J-Band Of The Week! 11/30/09 – SCANDAL!
If you listen to Japanese music and don’t know about SCANDAL, then you obviously live under a rock. If, on the other hand, you are discovering SCANDAL for the first time then welcome to the POWER of Japan’s #1 Girly Rock Band for the new generation. I have no idea what that is supposed to mean but it comes straight from their website so it must mean something… I think… Make no mistake this a band that knows how to market themselves and make pretty darn nifty music.
SCANDAL was formed when 4 girls, Haruna Ono, Mami Sakazaki, Tomomi Ogawa and Rina Suzuki met at Dance/Vocal School. Taking the advice of their instructor to take up an instrument the four girls came otgether and began playing as a unit. Before long they were doing street performances in Tokyo and Osaka before being asked to perform at Shibuya Club Asia, which for a quartet of teenaged high school girls is quite a big deal. Not long after they were signed to Kitty Records, a sub-division of Kitty Films and through theri distribution deal with Tower Records Japan got theri first single Space Ranger on Marcg 3 2008. Three more singles followed throughout 2008 and 3 more in 2009, including Shojo S which was chosen as the 10th openign theme for the anime series BLEACH.
Finally on October 21 2009 the girl’s first full length CD BEST SCANDAL was released, featuring all their singles and 6 new songs. Along the way SCANDAL switched from Kitty Records to Sony Music Japan in order for their records to get wider release. The problem with Kitty’s distribution deal with Tower was that the records were produced in limited quantity and thus would sellout quickly.Now with wider distribution the girls have been reaching more fans and even making new ones. Some of those fans are even American as SCANDAL toured the United States in 2008 as part of the JAPAN NITE 2008 Tour, which featured several Japanese acts touring 9 nights in the U.S. Not bad for 4 girls from Osaka who, at that point, hadn’t even graduated High school.
The band’s look actually plays off of that fact as all four band members wear school uniforms for all points of promotion. Be it music videos, public appearances or even live shows, SCANDAL has built a following for both their look and music and in Japan, where a good look can rocket you to stardom despite negligible talent, that is something. Luckily the girls of SCANDAL have both talent AND a marketable look. Of course all 4 girls have graduated High School so it will be interesting to see if they repackage themselves when they start work for their second album. Until then we’ll just to enjoy the effort SCANDAL has put thus far and that really isn’t such a bad thing because these girls can only get better and better with progression of time!
Also to better market themselves, SCANDAL has even had a series of animated mini-sodes commisioned, telling how they came together. I think this might be the first actual anime about a band since the old Pink Lady anime, though I very well might be wrong about that. It is an effective marketing tool, so effective that Stereopony, another all girl band, is doing the same thing!
And now, for your viewing pleasure…
Space Ranger was SCANDAL’s first single and it is still one of their best. A totally updbeat song with shared vocals between Haruna and Tomomi. The best aprt of any SCANDAL video is Rina, as she just sits here playign her drums with the most excited look on her face, as if she thinking “OH MY GOD! I’m totally playing the drums!”.
Up next is my personal favorite is “Doll”, probably the best rock song on BEST SCANDAL. Rina is excited to be playing the drums and the rest of the girls absolutely demonstrate that they can rock it whenever they want!
Last is a song that ISN’T on BEST SCANDAL, a SCANDAL perform “Don’t Say Lazy”, the closing song from the anime K-ON!, a show about four high school girls who… form.. .their… own… band… eerie ain’t it?
SCANDAL performed this for a anime TV music special back in Summer of 2009 and they absolutely killed it! Listen to the crowd’s reaction, as that is a group of hardcore Japanese anime fans who are probably geeked as hell that SCANDAL is covering a song from one of their favorite shows (K-ON! was pretty popular when it aired). Want to bet this ends up on SCANDAL‘s next CD?