Twice has come a long way since their debut just one year ago. The dorky but fresh idols stormed the Kpop scene with their mega hit “Like Ooh Aah,” and have since blossomed into the it girl group of Korean Pop music, much to the credit of JYP Entertainment’s exceptional music production. Despite criticism lobbied at the girls regarding their level of vocal talent, they’ve still managed to put up impressive numbers in both online viewership and Korean air play, amassing a fervorous fan base in the process. All those Korean music awards they’ve won aren’t half bad, either.
Now, six months after their successful “Cheer Up” comeback, Twice has returned with their best track to date. “TT,” the title track of their third mini album, TWICEcoaster: Lane 1, emphasizes all nine members in their own unique way. Utilizing the same strategy as “Cheer Up,” JYP has worked it out so that each girl not only has their own part in the song, but their own aesthetic as well.
Naturally, with the October release date, the music video has a Halloween theme. And naturally, this of course has next to nothing to do with the lyrics, which are no more than standard, pop romance fare. While endearing, the theme is somewhat hit-and-miss in execution. As it is, the Halloween flair boils down to each member wearing a costume meant to tie in with their personalities. And though this is a concept I’ve yet to see in Kpop, (Halloween isn’t a particularly festive holiday in Korea), only some of the members make it work.
For example, it was difficult to look at Momo (my bias) hover in the air dressed as Tinkerbell. The costume didn’t fit her style as well as some of the others. Considering she’s the group’s lead dancer, a less whimsical outfit would have been a better choice. I’m not sure what she should have been, but none of the members should have been a fairy. I probably could have done without Dahyun’s running man in the bunny outfit, too. I get that she’s supposed to be an adorable and silly member, but I’m not upset knowing that that was only for the video and won’t be included in their stage performances.
On the other hand, Tzuyu, Nayeon, and Jihyo were all stunning as a seductive vampiress, she-devil, and ice queen, respectively, and I feel the video could have been improved by more of this thematic cohesion between the members. It should be noted however, that the more ridiculous elements of the M/V are the extent of the problems I have with this song. There are a couple of transitions between vocalists that can come off a little jarring, like when Sana brightly sings “Nanananana” between Tzuyu’s and Jihyo’s more subdued verses, but this doesn’t detract much.
The chorus of “TT” is a relentlessly catchy tune. How catchy, you ask? Well, let’s just say that there are washed-up child actors struggling through rehab with more control over their addictions than I do. My listen count is somewhere around half a billion as of this writing, partially so I can write this review, but mostly because I just can’t stop. Now, before I ruin all my critical credibility by shamelessly admitting that I’m unforgivable Twice trash, I have to clarify my stance. I like this song because I really like this song. I’m not so blinded by idol fandom as to automatically love anything they put out. In fact, with the exception of “One in a Million,” the remaining six songs on the album are ho-hum at best. Fortunately for everyone, “TT” is a big winner. The beats have a much more obvious dance vibe to them than any of their prior songs, and there is a lot of potential for remixes.
One of the biggest triumphs of the song is the balance Twice has, gracefully walking the line of unapologetic elegance and suffocating cuteness. Sana and Momo both bring a Japanese “kawaii” element in their parts, but it’s very clear that TWICE as a whole has been training their voices a lot more since “Like Ooh Aah.” Listening to the two songs one after the other is like night and day. There is a more developed sense of range, and though I don’t expect the girls to stop lip syncing their stage performances anytime soon, the song is definitely easier on western ears while remaining impossibly upbeat as ever. The choreography has even improved. Though the originality in “Like Ooh Aah” still stands out as their best to date, there are much more inspired movements in “TT” than in “Cheer Up,” making for more enjoyable stage performances. The standout move for me happens early on in the song, when Mina and Tzuyu mirror one another and cross arms. “Fashion show show,” indeed.
All in all, “TT” is a homerun of a comeback. Great synergy and dedication amongst the members has paid off in dividends for both their company and fans alike. It’s an instant mood changer. Not only is the song fun and make you want to sing along in a language you don’t speak, but it will make you want to come back and listen again and again. The improvements in their vocal talent, strong dance component, and JYP’s determination to make sure all nine members shine, highlights exactly why Twice is the girl group to beat.
Obligatory Number at the End – 8.75/10