I’ve listened through the album 3 times, so I’ll comment on each track now. I’ll also include the single songs, since I never really commented on them when they came out.
Queens are trumps: Definitely the most “hard rock” song they’ve played. When I heard the opening riff I thought, “There’s no way Mami played this.” Then I saw that Yoshio Nomura was a guest guitarist, which explained it. I still hope Mami can someday become that awesome on guitar, though. I’d like to see them do a collab performance on Bokura no Ongaku or something. I like the song overall, except for the auto-tuned vocal part in the bridge.
Taiyou Scandalous: When I heard that it would be a “party rock” song, I was afraid it would turn into something too dance/hip-hop influenced, like Party Rock Anthem. However, my fears were allayed when I heard the song’s catchy pop rock sound. The PV is one of their best produced ones, too.
Pin Heel Surfer: I like the melody and guitar/bass/drums. The violins set the tone of the song, but I wish they were a little less prominent. I originally thought Rina sang the high vocal part at the end of the chorus, but it was just Haruna using her new vocal style to sing higher notes. The PV was a nice change of pace; the girls looked great and a got a chance to show off their dance skills, especially Haruna. I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t write the lyrics, especially considering how this is supposed to be a “girls’ fight song”.
Rock’n Roll: I like it overall. Yuichi Tajika also composed Shunkan and Scandal Baby, so I like that kind of pop rock sound. A little too much synthesizer, though. Sparkly sounds in “rock and roll”? The live version will probably exclude those, like how Shunkan is played live without synth effects.
Bitter Chocolate: Yay, a song composed by a member! Rina really let herself show off on the drums in this song. This is what I like, guitar/bass/drum-driven pop rock. Tomo sounds good, and I especially like when Haruna and Mami sing together.
Kill the virgin: It’s going to take me a long time to get used to this song. I don’t like the heavy electronic effects on all the instruments, and the whispered part of the vocals. It took me a while to get used to another Hajimetal song, Kimi ni Shittochuu, but the only part I disliked was the bridge. Kill the virgin… can’t say that. Least favorite song on the album.
Koe: MAMI LEAD VOCALS!!! She sounds great, and I can tell she practiced hard to put some more emotion/expression in her singing. Her darker demeanor and vocals are what made me like her at first, but this is nice too. I like the guitar sound a lot too. Favorite song on this album; can’t wait to sing it at karaoke. I’ll probably skip Kill the virgin a lot to get to this song.
Rising Star: Back to the upbeat pop rock sound I love SCANDAL for. The drums are really impressive on this song; I look forward to seeing Rina playing it live.
Bright: Yuichi Tajika strikes again. I like this slower, more mellow sound as well. It suits Haruna’s vocals well. My second favorite album-only song, tied with Bitter Chocolate.
Welcome home: I’ve listened to it for a while now, so I like the song quite a bit. However, when I first listened to it, I didn’t really like the sound of the bassline. I know Tomo uses an active bass, so she pumps up the treble frequently, but it sounded too twangy and dry in this song. I liked the sound better live where it wasn’t so trebley. I really like Mami’s guitar sound, though. I’m surprised they put a B-side on the album, but I guess they like this song a lot, the same reason they put Switch on Scandal Show.
Harukaze: It’s been quite a while since this song came out. I remember when I first heard the TV size Bleach OP, it seemed a lot more poppy than SCANDAL’s other songs, but I’ve grown to like it.
Right Here: It’s catchy, but it feels weird listening to it because it sounds way too much like Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind, obviously because of the doo-doo-doo part. Of course, that pop-punk sound is a big part of what SCANDAL plays.
Overall, I like the new album songs. Most of my criticisms are really nitpicky things that don’t detract too much from my overall enjoyment of the music. I’m a bit disappointed by the number of songs where no members were involved in writing lyrics (3). I hope there will be a concert DVD released this time; unfortunately, one never came out for the Baby Action tour so we never got to see many of those songs played live.
Whew, that was longer than I expected it to be. Congratulations if you read through all of this.