Chapter 8 ~ 1998
Seizing a boundless dream in both hands
Ending 1997 on the right note, L'Arc~en~Ciel outright stormed into 1998. The huge crowd at Tokyo Dome had given them their confidence and, in a new year now, they used all of it. In January, yukihiro became an official member of the band, and they released a new single, "winter fall", on the 28th. While "niji" was a dramatic rock song, "winter fall" returned to the more pop flavor of their "True"-era works. This single became their first to reach #1.
Under a month later, on February 25th, fifth album "HEART" hit the shelves. While there were moments of pop, such as "winter fall", the album in general went in a more rock direction than any of their previous albums. By the end of the year HEART had won them "best rock album of the year". It reached #1 on the Oricon, sold a million copies in just the first week, and pretty much became the most popular Laruku item released yet.
Ever diligent, the band followed up a month later, March 25th, with a new single "DIVE TO BLUE". Written by tetsu, he apparently got the idea for this song when the band had visited Hong Kong and he had seen all the large buildings there. Another catchy pop work, it became their most popular single yet. The band themselves appeared in a commercial for NTT mobile phones, which featured the song.
In April, they released a PV collection titled "A PIECE OF REINCARNATION", and in the following month started up their next tour. It would be their biggest yet - "HEART ni hi o tsukero!". They played 37 shows from the beginning of May to July 21st. Even while touring frantically, however, the band still managed to release more music. On July 7th, the band pumped out three singles all at the same time - "HONEY", "kasou", and "shinshoku -lose control-".
These three singles had a huge impact. "shinshoku" was used on the Japanese release of the GODZILLA soundtrack, and therefore had a very hard edge to it. The aggressiveness in this song was something quite unlike ever heard by the band before. It also featured a remix of the track done by yukihiro, something never heard before. "HONEY", by far the most popular of the three, was a rock song, but so catchy that it gained mainstream success. Finally, "kasou" was a song that took the band back to its roots - a dark, mid-tempo song, much like something from DUNE. All three of the songs were very different and yet all sold a million copies. This triple release seems to be a turning point in the band's career. While DIVE TO BLUE seemed as though it had belonged on HEART, the band really seemed to change with these three songs to reveal a very different style of music.
After this surprising event, the band extended and continued the "HEART ni hi o tsukero!" tour. Starting on September 3rd, they played 19 more shows, adding for a total of 57 shows on this tour. All this frantic touring did nothing to slow them down though - they released another single, "snow drop", on October 7th. This single featured a new song by yukihiro as the c/w: "a swell in the sun". And just a week later, "forbidden lover", on October 14th. This single featured another remix track by yukihiro, of the song "kasou". The band had released 6 singles, but still no album since HEART!
The extremely long and tiring "HEART ni hi o tsukero!" tour finally ended on 10/21, the final, 57th show. Aside from making TV appearances in this time, they seemed to be taking a breather in the duration of the year for awhile after all the touring and singles. A video of the tour was released on December 23rd however. At the end of the year, December 31st, L'Arc~en~Ciel had been invited to play at the Kouhaku Utagassen, a competition between popular musicians at the end of the year in Japan. They played the hit song "HONEY".
As well as HEART winning best rock album of the year, the singles "kasou", "HONEY", and "snow drop" all won song of the year as well! The year had gotten off to a great start, and even though they wanted a vacation, tetsu kept his group focused and looking towards the future. More popular than ever before, it seemed like the best time to remain diligent.
To Chapter 9...