TWICE Wants to Know “What Is Love?”
TWICE enjoyed a well-deserved break from promotions for the last four months. After the group released their first studio album, twicetagram, and followed it with a repackage late last year, the group took their time preparing for their fifth mini-album earlier this year. Having had ample time to rest with only a few promotions in Japan several months back, the group has now returned—all fired up and ready to take over the charts once more!
“What Is Love?”
“What Is Love?” continues the hyper-pop sound the group introduced to the public through “Heart Shaker.” The group’s new single maximizes a fast BPM to keep the high energy level consistent all throughout, a technique similarly present in “Heart Shaker.” Compared to TWICE’s last single, however, “What Is Love?” makes room for a better blend in the instrumentals, allowing the synthesizers and the guitar section to mesh perfectly with the percussions, creating a great balance between the lower and higher frequencies in the mix. The group’s constantly-improving vocals have reached their peak with “What Is Love?” and the mastering done in the track highlights the fact. Mina’s pre-chorus section, in particular, beautifully mixes with the harmonies, making it one of the song’s main highlights.
While the arrangement is done by “Knock Knock” producer collapsedone, the track is completely written and composed by Park Jinyoung himself, making this the second TWICE title track he has written after last year’s “SIGNAL.” Unlike “SIGNAL” however, “What Is Love?” doesn’t require a few more listens to fully appreciate and understand its structure as its melodies stay relative to each other the whole time. The two producers do a great job in equally incorporating their signature sounds to “What Is Love?” with JYP’s cheerful and progressive melodies being brought to life by collapsedone’s savory pop-driven arrangement.
With eye-opening synthesizers and hard-hitting percussions, What Is Love?’s first B-side “SWEET TALKER” is one of the best album-exclusive tracks. Exploding with bright synthesizers in the first few seconds, the song can easily pass in becoming one of the group’s Japanese singles as it becomes reminiscent of their usual style, but the sugary nature of the track temporarily halts itself during a rap break before the chorus. Another solid B-side from the album is “DEJA VU,” a hard-hitting pop jam that presents a more angelic, yet mature TWICE through its vocal sections. Progressing slowly with the entrance of each instrument section, the song is unique with its use of a hook, committing to a seemingly typical “la la la”-worded melody that is actually quite effective and inevitably works. The tempo pickup during the bridge may feel like a refreshing twist to the track at first, but the listener soon realizes its necessity due to a following dubstep break.
Jihyo tried writing for the album this time and the result is “HO!,” a summery pop jam that maximizes a brass-driven band arrangement. While the track is one of the group’s better B-sides overall, the arrangement doesn’t do justice to the melodies written in it as it doesn’t seem to change as much as it should. The track overall, however, is still a solid addition, especially with the vocal performance of the group.
While all the B-sides from the mini-album are different from the group’s previous ones, the final B-side from the digital release of the album “SAY YES,” features the signature TWICE ballad sound to it. Staying acoustic-driven until the entrance of a few heavy kicks in the arrangement, the track draws a great deal of influence from R&B, while committing to its pop ballad nature. The song provides a great close to the album with its relaxing nature due to the airy techniques in the vocal direction.
What Is Love? may be TWICE’s best mini-album since their glorious debut EP The Story Begins, and it’s because it shows the most growth among all the group’s releases so far. While its title track stays true to the group’s sound and identity, the B-sides of What Is Love? are all equally well-produced, making it one of the group’s most cohesive releases overall, as well as one of the best EPs to come out of 2018 so far. While the group enjoys great response for bringing out a youthful track, it would be interesting to see if JYP Entertainment would allow the girls to showcase more maturity with the next comeback.