It’s no secret that TWICE is currently the most popular K-Pop girl group out there. Proven by their countless awards, million-selling singles, and countless physical albums sold, the girls are unstoppable. Fresh from their Japanese promotions for their single “One More Time,” the girls are back in their homeland with their very first full-length album, twicetagram. Despite being steady sellers, the curiosity regarding the group’s musical direction never left the minds of the public. There were a lot of expectations for the group to do well, but through their first album, we found out whether the group continued to experiment with their sound or if they revisited their older style.
Even after continuous teasing, both by JYP Entertainment and the TWICE members themselves through their V LIVEs, I still didn’t really have a clear vision of what “LIKEY” was going to sound like. Jihyo and Jeongyeon initially explained through one of their broadcasts that the new track was going to sound like a mix of “Like OOH-AHH” and “TT,” and true enough, when the brassy intro plays, you start to get some “Like OOH-AHH” vibes from it.
Out of the three title tracks the group released this year, “LIKEY” has sparked the most positive reactions from the public (judging from first listen), mainly because it sticks to the TWICE sound formulated by Black Eyed Pilseung. While “Knock Knock” and “SIGNAL” were catchy in their own right, “LIKEY” instantly won the hearts of many because it has a melody that can be easily digested and remembered, whereas the other two took some time before they won over the hearts of many casual listeners.
I’d like to point out that out of the four Black Eyed Pilseung-produced tracks for the girls, “LIKEY” is the heaviest in texture. It’s the most bass-heavy and the snappiest out of all the four, which is most audible in the verses. It has some trap-influences in it, much like in their previous BEP-produced hits, but this one sounds the most current because of the significant 808s. My favorite part of the arrangement is the verses, especially with the chord that arpeggiates around the drum pattern. It’s the simplest section of the arrangement, but it has the most room for vocal clarity, enabling the vocals to really shine.
Mina’s chorus is the most interesting part, melody-wise, because it calmly follows the build-up done by Momo and Tzuyu’s verse, unlike most choruses that start off hyped in order to establish a different energy. I’d also like to note that it was refreshing to have Mina open the chorus this time.
The New “TT”
A lot of TWICE’s title tracks have hooks that unintentionally became trends (one can even say they became part of the nation’s pop culture) and with “LIKEY,” you can feel that the group is trying to do it again—this time intentionally. I can’t even count how many times the word “likey” comes up in the hook of the track; it feels like it’s about to become 2017’s “I’m like TT.” The quirky “BB Cream Papapa, Lipstick Mam mam ma” line during Momo’s part in the pre-chorus is by far my favorite part of any member—it’s catchy but has a lot of character. A lot of people agree, as it trended the other day when the lyrics were first released, even when the track itself hadn’t come out yet. Legends only.
The Music Video
Music video-wise, I’d have to say that I am slightly disappointed. All of TWICE’s previous Korean videography was done by NAIVE; there were entertaining visual effects that came with every music video. Unfortunately, I felt like there’s a lack of that in their newest one. In the video for “SIGNAL,” I was so amazed because there were loads of effects that enhanced the members’ “superpowers,” and with that to live up to, I honestly felt like more could have been done with the video for “LIKEY.” Color grading and setting-wise, however, the video is A+, as usual.
After having the full album on loop for hours, I can say that twicetagram is loads better than SIGNAL, the last album they released. It may be quite a stretch to compare a full album to a mini-album, but I can feel the difference between the two as I didn’t really like any of the mini-album’s B-sides. It delights me to say that twicetagram is the group’s best album to date as it is experimental yet cohesive. I’ve found around four or five tracks that I’ve instantly fallen in love with, and I noticed that the group explored a great variety of genres throughout. All 13 of the tracks excel in both production value and musical thought, so even if I may not like some of the melodic compositions of some tracks, I am still left entertained by the production.
My favorite B-sides of the album are definitely “Turtle,” “WOW,” and “Look At Me.”
“Turtle,” which the group performed in their comeback showcase, is modeled to sound like a fandom-dedicated track. It’s very catchy and easy-going, but there’s a key change in the chorus that brings the song to another, more entertaining level. It doesn’t get boring at all despite it having an acoustic-pop base to it, unlike many of the tracks from the same genre that fall flat when left unprogressed. “WOW,” produced by Block B and ZICO’s long-time producer Pop Time, is very interesting. It’s an uptempo track that has a jazz base, but it is infused with a dance beat that adds a great twist. “Look At Me,” was written by former Wonder Girls member Hyerim and produced by Frants, known for his upbeat, pop-dance numbers. “Look At Me” is probably the most sparkly track from the album, but I’d like to commend the producers for not overdoing it. It is probably my favorite B-side off the album because it’s very light, and I love how the chorus was built.
Other great tracks from the album include “MISSING U,” “DING DONG,” and “24/7.” However, there isn’t a single skippable track, which makes me happy because I’m serious when I say that I didn’t like a single track from their last album.
It’s too soon to call their comeback with twicetagram their most successful one this year because the album’s only been out a few days; however, once promotions are over, I’m ready to call it that, simply because it is truly their best album to date. “LIKEY” has been enjoying immense popularity on the charts as well, and the initial reactions to the track have been 90% positive. Given that they released six versions of the album, there’s no doubt the physical sales are going to skyrocket, which is why I’m so close to making my judgment. As a ONCE, I’m very happy that the girls are out there promoting an album that’s of quality and has been crafted carefully, because with music, quality is really what matters in the end. Does twicetagram have the quality? Hell yeah it does, so go listen to it!
“LIKEY” Title Score – 9.5/10
Music Video Score – 9.0/10
twicetagram Album Score – 9.0/10