Though I might currently favour the more modern discographies of multiple different Johnny’s groups, there was a period of time in the late 00’s and early 10’s where Kat-Tun were just unstoppable. It was legendary period where almost everything they released was gold with songs like Rescue, Run For You, White, Triangle and Dead or Alive being the absolute peak Johnny’s entertainment’s musical output. And while the group have been through numerous scandals and member departures, fans have remained ever hopeful for another comeback. And after almost 3 years away from the scene, the boys have graced us with new single Roar.
Though not the kind of instant showstopper (~à la Ask Yourself ) that I would have liked from the boys after such a long hiatus, Roar sees them revisit many of the aspects that made their strongest work so appealing. The majestic guitar and string laden instrumental loop that opens the track and functions as the post-chorus breakdown is immensely satisfying and lends Roar with a true sense of grandeur fitting for a Kat-Tun song. It sets up for what could have been a suitably larger than life song but rather than continue its propulsive sound, the first verse pulls back for a more vocal driven and minimalistic soundscape. Assisted by nothing more than a simple piano loop, Kamenashi gives a suitably emotive performance that Nakamaru backs up as the instrumental shifts into a more haunting, organ assisted atmosphere. The track carries a very ballad-esque sound here, raising interest and pulling the listener in with the softer, more tense atmosphere.
But once the rhythm guitar is introduced during the pre-chorus, Roar comes into full focus, powering forward towards its massive chorus. It isn’t one that’s up there with their absolute best, but great Kat-Tun is pretty much equivalent to many other groups all time best. It’s just so great to hear the boys singing in unison again and their dynamite vocal blend is enough to lend the chorus the necessary push it needed to really become a powerhouse. But while much of the track follows the similar, “soft –> explosive –> soft” arrangement, Roar truly comes into its own after the second chorus and bridge, which flips the arrangement towards a more hard rock sound and briefly transforms Roar into a driving anthem, ending the song in thrilling fashion.
Final Rating: 8.75 / 10