SCANDAL is unclear and great in "Kiss From the Darkness"

Posted bykbrecordzzNovember 24, 2020Posted in2020s, albums, j-pop, japan, rock, scandal,

Six out of the eleven songs of “Kiss From the Darkness” have a music video (and one has a lyric video), which makes “Kiss From the Darkness” feel like a live show, or a movie, or a prolonged music video. We see Scandal rocking away in colored rooms, dancing in the street, and most notably we see the singer Haruna giving us the middle finger, which baffles everyone. They’re so polite that a manifest of evil like this looks fun and happy, an interesting way of confusing. They’ve been edgy in a soft way pretty much lately, and I would love to see more of that.

With this album Scandal wanted to find a new way of making music, not only renewing their sound but also their mindstate. A complete environment-changeup. Musically “Kiss from the darkness” isn’t very unlike the predecessor “Honey” (except a bit more poppy and less in your face) Thematically it’s not as distinct, it’s more loose and unclear. I can’t sense any bigger theme, which is reflected by the double-single “Masterpice / Mabataki”. “Masterpiece” is a confidence song about starting new (according to the band it’s their new debut song), written from the perspective of the band Scandal itself, as they had started an own record label and wanted to speak their mind. The other song, “Mabataki” is a soft and nice pop tune, with vocals sung with 10% power, and with band members chilling in silk clothes, drinking tea and bathing in a well-lit house. But the whole album is not as contrasting as this. It’s not a chaotic album, it’s just non-obvious. A kid wearing a heart is biking in a plate of yellow on the cover, which doesn’t make me less unsure.

Scandal’s lyrics are naive, they believe in music’s ability to change the world, and they believe in you. They can write songs that hype in an innocent way. They can write sad and sentimental songs without getting bitter. They write break-up songs without taking stand as the one who was right or the one who’s totally devastated, but instead highlighting what was nice. They speak beautifully about the band’s progress, and they are very sincere about everything they do. Overall: “Kiss From the Darkness” is a couple of cool songs and videos, a good album which I found significantly better at the second listen. Did I compare it to other works? Was my expectations too high after a two year wait? Is it just a grower? I don’t know, but I like it now.