Artist : Scandal
Album : Yellow (2016 Epic Records Japan)
Tracks : 13
Artist website : http://www.scandal-4.com/
Yellow is the seventh studio album by Japanese rock band Scandal. I have been a casual fan of the band for about three years. Some of the songs from their previous albums Standard (2013), Temptation Box (2010) and Queens are Trumps (2012) are familiar to me.
The bulk of the music on Yellow seems to be penned by lead guitarist Mami Sasazaki. In contrast, lyric writing duties seem to be share by Mami, drummer Rina Suzuki, and bassist Tomomi Ogawa. Oddly, lead singer Haruna did not contribute lyrics as a sole writer. Tracks 5 and 13 were written by the band together, while lyrics to track 5 were penned by Tomomi and track 13 is a group effort in the lyric department.
What do I like about Scandal? I like that they write their own music and play their own instruments. They are a band. I like that they are proficient at their instruments as well. As a guitar player, I appreciate the great guitar tones that Haruna and Mami have. They have an interesting blend of pop/rock and are unmistakably J-rock in sound.
OVERVIEW OF YELLOW
The songs on Yellow are sunny and catchy. They are very accessible musically. I really enjoy this music even if Japanese is a foreign language to me. They also use English a lot in kinda cute ways.
Scandal really navigate between styles effortlessly. There is a bit of surf, ska, pop, rock, reggae and alternative all mixed in this album. It is truly a “there’s something for everyone” kind of album. Overall a very enjoyable album to listen to.
“FUN RETRO STYLINGS WITH A MODERN TWIST”
Room No. 7
LOVE ME DO
FIRST IMPRESSIONS – PLAY BY PLAY:
Track 1 – Room No. 7
This one is an instrumental shuffle rock track with pseudo “surf” stylings. Very nice guitar work! An instant highlight and it is only the first thing I’ve heard.
Track 2 – Stamp!
Great melody! Very nice chord progression. Insanely catchy! I like this one a lot!
Track 3 – LOVE ME DO
This one has a U2 like thing happening in the verses before the choruses bring the song somewhere else stylistically. Very catchy again! Even cowbell on the 2nd verse. This is definitely straight up pop.
Track 4 – Morning Sun
This one starts off in a very familiar way for me. It’s almost like something I heard in the mid to late 1990’s. I would not call it a rip off, but the vibe of a late 90’s alternative rock is strong in this song. Almost kind of like Smashing Pumpkins’ “Today” meets some Oasis song, but not. It’s hard to describe. The pre-chorus was not the strong point of this song. The verses and chorus work very well.
Track 5 – Sunday Drive
This one has a bit of a Beach Boys vibe. If I only heard track 1 and this track, I would immediately venture to guess that they are really into that 1960’s surf sound. Cute song.
Track 6 – Konya wa Pizza Party (Pizza-party Tonight) 今夜はピザパーティー
Cool up tempo track. This one has a ska type thing going on. Kind of like Tragic Kingdom era No Doubt. I dug the chorus and the break down.
Track 7 – Heaven na Kibun (Heaven-like Feelings) ヘブンな気分
Nice! I LOVE the vibe on this track! It is so different from the other things they normally play. Definitely heavier than their other work and thus, stands out. It rocks a lot more.
Track 8 – SUKI-SUKI
Cute track. Very nice melody. Double time pre-chorus and chorus. Great energy.
Track 9 – LOVE
This one has a bit of a reggae feel. Very cool to hear them do this so well in their own way. It isn’t a tacky, but effortless. I almost missed out on the fact that this is a ballad, which makes it even more neat.
Track 10 – Sisters
Oh no! Why did they have to do the glitchy auto-tune vocals!?! Luckily it is restricted to the intro.
Compositionally, this track is solid with a very nice melody all the way through and solid harmonic choices. The chorus is incredibly catchy.
Track 11 – Happy Birthday
Nice up-tempo pop/rock song, but kind of unremarkable.
Track 12 – Chiisana Honoō (Little Flame) ちいさなほのお
This one is definitely in ballad territory. It is very pretty.
Track 13 – Your Song – English version (Bonus track)
This one has a Joan Jett vibe to it. Fantastic!