Over the World, Part 1

This is the first part of a 2-parter about UVERworld, one of my favourite bands. This first part will talk about my early years listening to their music, as well as the band’s own early years, and in the second part I will chat about more recent developments.

UVERworld has a longer history than some of you may think. It was formed in 2003 under the name Sound Goku Road (or Sangoku Road as the indie people called it) and at the time it had a saxophonist as well as another vocalist. But these 2 people left and they decided to rename themselves. Takuya, our lovely vocalist now, used to be called Ace Trigger then. Kinda cheesy if you ask me.

So in 2005 they became UVERworld and signed on to a more commercial record label, Gr8! Records. They released their first commercial single, D-tecnolife, which you should know as Bleach’s opening. It was a roaring success. I must say D-tecnolife isn’t one of my favourite songs but yes it has mass appeal. It debuted on Oricon in fourth place. And from then on UVERworld simply went on its way.

My favourite UVERworld song was also released in 2005, known as CHANCE!. I love the catchy chorus, though the music video was a bit meh. But very few UVERworld videos have ever been exciting. The point is in the vocals. The only music video in memory that I like is 99/100 Damashi no Tetsu. That one was a pretty chic sort of video.

I also like Koishikute’s video because Takuya kneeled on the ground and looked really emotional. Totally fitting to the song’s mood!

Even though I say the saxophonist left the band, he did return once in a while to play (increasingly so in the later days). You can hear him in Core Pride, for instance, and Baby Born & Go. I must say the saxophone always sounds out of place in the songs. Many fans have commented that the songs are much better without saxophone, but I guess if your old bud comes up to you and says, “hey need my help spicing up your music?” you can’t really refuse.

The first UVERworld song I ever heard was released in 2006. It was the opening to Blood+, known as Colors of the Heart. I loved it the moment I heard it. I remember being very surprised that I loved the song, because at the time I was really out of touch with music and I found the English and Mandarin songs all rather abysmal. Plus my friend was always stuffing bubblegum pop into my ears. Bubblegum pop is a respectable genre of Japanese music, but not something that can really coax people to become fans. And so Colors of the Heart defined my musical preferences. Later on I heard Yume no Tsuzuki he by Surface, which was also pretty epically great, at least to fifteen-year-old me at the time. And ever since then, nothing would shake my opinion of Japanese music.

At the time, UVERworld had been steadily rising up the charts. CHANCE was at Number 5 and Colors of the Heart Number 3. Their first Number 2 song was Kimi no Suki na Uta, which was also their first foray into a love song. UVERworld has a large female fanbase who adore their romantic songs, sometimes more so than their hard rocking ones.

UVERworld has stayed in Number 2 more often than not since then, but they did have 1 Number 1 victory in their history, which was made in 2008. It was Hakanaku mo Towa no Kanashi, the opening for Gundam 00. I must say I thought the song was unimpressive when I heard it, and still think so now to some extent.

You may be astounded to know that even though I have loved UVERworld since 15, it was only in 2009 — 2 years later — that I started looking out for their songs and downloading their albums. Somehow before that, I had never thought about getting more than Colors of the Heart. I was always a technological n00b, and didn’t dare to download songs illegally in case I got caught, or contracted a virus. So when I downloaded songs, I downloaded all 4 of their current albums at once — Timeless, Bugright, Proglution and AwakEVE. By the way, the latter 3 names are combinations of 2 words that have diametrically opposite meanings (according to them at any rate). Bug, which means glitch, and right, which is perfection. Progeny, which means offspring, and evolution, which means advancement. Awake, which is something you do at the start of a day, and Eve, which happens at the climax. Okay the last one was my guess. In any case their next 2 albums, Last and Life 6 Sense, didn’t really follow the format anymore.

So the first single I downloaded was Go-On. It was a very interesting song to me. In the beginning I didn’t find it particularly appealing, but it really grew on me and there was a point when I was imagining a storyline and I felt this song would be fantastic as the story’s theme song. And imagining the wonderfully tragic storyline sent tears to my eyes. And that is the tale of how I shed tears listening to Go-On.

My subsequent encounters with UVERworld are fodder for the second part. But I must say they provided strength to my mid-adolescent years, seeing me through my O-Levels especially.

Do you have a band that saw you through your younger years and that you have a deep sentimental connection to? I feel the necessity to stay loyal to UVERworld no matter what happens, and what happens is a theme in my second part. Stay tuned.

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