Review

Buried Treasure: Twice – Scandal

Twice - ScandalA 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.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75


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17 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: Twice – Scandal

  1. I am always a fan of house piano. Yeah, the performance is nice here. Twice’s performance usually does not stand out in any way, but the dynamics here are a nice change.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Uhhh, the lyrics before the candle line is literally, “Baby, we’re a scandal, 𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘰𝘰 𝘩𝘰𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘭𝘦, you can’t take your eyes off.” Also it’s kind of like the hotter our love is, the riskier it is. Candles twice as hot burn twice as fast.

    I do agree that Scandal is probably the best out of all of them. The retro songs are good, but are less catchy than Scandal. They’re all strong songs though, even if I’m not too hot on First Time.

    We all know why it’s Alcohol-Free, he wrote it of course. You could make some additional reasons, but this is the main one. Like, we were robbed of the Scandal MV and theming.

    …I am also deeply curious whether the LOONA & Cocomong’s song Yum Yum will be reviewed. Promotional and very high-aegyo songs have been reviewed before, so I’m eager to read that one when we get it.

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    • I *guess* I get the metaphor. It just sounds silly, like it was put there to rhyme with scandal rather than stand on its own as an interesting visual. But yeah, candles are hot I guess lol

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      • It didn’t bother me at all, although it has been discussed that the use of “like” or “as” is very low level lyricism. I wouldn’t how to rewrite it though? Maybe something like “burn brighter than a candle” or “be careful, we’re a candle.”
        Maybe a completely different word like “our love is quite entangled” or “our love is such a gamble” although you definitely lose the fire metaphor that way.

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        • I thought it sounded a bit like a forced rhyme as well, but you can make sense of it in a way. “be careful, we’re a candle” made me chuckle because it sounds like a candle is something very dangerous (which.. well, you can argue it is, in the right context).

          Liked by 3 people

  3. I don’t think this could have been a title track on its own. It’s a few layers of production short for that (though for a b-side it doesn’t feel too thin.) But I really like that bouncy piano riff. It reminds me of “Shine” (Pentagon.)

    There’s the also the bonus that if someone looks up “Twice Scandal”, this might be the first thing that shows up for a while.

    It’s neat that Dahyun wrote the lyrics for this one! For some reason, my appreciation of Twice’s b-sides has grown along with their increased involvement in writing.

    Liked by 8 people

  4. When I first listened to the album teaser, I had the exact same thoughts as you where I found every single B-side more exciting. Now that the album’s released, I still agree, though Alcohol-Free’s grown on me quite a lot. I pretty much enjoyed every song and I agree that Scandal’s the strongest, it’s just so catchy!

    I agree with the previous commenter that I’ve begun to appreciate Twice’s B-sides as they get more and more involved. My favourite B-sides on Eyes Wide Open were written by the members (Up No More/Do What We Like), and it’s cool to see that this time around, every B-side on the album was written by a member! To be fair, they’ve been making contributions since the start of their career, but it’s neat to see how their B-sides have been getting better (imo) as they get more and more involved. Perhaps its time for one of them to contribute to a title track…? Who knows if JYP would ever let them though :p
    ______

    On a side note, this is my first comment on your blog, Nick! I’ve been lurking for about a year now, and I really love reading your reviews and the discussion below and so I finally decided to join in 🙂 hopefully you’ll see me around more!

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  5. I’m a sucker for pronounced rubbery bass in songs so i think thats why Conversation gets the top1 for me. And i also love the bridge where the synths stay alone with their voices to build up the tension for the final bass drop.

    That being said, its nice to see a group that was criticized for not having solid album tracks on the first half of their career do a 180° and make excellent albuns one after the other. Literally the last 5 minis/full that they released contain standout tracks, sometimes better than the titles.

    Finally, while i understand the weak appeal of Alcohol-Free as a traditional pop song, it reminds me of brazilian music and, being my nationality, it makes me identify with it a lot.

    Obs: Longtime lurker posting for the first time as well, thank you Nick for the all the reviews and for helping me expand my music teste.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. oooh my pick would definitely be the funky baby blue love, its got that polished pop groove (the start even reminds me of levitating haha), and those drum fills just get me :)))

    Liked by 1 person

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