This might be surprising and spontaneous to some so I'll give some back-story as to why I've decided to start making these. I was ultimately inspired by the album review threads made years ago (circa TEMPTATION BOX through BABY ACTION era). I really enjoyed the kind discussion and comments that brewed in those threads and I believe that those conversation can still be developed today. I played around with the idea of reviving reviews topics for a few months and I figured I'd give it a go with 「Image」.
As a reminder, this is how I genuinely see (and hear) SCANDAL through my eyes (and ears). Since everyone is different in one way or another, we probably won't agree with everything. With that said, constructive criticism towards the post, not the poster, and questions/concerns about formatting, language, explanations, etc. are appreciated. Also, any tracks that are simply an instrumental version of another song will not be covered in my review.
Lastly, I'd like to respectfully ask any commenters to avoid making extended reviews of their own as a response to my segment. It may seem odd but this is based on advice I was given in regards to issues around credibility, precision, and orderly conduct that might come up when a bunch of people try to "use the SCANDALScope" at the same time.
With all the formalities dealt with, let's dive into SCANDAL's 20th single,「Image」!
Lyrics and Music: MAMI | Arrangement: Keita Kawaguchi
Of course, the big attraction of this pair of SCANDAL songs is the single itself! I find Image to by a musical bundle of hype, quality, and optimism all in one. MAMI really shows off her skill as a superb musician with being credited for the lyrics and music. From what I saw in the lyric translations, it became clear very quickly that a message of "hoping for the best" and personal improvement in the days to come were presented nicely. Getting a bit into the song itself, I'd say that it was also a blast. The duo chorus between HARUNA and MAMI was excellent; I haven't heard these two sing out such an impactful chorus since Shunkan Shenimental. RINA's drumming is sure to keep you tapping your feet and/or fingers while TOMOMI's exciting basslines play out to sets the bouncy stage for all the fun. This song really perked up my interest again after what I thought was a mediocre 19th release. If I had to pick a highlight from the song, I'd choose the instrumental bridge which leads up to MAMI's solo. UGH. SO GOOD. DON'T STOP.
#2: Nai Nai Night 2014
Lyrics and Music: TOMOMI | Arrangement: SCANDAL
Featuring HARUNA on guiro/chorus, TOMOMI on vocals/tambourine, MAMI on acoustic guitar, chorus, recorder, RINA on cajon, their manager on slide whistle, and their roadie on shaker.
Ahhhh, yes Nai Nai Night 2014. If I can retell what TOMOMI wrote in her blog correctly, this was essentially inspired by SCANDAL's busy schedule when they were working on HELLO WORLD and fearing for the dreadful ALL NIGHTER (cue the cringing high school and college students). Despite being a b-side full of words having connotations of negativity and denial, it's actually very light-spirited. This time TOMOMI takes over as the lyricist, composer, and lead vocals. If I didn't know beforehand, I could almost tell this was a TOMOMI song; her songs tend to have this kind of heartfelt personality to them...it's hard to explain haha. I totally agree with all the comments saying how this would be a great SCANDAL campfire song. It even ends with,
SCANDAL gets to pull out the creative instruments here. HARU stroking along with the guiro, the return of RINA's cajon, and MAMI with a cute recorder solo. It blows all those years of "Hot Cross Buns" right out of the water. Although some may say that this b-side suffers from "24 Jikan" syndrome, I think Nai Nai Night 2014 can be held on the same imaginary pedestal as Image."By the way, tomorrow morning's coming fast
I'll get ready and say goodnight soon."
「Image」 is two sides of a very fun coin. The title track is an energetic rock song with an evolving SCANDALous style and encouraging message, while on the other hand, Nai Nai Night 2014 flips it over to a happy acoustic piece that provides good contrast without the need to dip into any emotional/ballad territories.