time through I didn’t even notice that the entire chorus was sung in English!
The soaring layers of vocals that make up the back drop of each of the Rescue‘s choruses just elevates the track to a whole new level bringing a greater deal of anthemic heft to each and every centrepiece. The producers knew this, as the chorus is repeated almost 5 times throughout the tracks 4.5 minute runtime. In theory this should render the track unnecessarily repetitive but it’s almost like the track refuels itself after every chorus. This is thanks to some incredible production.
Chief amongst these is the almost flawless transition between the third chorus, Koki’s incredibly sticky rap and the wonderfully iconic dance break that follows. Rather than stagger into another restrained verse, Rescue charges forward with incredible momentum and vigour. And while the dance break might be over a minute long in the pv, its much shorter in the actual track.
Rather than take a standard approach, Rescue switches and swerves between multiple elements before finally arriving to its climactic chorus, where most of the instrumental fades out to give full spotlight on both Jin and Kazuya’s chill inducing vocals. It’s a small moment of solace before the full force of the instrumental comes slamming back in to bring an end to the exhilarating journey that is Kat-Tun’s Rescue. And while many may bawk at it’s cheesy over the top design, it easily deserves its place within the Jpop hall of fame.
Final Rating: 10 / 10
*click image below for full PV