Last Wednesday, I talked about the (relatively) early days of UVERworld and my involvement with it. I believe my history narration stopped at 2009, after Go-On was released. The next single was Kanashimi wa Kitto, and the most prominent thing I remember from its video was Takuya’s white hair.
Now Takuya in UVERworld is famous for his changing hair. Before his white hair phase, he had a decent looking cut in Kimi no Suki na Uta, a headbang-worthy hairdo in Roots and wet blonde locks in Shamrock, I believe. In his latest videos, he doesn’t seem to have experimented much with his hair. They all seem whitish and make him look old. But then again, I’m not sure if it’s just me, but Takuya has gotten much older and thinner all these years. He is only 32 (turning 33 years old on the 21st, Friday!) but he looks much older than that, and somewhat sadder. I really hope nothing traumatic happened to him.
Because whatever it was that affected him really did it deeply. His music ever since Life 6 Sense has been a little of a hit-and-miss affair. His latest album, The One, released on 28th November, literally had no song at all that I could bear to listen to twice, aside from his singles such as 7th Trigger and The Over, which are still listenable. It is to the extent that I am not at all looking forward to the release of their next single, Reversi, on 26th December. Reversi can be heard in the album The One, and I cannot remember it with any fondness.
What is different about their music now? Well, it is a lot messier. It sounds like a chaotic jam of beats mixing together with no rhythm or melody. And they seem to enjoy using more techno effects now, except they don’t serve to enhance the song. It feels like they were randomly placed. Their songs lack much discernible mood now. Most people listening to The Over will not be able to tell it is supposed to be a tragic song, not when they compare it against things like Kinjito or Core Pride. The only thing that can still carry the songs are Takuya’s strong vocals, which I also fear for, for some paranoid reason. I really love hearing his voice in ballads, but I believe all these fast songs cannot do his voice much good.
And it seems listeners agree with me. Album sales have been falling even though the singles remain at Number 2 on Oricon. The One sold 95 441 copies in Japan, down from Life 6 Sense at 120 253, which is even downer from Last at 110 636 copies. And Last was my favourite album, even though it too was lower than AwakEVE’s sales of 162 458, which is the highest UVERworld ever got.
And this new experimental rock phase of UVERworld is not netting it any popularity in anime. While Flow continues to sing for anime, the last anime UVERworld sang for was Ao no Exorcist, with Core Pride, last year. Looking at its song list, I do not expect any anime to use its songs anytime soon. Then again, who cares about anime when you are performing at Nippon Budokan on Christmas, right? And Flow didn’t get to perform a tour at the Tokyo Dome. UVERworld is setting its sights high, and who knows, maybe their investment in a new genre will pay off. Their songs still sound more intellectual than K-pop, and just as noisy.
If they do become world-famous, though, I hope they remember their roots once in a while and sing something more similar to Koishikute or Colors of the Heart. With that, I shall continue to pin my final hope on Reversi when it comes out (perhaps hearing it as a single will leave a more lasting impression) and wish Takuya a happy birthday. His birthday is a day before mine!