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  1. It's nearing twenty years together for one of the most prolific bands to come out of the visual rock movement. MUCC were able to start out as a band of ragtag oddballs to become one of the most eclectic and resilient bands in the scene today. Though, they still manage to fly under the radar for many, especially newer, visual kei fans. Even with the string of anime themes they've worked on, MUCC seem to have their own corner of the market they had to forge for themselves and have never settled fully into any trend or label. Maybe it is that unpredictable nature that scares prospective fans off, but this list is here to tell you that it shouldn't. MUCC have covered enough ground with their career that there really is a little something for everyone in there. You just gotta dive in! So to help we've gone ahead and ranked every MUCC album from worst to best! It should go without saying that this list is subjective and an artist that has been around this long with such a wide spectrum of influences is hard to pin down. So we welcome discussion about your own favorite albums from MUCC and why you love them! Worst to First: MUCC Albums 15. アンティーク (ANTIQUE) [1999] Depending on which pressing you have of ANTIQUE could determine how you feel about this release (since the tracklist for the second pressing a year later was rearranged and included a brand new song) or you could have been stuck with much of the foreign fan-base who had to wait until the re-recorded re-release 哀愁のアンティーク(aishuu no antique) allowed us to finally get our hands on the sought after tunes. It's no stretch of the imagination that ANTIQUE ranks low among fans due to the combination of its rarity and shoddy production quality. However, as far as quality of first releases go, it's not the worst any of us has heard, that's for certain. You can still find all the core MUCC melody traits in this release, especially when you compare "九日(kokonoka)" to the updated version on Cover Parade years later where only a few small updates were necessary to bring the song seamlessly into their modern sound-- mainly Tatsuro's vocals and Satochi's drum fills. But fans of MUCC at their quirkiest will easily see the merits of ANTIQUE, even if the band themselves had not come to their full potential just yet. Highlights: オルゴォル(ORGEL), 四月のレンゲ草(shigatsu no rengesou) - @doombox 14. 哀愁 (Aishuu) [2001] Aishuu wasn't so much a 'new' release as it was a collection of MUCC's demo songs re-recorded. Ironic that this collection would also become so rare the re-recordings would be recorded yet again in just over 10 years time. This does seem to be a theme with MUCC. To find re-imagined versions of songs and remixes on their B-sides is a pretty common occurrence. Aishuu offers probably the truest sense of MUCC's humble beginnings and musical roots. Though, it suffers mostly the same issues as ANTIQUE with muddy guitar tones where Miya had not yet perfected the nu-metal low-end he was going for or how to level harmony vocal tracks into the mix properly. However, diversity of the tracks was a step in the right direction and it helped this album feel more creative despite its shortcomings. There's also the live staple of "ロバートのテーマ (Robert no theme)" (Robert being the frog puppet and companion of Yukke that was a part of many performances over the years) that helped make this release a must-have for early Muckers. Highlights: 花(hana), 狂想曲(kyousoukyouku) - @doombox 13. カルマ (KARMA) [2010] Even though KARMA ranks fairly high in its home country, it did not resonate as well with many fans outside of it. Part of loving MUCC is accepting their wide range of musical styles and experimentation, at least until they ventured further into electrorock and EDM than they ever had before with this release. MUCC's albums flirted with dance-pop influences leading up to it, yet KARMA pressed on past the point of no return. Outside of layering dance beats and synth on many of the songs, there wasn't much new, creative songwriting going on. Though one could argue that MUCC's main foray into new territory is how they blend outside genres onto their core sound. And in countries where rock and dance genres couldn't be more separate, this choice alienated a large portion of their audience. The greatest crime on KARMA is perhaps that the definitive MUCC sound simply felt lost. They took a risk trading in their emotional, passionate approach for a colder, computerized one and it didn't quite payoff. However, this may be the album for curious listeners who never could get on board with the "old" MUCC style as it's the antithesis of earlier works such as Kuchiki no tou. Highlights: ケミカルパレードブルーデイ(CHEMICAL PARADE BLUE DAY), A., フリージア Karma Edit(FREESIA Karma Edit) - @doombox 12. 痛絶 (Tsuuzetsu) [2001] The quintessential release from MUCC's indies period is hands down Tsuuzetsu. Unfortunately, that didn't help many of the songs on it stand the test of time. Even the digital re-release sounds muffled and lo-fi without any of the usual analog charms which makes the repetitious nature of the songwriting near un-listenable at points. But since we're nitpicking the recording quality as the biggest flaw in this release, it still easily tops the rest of MUCC's catalog from this era. It's evident the band finally solidified their foundation working together and for the first time some bass even got its turn in the spotlight since YUKKE's addition. This came in the form of the song "夜(yoru)" which he also composed the music for. Some of Tatsuro's trademark vocal tricks make solid appearances on this record as well. Even though a number of songs were still hit-and-miss for Tsuuzetsu, the band's energy was undeniable-- especially at the time of its release when visual kei was gaining attention in the global market. Highlights: 盲目であるが故の疎外感 (moumoku de aruga yue no sogaikan), 断絶(danzetsu) - @doombox 11. シャングリラ (SHANGRI-LA) [2012] MUCC's Shangri-La was the first album I decided to try out when it came to picking a release from their discography back in 2013. From there I've checked out THE END OF THE WORLD, 鵬翼 (houyoku) and 極彩 (gokusai), but Shangri-La still stands as my most favored. Despite its backlash, it is well worth a shot just as much as their more preferred albums. This is especially true to those who are on the same boat as I was at first. There's so many sounds the guys implemented in such a standard sized album, that it becomes especially enjoyable the more spins you give it. From the hard opening hitter ,"Mr Liar" , to the opposite of the rocking, jazzy "ピュアブラック (Pure Black)", and even anime tie-ins "Nirvana", the opening to Inu x Boku, a pleasant, soft rock number and "Mother", an emotional belter from Naruto. Tatsuro even shows us a powerful and heavy side in the tear-jerking closer of "Shangri-La". While it's understandably not everyone's cup of tea, especially for their fans, this can be a great choice for those pondering where to start with them. There's clearly a lot a variety and appreciation that can come from it. No matter what your taste is, a mixed bag of an album such as this one may have at least a couple of tracks you'll dig (or hate to admit you do!). Highlights: G.G., 狂乱狂唱~21st Century Baby~ (kyouran kyoushou~21st Century Baby~), Marry You, 夜空のクレパス(yozora no kurepasu) - @beni 10. 葬ラ謳 (Homura uta) [2002] Homura uta served as a major transitional album for MUCC. Finally there was solid production which had been the band's largest hindrance up until then. "絶望(zetsubou)" unleashed the most nu-metal aggression anyone had heard from them as yet and it could not have been a more perfect time to rocket MUCC into the national visual kei scene under the wing of Danger Crue Management. Not only was Homura uta their largest collection of songs to date, the consistency of the entire album was an entirely new level for them. With some money backing them and good advice from their management, Homura uta's songs were much more approachable to the average rock listener but that doesn't mean some cringe-worthy moments didn't slip through. Tatsuro still had a tendency to howl out vocals that were beyond his capabilities, certain songs remained too repetitive, and attempts at other genres (such as jazz) weren't integrated very well that felt like distractions rather than proper additions to songs. In spite all of that, it was still a huge step in the right direction and the the industry undoubtedly began to take notice. Highlights: 絶望(zetsubou), 前へ(mae e), 黒煙(kokuen) - @doombox 9. THE END OF THE WORLD [2014] We've cracked the top 10! And even though I'm personally a huge fan of this album, it seems fair that due to its somewhat recent release date and it being one of MUCC's more musically diverse albums it hasn't connected in the way some of the other albums have. THE END... genre-splices everything from metalcore in "ENDER ENDER" (while gaining some street cred by featuring gang vocals from scene veterans ROACH and new poster kids MAKE MY DAY among others) to disco and funk influences in "369(miroku)". There are also some beautiful ballads and mid-tempo numbers that are the heart of the record. It opens up fierce and feisty, but easily half the album heavily pushes the emotional spectrum which is a side of the band that hadn't been in the forefront for a few years. THE END... ultimately serves as a collection of mini-experiments in MUCC's sound instead of a large departure in the way KARMA was. This approach kept the album more accessible for fans of any MUCC era. Electronic bleeps and bloops are at a minimum on this release -mainly the singles- and it's hard to deny that the organic rock feel is the band's strongest suit. Highlights: ENDER ENDER -album edit-, HALO, Hallelujah - @doombox 8. T.R.E.N.D.Y. -Paradise from 1997- [2015] MUCC have always claimed to write music for themselves despite expectations and criticism, though TRENDY is proof the band is not out of touch with their fanbase in the least when it comes down to it, even if they aren't always understood by them. In fact, MUCC wanted to show their fans some love with a release written specifically with the live performance in mind and inspiration from fan favorites over the years. This brought the four main instruments and rock sound back to the forefront and gave a lot of fans exactly what they had been waiting for. Small inspirations from THE END... still carried over in very subtle synth harmonies, and guitar-work dropped the -core and kept it mostly hard rock this time around. While purists could argue MUCC should have pushed the envelope more on this record, it still ends up being a seriously fun release for new and old fans alike as it sits right in a sweet spot. Headbang, jump, mosh, fist-pump, tap your toes, or sway, this release works hard to get you moving along to it and showcases a lot of strong hooks to sing along to. Highlights: 睡蓮(suiren), TONIGHT - @doombox 7. 是空 (Zekuu) [2003] From the first notes of "心奏(shinsou)" you will know you are in for a totally new and improved MUCC. This album marked their major label debut with Universal Music and it was obvious the band put their best foot forward. The down-tuned, distorted, intensity of Zekuu was its own force to be reckoned with as MUCC continued their forward momentum from Homura Uta the year before. Their style-hopping had streamlined and finally fused genres creating the what would from then on the be the 'core' of MUCC's distinctive sound. The album was so well received that "蘭鋳(ranchuu)" became a resident staple of their live sets for the next ten years. As much as MUCC like to re-record their songs and put new spins on them it's surprising they haven't chosen to rework any material from Zekuu. Maybe even MUCC know these songs are too sacred at this point. The album isn't perfect, the bass levels are too high, vocals too low, and the guitars down-tuned to oblivion. But that was also extremely common for the time this album was released and the nu-metal hints were the perfect thing to separate them from the rest of the pack within the visual scene to begin to focus their sights on the much larger mainstream rock stage. Highlights: 我、在ルベキ場所(ware, arubekibasho), 1979, 蘭鋳(ranchuu) - @doombox 6. 6 [2006] How fitting our number six ranking would belong to none other than this release. 6 felt like it was a solution to the band having too many strong songs for their previous album but not enough to make it a double album. So they waited a few months and kicked out this gem. And whereas Houyoku had felt more conceptual and showed the band's softer side, 6 effectively came back swinging full force. It resonated with an underlying sense of power and optimism for how dark and aggressive the compositions were, save for the weirdness of "夕紅(yuubeni)" that was simply the random folk-country visual kei crossover you never knew you needed in your life. MUCC were nearly at the pinnacle of their popularity and their confidence really came across on this record. Highlights: フォーティーシックス(fourty-six), 夕紅(yuubeni) - @doombox 5. 朽木の灯 (Kuchiki no tou) [2004] You could almost cut MUCC's career into eras of three albums each. Kuchiki no tou would round out the darkest era that started with Homura uta and Zekuu. This album was the most poignant of the three, and some of the most down-tuned as well as speedy guitar work in the form of "濁空(dakuu)" really brought it to a caliber all of its own in their discography. Expectations had skyrocketed thanks to the band's recent growth spurt in popularity and MUCC delivered. Kuchiku no tou is full of hard-hitting, near bulldozing compositions that for many fans to this day still can't be topped. The band didn't need any tricks or 'bells and whistles' to sell the album, they had learned their strengths and had enough kick-ass songs for a surprisingly long 15 tracks. I don't think anyone would have complained if they added a few more and went for a legit double album with this one but that doesn't seem to be MUCC's thing. Though the album blazes by pretty quickly at just over an hour, the final track "朽木の塔(kuchiki no tou)" is a strong contender for MUCC's pièce de résistance, as it sprawls out over an expansive eight minutes and sucks you down to the deepest pit of your own soul. Highlights: 幻燈讃歌(gentousanka), 路地裏 僕と君へ(rojiura boku to kimi e), 朽木の塔 (kuchiki no tou) - @doombox 4. 鵬翼 (Houyoku) [2005] MUCC was one of the bands that did the deed of getting me sucked deeply not just into visual-kei but Japanese music in general. The first album of theirs that I owned and listened to was 鵬翼 (Houyoku) and it sealed the deal on me being a fan of their music. It's a very strong album and takes you on a emotional roller coaster in a way not much artists can. I remember getting it a little after it came out and being completely sucked in from the moment the opening track "輝く世界 (Kagayaku Sekai)" started and not being able to refrain from putting the album on repeat. Maybe that's why 鵬翼 (Houyoku) as a whole has such an impact on me, at the time I was going through a lot of loss and emotional turmoil in my life and music had a big part in helping me move on from that. The album as a whole may have a strong theme of loss but in the end empowers you to move on become a stronger person. At least that's the way I interpreted it when I gave it a listen and if you're going through some emotional turmoil give 鵬翼 (Houyoku) a listen and maybe you'll get some musical freedom from MUCC to help you move on from your pain. Highlights: 1R, 雨のオーケストラ (Ame no Orchestra), モンスター (Monster) - @tetsu_sama69 3. 球体 (Kyutai) [2009] One of MUCC's most well-rounded albums (pun intended!), Kyutai really shows yet another new fire had been lit under MUCC put everything they had on display. There's fist-pumping rock anthems, headbangers, dance-able jams, and even near-religious experiences in the operatic surprise "讃美歌(sanbika)". Kyutai is more rock driven than its predecessor Shion, however there is synthwork layered ever-so-subtly in the background if you listen for it. It truly feels like a combination of their previous two albums worked seamlessly into one plus some interesting experimentation to spice it up. The band showcases all of their best facets without straying far from their core strengths yet kept the album fresh. It's no small miracle MUCC were able to keep pressing out fantastic album after album during this decade leading them to be one of the most prolific bands in modern visual kei! Highlights: 咆哮(houkou), アゲハ(ageha), 陽炎(kagerou) - @doombox 2. 志恩 (Shion) [2008] I remember when I first heard the singles leading up this album and getting so hyped for it because MUCC just fit into the style of music I loved. For me 志恩 (Shion) is my favorite album that MUCC has ever done and it's one I always go to when I need great music to give me life again. From the beginning of the album you're pulled into a rush of chugging heavy instrumentals and rough vocals that take you over to point where you can't refuse the call of the repeat button. There's a lot of flavors put into 志恩(Shion) from the insane harmonica spiced addictive sound of "ファズ (FUZZ)" to the energetic positive powerhouse of "フライト (Flight)". And then it shifts to the emotional rollercoaster of "空忘れ (Sorawasure)" and the extremely touching and dark tinted taste of "リブラ (Libra)". 志恩 (Shion) overall is right in the vein of what represents MUCC's heavier side and is the first album I would go to when it comes to introducing someone to their music. Hightlights: THE ENTIRE ALBUM IS THE HIGHLIGHT YO! - @tetsu_sama69 1. 極彩 (Gokusai) [2006] Were you really surprised? Of course it's Gokusai!! 2006 was such a great year for visual kei and Gokusai was one of the bright shining lights making that year so memorable. It's hard to pick stand out songs on this album when every track from the opener to the twinkly send-off song "流星(ryuusei)" is MUCC undeniably at their best. Admittedly, not as dark or heavy as their previous work, but the aggressive songs had the perfect amount of bite and grit to them, just enough to blend seamlessly when the band changed gears and slowed down for the emotional side of the album. "パノラマ(panorama)" pulled at the heartstrings as a dedication to the break up of ラヴィアンローズ(LA VIE EN ROSE), a brother-band of sorts that members are still close with to this day. And the song is still just as potent 10 years later, even if you never knew what it was referencing. The singles off of Gokusai were all strong, but when listening to the complete album it shows each and every song is just as strong and catchy as the next. Each shows a different side of MUCC leading up to it. Gokusai shot MUCC into the stratosphere to transcend the Japanese music scene, and by their next album they would be touring with some of the world's most famous rock bands of their generation. It would send them to tour the globe and cement themselves as no-longer up-and-comers but one of the pillars of the visual arena. Highlights: ALL OF IT. EVERY SONG. - @doombox Thanks for reading! ♪ Please share your favorite MUCC albums and songs with us below!
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