A K-pop group’s title track isn’t always the best song on their album, even if it’s the one most people will hear. Sometimes, b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
In a surprising turn of events, every b-side on Twice’s new album is stronger than the title track. Literally… every single b-side. Even so, I understand why JYP opted to push the bland Alcohol-Free. It’s themed to fit the summer season and… well, he wrote the song. But stacked against the other material on Taste Of Love, it sticks out like a sore thumb.
I could probably have written about the retro SOS or Baby Blue Love, but the catchy Scandal is refusing to leave my head. In some ways, this song feels like a natural progression from last year’s I Can’t Stop Me. Scandal rides on a percolating groove, used in a heavy-handed manner to power the entire track. Listen to the first few seconds of Scandal and you’ll know exactly what’s coming next. That opening riff is interpolated over and over again, yet manages to feel fresh thanks to a variety of arrangements and emphases.
The addition of house piano lends Scandal a bright energy, especially during the chorus. And Twice’s vocals – often exaggerated to fit K-pop expectations – drive the track with an assured sense of cool. I love their performance, especially how it plays with dynamics and moves from whispers to more robust styles. I’m not sure what “my love is like a candle” is supposed to mean, but the girls have me believing. Though Scandal is not relentlessly 80’s in execution, there’s something about it that feels as if the song could fit comfortably on Wonder Girl’s 2015 opus Reboot. Coming from me, that’s high praise.