TWICE – “Likey” Review

(Music Video) / (Dance Practice)

TWICE – Likey

Reviewed on March 21, 2018

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Unlike the group of TWICE songs where both composition and vocal execution are both questionable, “Likey” holds as vocally decent and definitely strong with its composition.

Continue reading “TWICE – “Likey” Review”

TWICE – “TWICE’s Elegant Private Life” Show Review

(Playlist: Episode Cuts)

TWICE
TWICE’s Elegant Private Life
(Produced by Mnet)

Reviewed on June 21, 2017

If one is a TWICE fan, I do
recommend the show. Otherwise, if one is watching (Korean) reality shows for
the sake of the show itself, I do find that there are other, better alternatives
to TEPL. But that said, this show can
definitely be a solid introduction to TWICE if viewers are unfamiliar of them
and desire to become fans.  

Edit:
Huge apologies for this post being delayed. As readers can tell from reading,
this review was written a while back and only now have I officially posted it.
Many reviews will be coming after this. Once again, I apologize to readers for
the lack of content for the past weeks.

Personal
Message:
As
mentioned in the prior post, I had my wisdom teeth extracted (on June 7) and
thus, have not been able to post as frequently as desired. That said, after a
full week of recovery and admittedly catching up on shows rather than reviews
and subtitling videos, I decided it might be best to return with a review on
the shows I have been watching. Afterwards, we have many special reviews—one,
in particular, was even requested by a label company directly. That review will
be coming out only a few days after this one and I am quite excited for it.
From there, we will then be reviewing IU (as it was requested by a personal
friend) and I hope to then review Fiestar’s Yezi’s recent solo comeback with
her new rap song. And of course, amidst all of this, I will be hastily catching
up on subtitling videos for Fiestar, and particularly I will be attempting to
cover videos regarding Yezi’s latest comeback.

Indeed, there is quite a lot for me
to do even if I should be merely relaxing during summer, but unfortunately I am
those types of people who feel that I should always be productive in some
form—though, biasedly, I argue we can
and should always be productive even
if that means something as casual as catching up on dramas. In fact, especially
for readers who are working, in their later years of high school or in college,
I might even share my own tips in a bonus post on why my particular definition
of “being productive” can not only help people be more productive in a general
sense, but also with—surprisingly—relaxing. But as this is unintentionally
sounding as if I have some secret to finding happiness in life, I might as well
explain what my definition of “productive” is: namely, that no matter what one
does, it brings something meaningful versus something wasteful. Now for an
actual example, while one would usually not consider watching shows to be remotely
“productive,” I argue it still is especially if one is “catching up.” After
all, catching up on TWICE shows and V Live broadcasts is much better than, for
a random example, mindlessly watching random, filler content videos on YouTube
that consists of a “top 10” of the most arbitrary items. Thus, this is what I
mean by constantly being “productive”: even if it involves relaxing, getting
the most out of an activity is what matters instead of mindlessly browsing the
internet and other typical, procrastinating activities.

Now while we are on a slight
tangent, before getting into our review on TWICE’s
Elegant Private Life
(or TEPL from
here on for convenience), I do wish to share how my wisdom teeth extraction
went. Especially as some readers might be nervous of their own impending
operation or that readers simply want to hear a story (though I am a horrible
storyteller), I find sharing my own experience might help put some at ease.
(And that said, feel free to skip below for the actual bonus review.) After
all, I personally sought out as many stories as I could prior to the surgery in
order to mentally prepare myself, but unfortunately I was not able to find any
story on the actual procedure itself. Thus, I will do my best to actually
explain what happens in case readers are worried or curious. But given that my
storytelling tends to be horrible, I will leave a firm reassurance: the surgery
truly is not that bad—in terms of the procedure, that is. If one feels anxious
on the actual surgery, I suggest that one redirects that anxiety towards afterwards as that is when the true pain
and struggles begin. And, if it helps ease anyone, if I can make it through the procedure—the biggest baby and a boy with
a ridiculously sensitive gag reflex and
whose wisdom teeth were very “impacted”—then I am certain everyone else can
make it without any problems at all.

Regarding how the experience went,
first I will clarify that I was merely numbed for it—or at least objectively
and medically speaking as we will get to. Before getting into what occurs,
though, let us talk about preparations. While there was no physical preparation
required at all (although some might opt for a sedative pill from what I have
heard), I did spend some time preparing mentally during the few hours before
the operation and I recommend readers to do the same. Specifically, I created a
music playlist on my phone—this serving as my “mental numbing” if we dare call
it such. For the playlist, I loaded up favorite songs, songs I planned on
finally listening to, and so forth. Arrogantly, I finished creating the
playlist when it would last roughly forty-five minutes; after all, typically,
that is the average length of the surgery from what basic internet research
revealed. That is where it all went wrong, however, but more to share on that
later.

As for the experience itself, after
comfortably settling—or restlessly squirming—into the dentist chair, I signed
off a waiver (if that is what it is called) in case of extremely rare complications that could arise. Now while I remember
one line that roughly read as: “…loss of feeling…” I admittedly ended up
skipping the remaining bullet points as my brain began reading the rest as
“death…death…death…” and merely signed it off. At this point, I am allowed to
plug in one earbud and do so hastily. Now, the idea behind listening to songs
during the surgery is that the songs are to, indeed, distract me from the fact
that my mouth was soon to be heavily mutilated and invaded by five or so devices
at once, that blood will be splashing everywhere, and that sounds of cracking
teeth would hopefully be drowned out. I hope that is not too gruesome to share.
On topic, after signing off the form for what felt like my execution, I had
four odd sticks inserted in my mouth. To this day, I have no idea on what these
were for except that two were placed on top and two at the bottom, and that it
left the typical “dentist-cherry-flavor.” Yes, incredibly vague terms but I
have no other way of describing it and I feel that my description of the flavor
is quite accurate. From here, I was left alone.

After some time resting, the mentioned
sticks were removed and it was now time for numbing. Although in theory having
a needle injected into one’s gums sounds painful, it merely felt like a small
yet sharp pinch. Admittedly I do not remember much regarding the numbing
process, but it truly is as simple as being injected and then being left alone
once again in order for the numbing to work. Now, regarding what it feels like
to be numbed, I should clarify my views are rather twisted: I, for some odd
reason, believed the numbing also came with some sedative. In reality, my mouth
was merely numbed; in other words, my entire mouth became solely tingly—nothing more or less. But, quite embarrassingly, I
managed to falsely convince myself I was also being sedated and thus, my
supposed drowsiness and even giggling when asked how I was doing are not actual
effects. I am sincerely am an embarrassing mess, but I find that this false
perception of being sedated helped as having music playing in one ear and
“sleeping” during the surgery definitely made the experience more tolerable.

Onto the actual surgery, there is
little to be said as one does not feel anything but pressure. After the dentist
checked to see if I was truly numbed, the procedure consisted of lots of suction
devices, drilling at times, and much pulling. The only struggle I had, as
alluded to earlier, is that I wished my music playlist was far lengthier. With
the first playing, music genuinely did distract me and helped keep me calm.
However, on the second playing, I began focusing less on the songs—due to
already hearing them once—and started to be more aware of what was happening. Likewise, it is also at
this point I realized I was not sedated at all and was quite ridiculous to have
even thought of such. On the third playing, not only are the songs now mere
background noises, but I also began to start opening my eyes versus “sleeping,”
and this is where I began gagging somewhat often as I realized there were many
devices in my mouth at once. Therefore, for my advice, I recommend readers to
have an incredibly lengthy playlist
as, especially if complications arise such as in my case (my bottom wisdom
teeth were quite difficult to remove), the procedure can last for a while and
having new songs to actively pay attention to helps.

After the surgery, this is where
pain finally comes—or, more specifically, after two hours after the surgery.
Post-operation directions will be given, but in summary, it consists of gently
biting on certain cloths to stop the bleeding. Also, as one can hardly spit
(nor should one even spit at  all until
many days later) due to the numbing, much time will also be spent merely
letting blood-infused-saliva dripping out of one’s mouth. For what I highly
recommend, once the numbing begins wearing off and one is capable of drinking
water, one should begin taking pain medicine. I made a horrible mistake of not
doing such as I arrogantly assumed I had high pain tolerance when, in reality, I
was simply still numbed. But, as soon as the numbing faded away, my pain grew
from a dull ache to, quite suddenly, my upper right wisdom teeth deciding to
give birth. It was at this moment I scrambled desperately for pain medicine as
I was quite certain I began seeing angels. Horrible jokes aside, though, I do
recommend taking pain medicine before all the numbing entirely disappears and
one is left with much pain.

All in all, wisdom teeth extraction
is not too bad at all and I hope I eased—or not—any reader who is anxious about
their own upcoming surgery. Finally onto the review now, during the days of
recovery, besides being excused to consuming an unhealthy amount of ice cream
and developing a phobia towards mashed potatoes, I have decided to watch TEPL. Now before discussing the show, given
the tradition of addressing the question of whether I cried or not while
watching this particular reality show, I admittedly did shed some tears as,
simply stated, if Jihyo cries then I cry with her. However of course, nothing
will ever come close to the bawling that occurred when I watched Jessica & Krystal and indeed the
sisters’ reality show remains the best I have ever watched. Lastly, for final
technical points to address, the playlist included are merely video cuts of the
full episodes. Readers who desire to watch the full show along with English
subtitles can easily find sources via internet searching. Furthermore, with
this review, rather than the typical format of ratings that I have done in the
past, show reviews will now merely consist of a “recommendation phrase” and
reasons for such in the analytical part. After all, while numbers provide a
concrete platform for readers to think and help organize a song’s breakdown,
the same cannot be easily applied to reality shows—or at least, not with my
current lack of knowledge regarding show qualities.

With all of that, let us finally
head into the review and see whether TEPL
worth watching or not.

_______________________________________________________

Recommendation:
If one is a TWICE fan, I do
recommend the show. Otherwise, if one is watching (Korean) reality shows for
the sake of the show itself, I do find that there are other, better alternatives
to TEPL. But that said, this show can
definitely be a solid introduction to TWICE if viewers are unfamiliar of them
and desire to become fans.  

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
With TEPL, it needs to first be clarified that the title itself is
misleading: the show does not focus purely or even predominantly on the
supposed “private life” of the ladies. Certainly there are snippets involved,
but admittedly the show functions more as any other typical (Korean) reality
show—notable comparisons being other common reality shows such as Showtime, One Fine Day, The TaeTiSeo,
and so forth. In other words, this means TEPL
does not focus on what the ladies do in their private times per se but rather,
it focuses on a myriad of general activities: watching TWICE cook; hearing the
ladies discuss their ideal types; observing their dorm life; laughing with them
at the expense of scaring Nayeon; and the like. For those familiar with reality
shows (or at least Korean ones; I am unsure if culturally the idea of “reality
shows” varies), this indeed follows the exact protocol as any other: observing
the ladies engaging with many activities—hence, the “reality” aspect.

Without necessarily summarizing all
of the activities depicted on the show as that would not only spoil the show
but would be redundant and not a “review” at all, I will instead focus on how effectively
the said activities are portrayed. With the activities, as mentioned, there are
a variety of them involved but more importantly the types of activities are diverse as well—this, in my view, is the
most important aspect. Let us use an example. During one episode, the main,
overarching theme of TWICE’s activity involved creating videos whether in the
form of creating a minor music video or parodying dramas. However, afterwards
the “topic” changes into something that is completely different than creating
videos. Especially when compared to other reality shows that might stick to the
same “topic” for an excessive time, I find that TEPL adopts a balanced form of depth and variety. A contrasting
example to use is with Jessica &
Krystal
where in one episode, while the ladies were engaged in multiple
activities, the overall “topic” was still that of shopping. With TEPL, if we were to imagine a similar scenario,
what would occur instead would be that the topic of shopping only lasts for a certain
amount before that very topic soon changes to something completely different.
Thus, the overall point is this: the show allows TWICE and viewers to
experience multiple “topics” with an amount of depth that is not too short or
too long. That said, depending on one’s preferences, this can be both good and
bad. Viewers who enjoy depth versus breadth might find this show less appealing
(and thus enjoy other shows such as Jessica
& Krystal
more). On the other hand, those who enjoy breadth more than
depth would find TEPL suiting as the
show does focus more on showing multiple sides to TWICE (and this does make
sense given that this show was the ladies’ first, major reality show).

With content out of the way, let us
actually focus on the show in a structural sense as, unlike all reality shows I
have previously watched, the editing to the show is rather peculiar. Here, I
find that the show’s format can easily deter—or attract—viewers. For what I am
specifically referring to, the episodes are seemingly divided in half: the
first half of an episode consists of one main “topic” and the second half
begins another topic. This, though, means that the second half’s topic is then
finished in the next episode—something
that is quite odd as typical reality shows simply organize an entire episode
around one topic. To use a fictional example as this might be clearer, let us
pretend that in episode 5, the first half of the episode consists of TWICE
cooking. Then, the second half would make a sudden switch where it is about
TWICE dancing. From there, episode 6’s first half would be finishing up the
part about dancing and then the remaining half will be a new topic. In a
general sense, this is how TEPL is
formatted throughout all of its episodes minus, perhaps, the first episode or
so.

Different or not, this structure to
the show comes with both strengths and weaknesses. On the positive side,
because of how episodes are halved on topics, it leaves a sense of the episode
having more variety. After all, rather than one episode being focused on one
activity, there are now two. Furthermore, when it comes to length, having each
episode segmented in this manner prevents them from feeling too excessive; an
entire episode focused purely on one topic can, indeed, feel repetitive especially
if all of the episodes follow a similar trend. And—though the following could
easily be a negative—I found myself more engaged to the show as the episodes
naturally left “cliffhangers”: the remaining half of a topic would only be
finished on the next episode. Thus, if episode 6 ended with dancing, the
beginning half of episode 7 would be the conclusion of such—and this does work
well with keeping viewers interested and desiring more.

However, despite all these potential
benefits, the biggest issue that comes is how the show can at times feel
incredibly disorganized. There is a reason reality shows tend to follow the tradition
of keeping each episode highly focused on a certain activity or topic: it is
intuitive and easy to follow. While I did watch TEPL in a dedicated manner as I watched an episode per day, I can
imagine the show would be more difficult to keep track of if a viewer watches
the episodes sparingly. For example, even with watching an episode every day, there
were still moments where I had to actually re-watch the prior episode’s ending
to recall what was happening in the current episode. This confusion occurs
because a new episode is not a new
topic or activity; it is the continuation
of one. As such, if a viewer has poor memory or watches an episode every three
days, it can be understood on why this show’s structure is problematic and that
the traditional format—a new episode is genuinely new—would be far more
effective. Nevertheless, even if not more effective than the usual format of
reality shows, I appreciate Mnet’s attempt of creating a new style for the
show.

Overall, as said in the
recommendation, this show is definitely worth watching if one is a fan of TWICE
or are trying to become a fan or at least become familiar with the ladies. However,
when it comes to reality shows in a general sense, there are far more
interesting shows that exist such as Jessica
& Krystal
or Europe That GFriend
Loves
. But, in terms of all of the reality shows TWICE have done, TEPL is definitely a highlight and I
argue is tied with TWICE TV4. (And on
that note, once TWICE TV5 is
finished, I plan on reviewing it as well as—so far, at least—it is one of the
poorer reality shows I have watched. That said, the fifth season is interesting
as it seems to be more akin to standard vlogs rather than an actual reality
show as were seasons three and four.)

For finals words, after finally
getting much more familiar with TWICE and arguably even becoming a fan, I now
understand why the ladies are quite popular despite how, in my argument, they
are one of the more musically weak groups in the K-Pop scene—or at least, from
what they have portrayed via their songs. Certainly, they are individually
improving with their vocals (and of course, that Jihyo, Nayeon, and Jeongyeon
are all already solid vocalists) and TWICE does in fact have solid songs such
as “Knock Knock,” “Only You,” and “1 to 10,” but in an overall view, I and
perhaps others can agree TWICE is not the strongest musical group at all. Ignoring
the genuinely disrespectful and immature people who bash TWICE personally, the
ladies’ weaker vocals and even songs (I argue all title songs minus “Knock
Knock” are quite weak) is where a majority of criticism towards the group comes
from. After all, TWICE is arguably the
most
popular female group in K-Pop as of now, and this somehow is the case
despite the mentioned lacking in their songs and singing. Of course their
dancing is definitely solid and their strongest suit, but it would be hard to
imagine that their choreographies are able to compensate for everything else to
the degree of becoming one of the most popular artists in K-Pop. What, then, I argue
leads to TWICE’s success is the accompanying aspect to K-Pop: the personal
side. TWICE has mastered a way of sincerely connecting to fans on a personal
level—and I argue the secret is none other than how the ladies are very humble
and genuine when on camera. For an artist to thrive, they need both: solid
music and dances and appealing on a
personal level. Even if TWICE lacks the former, they more than make up in the
latter and this is perhaps why TWICE is utterly popular.

All in all, and to tie back to this
review, TEPL is one example of the
ladies appealing to the public with their personalities and interactions. And
so, while I hope to see TWICE improving musically, I also hope the ladies
continue to maintain their ability to connect with fans as this is what has
potentially led to their massive success.

_______________________________________________________

As readers can tell, this post
should have been posted much longer ago. It is only now that I have finished
some of the writing that was needed, but I do apologize greatly. Reviews will
most likely take on a back-to-back trend so that everything is caught up.
Unfortunately, while I do deserve some time to relax over summer, I have become
far too relaxed and have put off reviews and even subtitling videos for
Fiestar. I will hastily work on catching up with the latter and will also work
on catching up on reviews. The next review is a special one as it was directly requested
by a label company and thus, I hope readers enjoy it.

Thank you for reading or skimming
this review. Look forward for content to finally resume a standard schedule.

TWICE – “Only You” Review

(Audio—unofficial upload)

TWICE – Only You

Reviewed
on May 17, 2017

For
this review, while we will always look at both the strengths and weaknesses
involved, I find that a more productive discussion will come from heavily
focusing on why the song is, indeed
from my argument, good. In particular, I wish to tune into certain strategies
employed; specifically, we will discuss the role of the instrumental’s heavier
bass, the diversity of the vocals and how said vocals are accommodated for the
ladies’ vocal abilities, and how the song itself is structured and controls its
flow for certain effects.

Personal Message:
First of all, I do wish to make this
explicit: I will not be reviewing
“Signal,” TWICE’s actual comeback song. Now, should readers or TWICE fans be
incredibly curious, I am open to reviewing it only if a request is sent. That said, to share my thoughts on
“Signal,” it sadly is a disappointing song akin to—harshly stated—the rest of
TWICE’s title songs excluding “Knock Knock.” “Knock Knock” is still one of my
favorite songs in general, and even in a more critical lens, I argue “Knock
Knock” (as I did in my review of it) is incredibly well composed
especially for how the song adopts a very “stereotypical” pop style. But
regarding the original topic, indeed I find “Like Ooh-Ahh,” “Cheer Up,” and
even “TT” to all be weaker songs in general. In fact, I have already reviewed
all of them minus “Cheer Up,” and thus if readers are curious on my take, I
suggest readers reading the respective reviews. Unfortunately, while “Knock
Knock”—again, in my argument—broke
the chain of weaker songs, “Signal” is a return back into said weaker songs. JYP’s
composition of the song is, with all due respect, highly questionable. Even
more critically and to perhaps overstep my boundaries, I will even go as far as
to say JYP’s composition skills in
general
has tended to be weaker. I personally have yet to find a song
composed by JYP that has stunned me, and I am afraid “Signal” might be one of
his weakest works as of yet. (Again, this is not to say JYP is necessarily a
bad composer; he definitely is very knowledgeable and experienced, and quite
obviously, is far superior to I in this field. Thus, I hope readers interpret
my words as a form of a critical, bold critique rather than insults.)

On topic for this review, I admit I am
doing acts that are quite peculiar: for one, I am reviewing a song despite not
letting at least three days pass in order to remove instances of extreme bias
taking place; secondly, I am reviewing a side-track—a song that is a part of
the album but is not the main title. Humorously, though, I argue “Only You” should be the title track; if this was
TWICE’s comeback for the upcoming summer, this would have potentially shocked
many people in terms of music quality. (To clarify, “Signal” is “marketing”
well; their comeback, despite me rendering it as a very poor song, is
surprisingly holding number one on music charts and is garnering many sales.
The issues, though, are that other music reviewers have rated it poorly and
that many listeners find it a weaker song—this being indicated by an absurdly high
dislike ratio on the music video.) The ladies, after all, are oftentimes
critiqued for poorer vocal execution and even having overly generic pop songs.
In fact, to some extent, even I also agree with these criticisms. That said,
“Only You” is—once again, in my argument—the best song TWICE has ever released
both in terms of composition but also vocal execution. It truly is an amazing
song that showcases TWICE’s vocal skills at their peak, and the composition is
one that drastically deviates away from the more generic pop style that group
has claimed as their signature sound and style.

Finally, before getting right into the review,
I will leave a disclaimer. If readers have noticed from the blog’s side
information, “Only You” is currently my favorite song of all-time. Without
getting into the critical aspect yet, I will share that “Only You” matches my
music preferences perfectly: it
follows an upbeat pacing all while remaining “linear” akin to ballads; the
vocals consist of both simple yet complex lines and have both rapping and
singing; the instrumental focuses on a heavier bass line; and so on. The point
being, even without focusing on the actual composition at hand, I admit I very
much biasedly enjoy this song as its sounds and flow are what I prefer in songs
and I do hope readers realize I could easily be biased within this review—more
so as I am not waiting for the excitement to die down via waiting at least
three days before reviewing. However, of course, with now feeling relatively
confident in analyzing songs in a critical manner—or more realistically
speaking, me being a foolish and arrogant boy—I believe that I can review the
song without entirely projecting my biases. Regarding the composers of this
song, while I seldom do explicitly give credit, I wish to do so here: David
Anthony Eames, Debbie—Jane Blackwell, and 72 are the composers of “Only You.” These
are the men and women who authored this very song. Their work has brought what
I argue is TWICE’s best song of all-time.

For this review, while we will
always look at both the strengths and weaknesses involved, I find that a more
productive discussion will come from heavily focusing on why the song is, indeed from my argument, good. In particular, I
wish to tune into certain strategies employed; specifically, we will discuss the
role of the instrumental’s heavier bass, the diversity of the vocals and how
said vocals are accommodated for the ladies’ vocal abilities, and how the song
itself is structured and controls its flow for certain effects.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 7/10
(7.00/10 raw score) – “Above average”


Vocals: 7/10


Sections: 7/10
(7.13/10 raw score)

Introduction, Verse,
Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Rap, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Rap, Bridge
(Chorus), Chorus, Conclusion (Post-Chorus)

1.     Introduction:
7/10

2.     Verse: 7/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 8/10

4.     Chorus: 7/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 7/10

6.     Rap: 7/10

7.     Bridge (Chorus): 7/10

8.     Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 7/10


Instrumental: 7/10


Lyrics: 7/10

Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only you

It’s weird, I didn’t imagine it at first
Just like a sugar rush
You slowly approached me
and knocked on the doors of my tired heart
Is that when it started?
I thought you were a good friend
Before I knew it, I kept thinking of you
My cheeks get red and I only smile
The love’s already begun

You’re sweet you’re just like chocolate candy
I can’t hide anymore,
I want to show you how big my heart has grown
Let’s go

Always stay with me, don’t leave me boy
Now I know with my heart I’ve got only you
Look into my eyes, boy, it’s full of hearts
No matter what anyone says I’ve got only, only you

Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only you

I’ve got O-N-L-Y you
Don’t ask why
Real love has no reasons
Call me “jelly”
Call me every day
Our secret code fluttering love mode
Baby, baby, tell me, what do you think?
Why is it so complicated, you want me too
You pretend you don’t but I can tell,
I can tell that’s right
Now come here, kiss me, butterfly

Ooh
I tremble when we brush a little
Ooh
When we touch a little my heart goes
Kung*, kung, kung, it’s for sure L-O-V-E
Let’s go

Always stay with me, don’t leave me boy
Now I know with my heart I’ve got only you
Look into my eyes, boy, it’s full of hearts
No matter what anyone says I’ve got only, only you

Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only you

Okay, let’s go
Don’t make me wait any longer, I’ve only got one answer
(Only you, always you)
Ticklish first love makes me feel like I’m gonna fly
(Only you, always you)
Hold my hand tightly, never ever let go
(Only you, always you)
You and me against the world, I’m not afraid
(Only you, always you)

Always stay with me, don’t leave me boy
Now I know with my heart I’ve got only you
Look into my eyes, boy, it’s full of hearts
No matter what anyone says I’ve got only, only you

Always stay with me, don’t leave me boy
Now I know with my heart I’ve got only you
Look into my eyes, boy, it’s full of hearts
No matter what anyone says I’ve got only, only you

Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only, o-o-only, only you
Only you

*Akin to how this same word was used in TWICE’s “Knock Knock,”
“kung” is the Korean linguistic representation of a “bam”-like noise.
English equivalents in this case would be, for examples, “pit-pat” or
that one’s heart goes “thump thump.”

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Now
that all of the analytical work is actually done, I confess: I am surprised the
song in whole rates only at a seven. Not that that rating is bad at all;
indeed, if anything, getting an “above average” rating nowadays is almost a
feat when considering how I am now incredibly critical of pop songs. That said,
I personally anticipated “Only You” scoring an eight. Critically, of course,
this song does not come close to making it that far though this is not to
discredit how dazzling of a song it still is.

Onto
the review, as there are too many aspects to this song to discuss and in fact,
many of which we will not even have time for in this review (as, again, I am
focusing on being concise for reviews rather than sharing an entire dissection
of a song as I used to in the past), we will stick to what I established
earlier in the review. Already, one key element to “Only You” is its instrumental
and more specifically, how it cleverly and effectively manipulates its heavier
bass line. For example, with the bass line serving as the distinctive
foundation and even sound to the instrumental, it allows the song to easily
make core transitions. Let us take a look at the rap sections as these provide
an excellent background to why the instrumental’s heavier bass is vital. With the
rapping, they notably are somewhat odd sections in terms of not just the
initial transition, but also how the instrumental during these moments entirely
deviate from what has already been established. After all, the first rap in
particular seems to adopt a deeper and more distorted instrumental than the
rest of the song—of which features a lighter instrumental sound. While
listeners might view this as a possible point of critique, tying back to my
argument however, and we will actually find that how the composers manipulate
the heavier bass allows this moment to be saved. The first rap’s bass line—despite
its deeper sound and distortion—is still recognizable as being the same bass
line that is already at play throughout the song. Thus, this bass line serves
as reference point: it is the same bass line that listeners can easily seek
out, but merely changed in its sound. And especially if we scope out further,
we realize this bass transformation parallels the song in its entirety as the
first rap section is still following
the same flow, though with a changed sound. In other words, this example is
merely one that showcases how the instrumental—particularly the reliance on a
heavier bass line—is used by the composers in a structural sense of keeping the
song organized. Of course, though, sonic benefits exist as well such as how the
instrumental covers the lower range of sounds especially as TWICE’s vocals
focus more towards the higher end barring perhaps the pre-choruses. We will not
dive in much further details here, however.

Regarding the next focus, the vocals
and the diversity within this field are rather impressive. On a simplistic
level, there is praise for how “Only You” is able to incorporate both rapping
and singing, but more importantly, that within these very branches that there
are still variances within. For example, the first rapping focused more on
power and flow while the second rapping focuses on building up the song.
Similarly, the singing ranged from stronger vocal beltings such as at the
choruses to smooth, slower and rhythmic singing such as at the verses and
pre-choruses. Overall, then, especially as vocal variety tends to be a key
appeal in pop songs, we can already understand why “Only You” sounds great
vocally as it covers a wonderful range of styles that will very likely hold
listeners’ attentions.

All that said, this is the minimal
aspect that I wish for us to home in on. What I find more relevant for
discussion is when we actually analyze the vocals in the context of TWICE’s vocal roles and abilities. Particularly, I find
that “Only You” truly accommodates TWICE’s vocal strength and weaknesses in
perhaps the most effective way I have heard as of yet. First, though, we have
to understand what I connote when I say “vocal roles.” As some readers are
aware of, groups tend to be split with “main vocal,” “lead vocal,” and “sub
vocal.” The former, in short, are members who can handle more complex and
difficult singer while the latter are members who tend to be weaker singers.
The middle role is, quite literally, the actual middle ground between the
mentioned two. While I do not wish to necessarily begin a debate regarding which
member in TWICE has which roles (these are “official” but I personally have my
own mental list as I find this to be far more accurate than what official websites
claim), I do wish to focus on how in “Only You,” the sub vocalists are finally
singing in an appropriate context.

I think it first makes more sense to
discuss the opposite, however: discussing examples of when the sub vocalists
did not get to sing in their right
contexts. “Cheer Up” is one example in that Sana’s “shy shy shy” line, while it
is now a pop cultural phenomenon, is a very weak musical line that does not
showcase her vocal skills at all. Another example is how in “TT,” both Momo’s
and Sana’s pairing at the pre-choruses are also a moment of weaker vocals. What
is troubling—and to get to my main point—is that the sub vocalists in many past
songs have been delegated to lines that are not
musically-orientated at all per se. Finally, though, in “Only You,” the sub
vocalists have lines that are much more intensive and complex in comparison to
their other songs but most importantly, “Only You” ‘s lines that involve the
sub vocalists actually involve them singing as harsh as that may sound. And
indeed, they definitely can sing and the sub vocalists of TWICE delivered many
impressive, fluid and lower-pitched lines for “Only You” and that deserves
credit as their parts are as vital as, for example, Nayeon’s and Jihyo’s lines
at the choruses (and equally Jeongyeong’s beltings throughout the song). In
summary, “Only You” showcases not just vocal variety, but it also showcases
excellent vocal execution in the first place and that is highly emphasized due—especially
when contrasting prior songs—to how the sub vocalists finally have
musically-based lines rather than being restricted to catchy, filler lines as
they historically have been.

Lastly, for the last point I will
discuss, the song itself was brilliantly structured. Specifically for what I
wish to discuss, the composers’ ideas on how to control the song’s flow are
very impressive. Although I do wish to discuss each and every section,
realistically it would be best to discuss merely one: the pre-choruses. I will
even go to the extremes of claiming that the pre-choruses in “Only You” are the
best ones I have ever heard in any pop song. In terms of what actually occurs
during these parts, nothing mind-blowing happens at all despite how much praise
I am giving. Summarizing the pre-choruses, they follow this overall strategy: The
pre-chorus in this song, first of all, is the moment when the vocals and instrumental
begin to mix together—as indicated by the slower pacing and how the vocals are
now lower-pitched to suit with the bass line and that the rhythm becomes a
prominent feature. Structurally, though, the pre-chorus relaxes the song via
slowing down and, once again, switching focus to the beats and rhythm that soon
begin to accelerate and climax in the form of the choruses. Again, nothing is
unique at all for the pre-choruses, and yet I am very surprised. What I actually
find delightful is how the pre-choruses utilize two different types of build up: the pre-choruses both relax the
song, but equally within the same space and time, the sections soon build up
the song back into a heightened state in a very natural, seamless manner due to
how the aural component meshed both vocals and instrumental. Typically only one
type is used. Using “TT” once again as an example, in that song we find that
the pre-choruses focus on hyping up the song—but, quite clearly, the
pre-choruses in that song do not do both. Another example in mind is the recent
review of VARSITY’s “U R My Only One.” In that song, the pre-choruses “downgrade”
as its form of building up the song, and though it admittedly does heighten the
song back akin to “Only You,” it does so in a very rigid, explicit manner while
“Only You” is able to do this without even attracting attention to this very
strategy.

And, while I seldom critique lyrics
as of the late—perhaps, in once again a harsh manner, due to the fact that many
lyrics of recently reviewed songs are all average—“Only You” has solid lyrics. The
fact that the verse and raps are not repeats and that even the pre-choruses use
different details rather than typically just recycling the same section helps
bring the lyrics up in rating. Furthermore, though the following does not
account at all for the score as it is the variety of details I care for, I hope
readers also enjoyed the song’s lyrics in a romantic sense. The plot is quite
endearing and sweet and in the overarching view of “Only You,” the lyrics
holding up well serves as the final, pretty wrapping to the song.

Praises aside, however, I still find
it crucial that we discuss the faults of the song. The main fault I have is how
the last rap and final portion of the song begin to create a tedious sound. With
the last rap, we find it alternating between rapping and chanting, and though
this makes sense on a structural level, chanting in songs are always at risk
due to how they can easily create a mundane sound if not balanced appropriately
with some other factor. Now, the composers did attempt that very act of
balancing via using the chorus as the bridge—thus, it counters the chanting’s
stale phrases through a very delicate, tuneful section. However, the somewhat
comical aspect is that this solution now creates another problem: that a
follow-up chorus—the regular one—is used to get the song moving again. The
issue here, of course, is that given the nature of the choruses in that they
are lengthier and rely on a linear flow, having two back-to-back choruses
becomes overly dragging of the song. While ultimately these faults are not
significant in the main view of the song, it still is noteworthy as “Only You”
starts off impressive but begins to languish as the song runs. It is always desirable
for songs to get better the further it gets, such after all is the
iconic structure of ballads, and thus the fact that “Only You” does the
opposite can definitely be concerning.

All in all, “Only You” is an amazing
song. It personally is my favorite song of all-time, and I expect it will stay
that way for many months if not even at least a year. Additionally, regardless
of what my favorites are, I personally argue it is TWICE’s best song. Should
fans ever desire to mute the mouths of those who are critiquing the group’s
music without being critical (emphasis: without
being critical
; it is fine to critique TWICE’s music as I do because I am
being critical and respectful), the song should be self-explanatory and can easily
be used to defend the ladies. What upsets me the most is how this song is not
the title and comeback track; it possesses a “summer sound” that would fit the
upcoming months, and with its style of infusing ballad-like elements while
containing the usual pop sound of TWICE, it truly astounds me that “Signal” was
chosen over this song. (But given that “Signal” is composed and produced by
JYP, their CEO, it perhaps makes sense on why that song is privileged as the
title song.)

As for final remarks, TWICE is a
group that does have music potential. Understandably, TWICE has been
historically a weaker group musically speaking as, I argue, all of their title
tracks are poor excluding “Knock Knock.” But, especially with extreme hate
spewed at the ladies on a personal level, I wish to remind readers—whether fans
or non-fans of TWICE—that criticism can only be kept in an art-based context. In other words, their dances, music
videos, and songs can be and should
be critiqued. What is not ethical is when listeners decide to attack the ladies
personally (especially as some might
feel that, understandably, it is “unfair” that TWICE is quite popular despite being
relatively musically weak). Never should the ladies themselves be attacked
unless if that genuinely is a case, though the likelihood is already near
impossible. (For example, if Jihyo is found to be an abusive leader and
constantly physically beats the members, then of course she can be personally
critiqued. But of course, this is a silly fake example and Jihyo would never do
such, but the point is that TWICE can only be critiqued musically and not
personally as, from my understanding, they truly are upright women who attempt
to always do as much good for the world as they can.)

Overall, while I personally will
forever remain critical of all of their title tracks barring “Knock Knock,”
TWICE is a group I would consider myself a fan of. They do have a lot of music
potential—this we hear in “1 to 10” or in “Only You” for examples—and I hope we
will hear more of a musical TWICE and less of a “generic pop group” TWICE. It
is a tough situation, however, as sheer popularity appeal via catchy songs is
what made TWICE get this far (and, pessimistically said, music quality in the
pop scene does not get as much respect as it should be as fans care more about
the aesthetic pleasures instead—which, again, is understandable). But indeed, I
remain optimistic that TWICE will head towards a more musical-orientated side
soon. And I remain optimistic and mostly delusional that Jihyo will one day get
down on one knee and propose to me. This, though, is probably irrelevant to the
review.

_______________________________________________________

Horrible
jokes aside, thank you for reading this review whether in full or short. I
appreciate it and hope, most importantly, that it sparks some deeper thinking
about music or K-Pop for readers. That is why I write reviews; I do not write
for the popularity and attention (after all, writing music reviews is a
horrible way to get attention), but that I hope I can begin discussions and
actively engage readers to being more critical to K-Pop.

For
the next review, I have received an indirect request: IU’s “Palette.” I claim it
is an indirect request as a dear friend is the one who personally asked me.
Thus, in some ways, it still is a request even if not sent in officially via
the blog. Nonetheless, that will be the next song we focus on. Afterwards, I
have mixes of Critical Discussion posts and artists that have yet to be
reviewed at all (though IU is interesting an artist I have yet to review) that we
will cover. Until then, “[a]lways stay with me, don’t leave me boy/girl”—because,
quite obviously, I am a rather clingy boy. Jokes aside, look forward to IU’s “Palette.”  

Critical Discussion: “Analyzing the Cult of MR Removed Believers: Understanding the Truth Behind Lip-Syncing and Vocal Skills (ft. TWICE)”

“Analyzing
the Cult of MR Removed Believers: Understanding the Truth Behind Lip-Syncing
and Vocal Skills (ft. TWICE)”

(AtrocityCL’s Video and Commentary)

Posted on May 8, 2017

image

(In fact, I came across a blog post that went into the technical aspect and why MR Removed in of itself is already a process with major faults and unreliability. My video in particular focuses more on understanding the physical limitations of simultaneously singing and dancing and why focusing on MR Removed is a waste when it comes to the analysis of vocals and even pop music in general.)

Personal
Message:
Indeed,
for once I am making a video to present my ideas and discussion. There are many
reasons for this sudden change—besides the fact that I am on summer and thus
have the time to be creative and have fun. (And I am currently working on a
review request, to clarify. Apologies for the delay; I hope to finish the review by May 9.) One reason for this video format is I desire to
reach the broadest audience possible; admittedly with videos, they garner many
more views than would a blog post. This is understandable given how videos
address more types of learning other than reading as it includes audio,
visuals, and the like. And as an upcoming educator, I entirely embrace this: I
am willing to definitely address all types of learning styles, and with this
Critical Discussion possessing an education-like tone, I decided a video format
would serve the best purpose. Furthermore, having actual audio and visuals for
this discussion is crucial as readers should be able to hear what I am discussing rather than hypothesizing and taking my
sheer words as truth. Additionally, this will also be the first time readers can hear
my physical voice—though this is definitely a downside and I wish I was
soft-spoken and sounded akin to the men in dramas who have the typical
charming, clear and crisp voices that everyone envies. I, on the other hand, was gifted with a less pretty voice.

Self-deprecating jokes aside, please feel
free to click the link and enjoy the video and discussion that comes with it. Finally
for a last point, readers should bear in mind this is a “simplistic” analysis
of MR Removed as I do not go into the heavy technical
aspects of why even the process of MR Removed is worthy of questioning. (In fact, I came across a blog post that went into the technical aspect and why MR Removed in of itself is already a process with major faults and unreliability. My video in particular focuses more on understanding the physical limitations of simultaneously singing and dancing and why focusing on MR Removed is a waste when it comes to the analysis of vocals and even pop music in general.)

_______________________________________________________

Context:
*
Refer to the linked video.

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
*
Refer to the linked video.

_______________________________________________________

Conclusion:
*
Refer to the linked video.

_______________________________________________________

*Refer to the linked video.

TWICE – “Knock Knock” Review

(Dance Practice) / (Music Video) / (Live
Performance)

TWICE – Knock Knock

Reviewed
on March 13, 2017

image

Although
an alarming amount of listeners dislike the song for very justified, critical
reasons—specifically that “Knock Knock” merely exploits catchiness for appeal—I
have to disagree. Certainly the song uses “catchiness” as a concept, but I
argue Collapsedone and Mayu Wakisaka went beyond using such for raw appeal.
Throughout the song, said catchiness is used as an accommodating factor by compensating
for moments of weaker vocal execution. Furthermore, how Collapsedone and Mayu
Wakisaka structured the song leads to many contrasting points that, contrary to
the expected result of such impairing the song, actually end up in favor of the
song by using said contrasts to further build upon the song’s progression.

Personal Message:
Well, this review is incredibly
awkward with its timing in regards to a recent “dating scandal” between GOT7’s
BamBam and TWICE’s Mina—two labelmates under JYP Entertainment. To clarify, I am
absolutely not reviewing this song because of this incident serving as
motivation; I have long been planning to review “Knock Knock” for weeks due to musical and intellectual reasons. But, while we are on this topic, I wish to
take this time to express my own obviously mature, non-delusional points as “good
fans” are currently doing: like these very ethical and upright “fans” who are
bashing Mina and BamBam, I too forbid TWICE from dating. Specifically, Jihyo will
never be allowed to date because I know unequivocally one day we will meet. And
once we meet, Jihyo will get on one knee and hold up a ring and ask me to marry
her, and with this I will tearfully accept it and we will embrace all while
TWICE’s “Melting” plays in the background from who-knows-where. We will then
raise two daughters and two dogs, and I will spend most of my time raising the children
and be a part-time teacher while she is off with TWICE. We will then live
happily-ever-after and spend much time together cuddling and helping each other
through life, and we will then die together eventually. The end. Obviously if
someone wishes to hire me to direct dramas, I would be more than glad to as I
am clearly a professional with that. Also if it is not clear to readers on why
I am still single, this embarrassing story I improvised in seconds probably
answers that question.

But sarcastic, mockery tone aside, I
do wish to clarify I actually have become a huge fan of Jihyo. I highly admire
her leadership, her care for the members, her work ethics, and I personally
have fallen in love with her voice. Most impressively, though, I admire her so
much for overcoming the ridiculous amount of body-shaming she experienced in
the past and even at times in the present. Despite the current unfair beauty
standards in place (perhaps one day I will share my interesting and somewhat
bizarre take to “beauty”—that “beauty” is both natural but also potentially a
social construction as it ties into gender, class, and race), I assert Jihyo is
very much beautiful—both physically and non-physically. And indeed, every woman
and man and simply human being should be able to feel that way about themselves
and not be stricken down by beauty standards in place. All skin complexions are
beautiful; all body types are beautiful; all weights are beautiful; and so on.

And to leave my serious remarks on
this petty incident TWICE’s Mina and GOT7’s BamBam are in, indeed, it is just
that: petty—in terms of fans’ reactions, that is. JYP Entertainment has
confirmed the two are merely friends, but of course, even if they are to be
dating as fans viciously claim, this is irrelevant and I hope the two the best
of their relationship—whether as friends or as a couple. Idols are—believe it
or not—normal human beings who happen to work in a particular branch of
entertainment. Now I do not wish to downplay the fact that idols’ roles are
quite momentous with being role models and that it is a privilege for them to
work with music, but in the end, we have to acknowledge that being an idol is
merely a job. Thus, this objectifying that oftentimes occurs towards idols—whether
treating them as trophies that are “owned” by fans, sexualizing them or
whatever else—is quite unethical. For news that these supposed “fans” of both
GOT7 and TWICE should care about, these
anti-dating “fans” should recall GOT7’s Jackson and TWICE’s Jihyo are
respectively sick and injured. That is where our attention should be, and to
the two idols, I hope the two a healthy and hasty recovery. And for actual fans
who are very supportive of both Mina and BamBam, let us continue being true
fans and helping our beloved idols make it through this sensitive period
especially as both groups are busy with their comebacks. Save the delusional
fantasies that the two potentially dating is “betraying” fans because there
simply is no betraying whatsoever; assuming
my mathematically skills have not entirely vanished, both of them are “man”/“woman”
versus children and thus can think responsibly for themselves. (And for another
topic in the future to discuss, I could one day discuss when or even if “shipping”—as
in, the lighthearted joking between fans that certain members are paired up
with other members as a couple—is appropriate or not. This would be a rather
interesting, controversial topic, and as critical thinking readers might be
aware of, there is no easy answer at all with this.)

On topic with this review since if I
get sidetracked anymore then this review will never begin, I have never looked
forward to reviewing a song this badly in quite some time. In fact, I truly
cannot remember this level of passion
I am feeling to finally review a song that I argue is not only one of the most
impressively composed pop songs I have heard, but I also get to write a review and defend a position nearly
everyone disagrees with—after all, the music video’s dislike ratio is quite telling
that many are still frustrated with TWICE’s inconsistency in terms of their
popularity despite weaker music production and composition. After all, many
think this song is merely catchy and thus, to call it “good” would be inaccurate as it is nothing more than just catchy—this
sentiment being a trend that even I agree with in terms of “TT,” “Cheer Up,”
and “Like Ooh-Ahh.” All of TWICE’s prior releases, with all due respect to the
members and composers, are rather weak songs in terms of both vocal delivery and
also composition and production. Admittedly, as a critical listener of music, I
still cannot fathom why TWICE is exceptionally
popular despite many of their prior songs being of poorer quality—even if, of
course, I wholeheartedly support TWICE and acknowledge they are incredibly
hardworking, excellent role models who do deserve love and support no matter
their song qualities.

In other words, especially to the
expected TWICE fans who are reading this review, I ask for the entire fanbase’s
understanding on this sensitive topic: TWICE is not hated merely because of “haters”
or “jealousy”; indeed, the intellectual and mature, critical criticizers of the
group are not doing so out of spite—though again, there are those anti-fans who
have way too much free time and lack ethics (such as the current fans who are
ironically berating Mina and BamBam when they should reevaluate their own
ethics)—but rather, are critiquing the group’s popularity in relation to their
music quality. While music is ultimately subjective, I argue there is an
overwhelming amount of critical listeners who would agree with me when I claim
that all of TWICE’s prior title tracks are weaker if we focus in on the
composition that actually occurs and ignore “catchiness” or the flashy
choreographies and music videos. As such, people with this critical view of the
ladies are not to be banished away and ignored but rather, are to be heard out
for the sake of a thoughtful discussion that really does hone in on one of
K-Pop’s “large questions”: what does it
take to be popular? Is it song quality, a connection with fans, physical
appearances, personalities, coming from a well-established label company, and
so on? My point is this: though I am critical of TWICE’s prior comebacks and so
are many others, we need to separate the difference between discussing TWICE’s music and the ladies themselves. Never should TWICE be personally bashed
(unless, of course, they commit an act that is rather atrocious—and no, dating
laughably does not count as “atrocious” despite “fans” saying so), but indeed,
their music is definitely open for critique.

All that said, “Knock Knock” is,
despite all odds, different from their prior releases: I argue it is a song that is not of the usual “TWICE-catchiness-to-hide-lack-of-quality”
song that I have heard in their prior comebacks. “Knock Knock” is an incredibly
stunning song especially towards the composition aspect. In fact, I find that
this song is so brilliantly composed I wish to highlight the two composers
involved: Collapsedone and Mayu Wakisaka. I seldom do such (although I should
credit and mention composers’ names more often as they are who I focus on—akin to how one discusses literature on an author’s work rather than just the characters in a story for
example), but these two have truly done a fantastic job with “Knock Knock” that
I very much wish for readers to know who the composers—the “authors” if we will—to
the song are.  

Addressing the links we will be
using for this review, I have used a myriad of them. The music video is of the
usual, however, there is a plot-based extra pause that occurs in the bridge
that is not a part of the actual song—and
for a good reason, too as it is an excessive, awkward break in the song. This
is why the music video alone does not suffice, and of course it does not
showcase the entire choreography which I argue is very much important in K-Pop
even if I no longer focus on dances specifically. (For those unfamiliar, I used
to actually rate the choreographies as well, but as time went on, I realized my
skills only grew with being analytical towards music but not towards dances.
Thus, I no longer rate dances as I simply am too unknowledgeable.) Regarding
the live performance, this is for those who prefer YouTube as their video
outlet. The issue here, of course, is that the song quality is poorer due to it
being live, but it does provide insight into the dance. Finally, we have our
main link: the dance practice that is posted on V App—a website for idols to
live stream and interact with fans’ chat messages. The link works best on a
computer as without the actual app, mobile playback tends to be of poor quality
(and hence why I included the live performance YouTube link). But indeed, this
source is our main focus in terms of aurally listening to the song as it is the
song in of itself and in a studio quality.

Finally discussing “Knock Knock,” I
do admit it is perhaps my favorite song of all-time. That said, it is far from
the best song I have ever heard; in terms of the best pop song, MAMAMOO’s
“Decalcomanie” definitely holds its throne
. But, in terms of stylistic
preferences, I find “Knock Knock” ‘s format and sounds to be what I personally like
hearing: a fun, upbeat, naturally progressing yet hyped song. Nevertheless, if
we focus on the composition of “Knock Knock,” arguably this is the most
impressive musical piece I have analyzed. In other words, even if sonically the
vocals are not necessarily the most appealing for example, how the song is
crafted and handled in terms of its structure and playback for bringing in
specific effects is very impressive. And so, this brings us to how the review
will go. Although an alarming amount of listeners dislike the song for very
justified, critical reasons—specifically that “Knock Knock” merely exploits
catchiness for appeal—I have to disagree. Certainly the song uses “catchiness”
as a concept, but I argue Collapsedone and Mayu Wakisaka went beyond using such
for raw appeal. Throughout the song, said catchiness is used as an accommodating
factor by compensating for moments of weaker vocal execution. Furthermore, how Collapsedone
and Mayu Wakisaka structured the song leads to many contrasting points that,
contrary to the expected result of such impairing the song, actually end up in
favor of the song by using said contrasts to further build upon the song’s
progression.

Since that “thesis statement” if we dare
call it such is rather poorly worded or is simply rather quite complex in terms
of ideas, I will break down the review in a more manageable fashion. I will
first discuss what the ongoing catchiness is and why it is currently of
appropriate criticism. Afterwards, I will then go through the song to point out
how those “catchiness moments” are actually the composers’ method of
compensating for what would otherwise be poorer vocal delivery. Once that is
all done, I will then discuss “Knock Knock” ‘s strongest asset—its uses of
contrasting points—and how that greatly aids in allowing the song to have a very
coherent, solid progression.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 7/10
(6.50/10 raw score) – “Above average”


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 8/10
(7.67/10 raw score)

Introduction, Verse,
Verse, Chorus, Rap, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus, Conclusion

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 8/10

3.     Chorus: 9/10

4.     Rap: 8/10

5.     Bridge: 7/10

6.     Conclusion: 8/10


Instrumental: 8/10


Lyrics: 4/10

[Instrumental Introduction]

The door closes at twelve
Please hurry up a bit
Knock knock knock knock
knock on my door
Knock knock knock knock
knock on my door
At night inside my mind
The door opens up
I need somebody
(Someone else)

You keep lingering around
Taking a sneak peek
Knock knock knock knock
knock on my door
Knock knock knock knock
Knock on my door
Probably another playboy
Obviously just a bad boy
I need some assurance
(Knock knock?)

Knock on my heart and open it up
Knock hard
Kung kung*
One more time
Kung kung
Baby, knock knock knock knock
knock on my door
Knock knock knock knock knock
It won’t be so easy to open it up
(Say that you’re mine)
Come again tomorrow and the day after
I will be ready and waiting
(Knock knock)
Baby, knock knock knock knock
knock on my door
Knock knock knock knock knock
I want to keep hearing it again
Knock on my door

No need for that gold key or get-lucky
If you truly mean it everything’s gonna be okay
What to do, you’re already here
Could you please wait a moment?
You come in when I am alone
Shake me right out of my mind
Now is the perfect show time
Make it yours

Dang-dang when the clock strikes,
would you come to me?
Turning round and round will
only make you fall asleep
Knock knock knock knock
knock on my door
Knock knock knock knock
knock on my door
Come in, come in, come in baby,
take my hands

Knock on my heart and open it up
Knock hard
Kung-kung*
One more time
Kung-kung
Baby, knock knock knock knock
knock on my door
Knock knock knock knock knock
It won’t be so easy to open it up
(Say that you’re mine)
Come again tomorrow and the day after
I will be ready and waiting
(Knock knock)
Baby, knock knock knock knock
knock on my door
Knock knock knock knock knock
I want to keep hearing it again
Knock on my door

Hey, hey after all this time
My frozen heart will–my-my heart will,
melt away like ice cream
Come knock on my door

Knock on my heart and open it up
Knock hard
Kung-kung*
One more time
Kung-kung
Baby, knock knock knock knock
knock on my door
Knock knock knock knock knock
It won’t be so easy to open it up
(Say that you’re mine)
Come again tomorrow and the day after
I will be ready and waiting
(Knock knock)
Baby, knock knock knock knock
knock on my door
Knock knock knock knock knock
I want to keep hearing it again
Knock on my door

Knock knock knock knock on my door
I’m freakin’ freakin’ out,
freakin’ out out
Knock knock
Knock knock Knock
Knock on my door
Knock knock knock knock
knock on my door
Knock knock knock knock
knock on my door

*The Korean linguistic representation of, essentially, “knock knock.”
(In English, “bam” or “thump thump” are similar examples.)

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: For
once in I believe three years of writing reviews, I will not actually address
the numerical ratings at all. This is because I truly wish to hone in on the
more theoretical aspect to “Knock Knock”—and thus, this will be the most difficult
review I have ever written as numerical ratings were always a great way for me
to make theoretical points more “concrete” as not all readers are comfortable
dealing with mere abstract concepts and ideas. Numbers, on the other hand,
always make sense as they are concrete ideas. (Consider, after all, the
difference between explaining an abstract musical concept and not directly
relating it to the ratings versus saying “this section is a seven for above
average because of this.”—the latter being much more concrete in its idea at
the end even if it involves discussing abstract concepts.) I will do my best to
explain, but of course as I always urge, readers should feel free to send in
questions for further discussions. Clearly after spending arguably too much
time writing about songs as my shamelessly nerdy yet beloved passion, I am more
than happy to extend a review’s conversation into questions-and-answers for clarifications
and such.

On
topic, let us discuss what is the current “catchiness” that exists and why
people critiquing said “catchiness” are not wrong to do such. First of all, I
am indeed loosely using the term “catchiness” here; after all, no one can
objectively pinpoint per se what is defined as “catchiness”—certain sounds,
pitches, tempos, and such are too varied for a solid definition. Nevertheless,
in this sense I am referring to points of the song that tend to be easily
emulated—key examples in “Knock Knock” are the constant “knock knock,” “knock
on my door” phrases and the simpler, heavy electronic beats that follow a very
predictable manner. So, why is catchiness problematic? In a majority—but not
all—cases, these types of additions to songs tend to be mere fillers if we look
at the true roots. Oftentimes, these catchiness points bring minimal changes to
a song besides merely progressing the song for the very sake of such getting
the song to move along.

For
example, the first “knock knock” phrase pushes the song forth four seconds by
merely reusing a singular, basic note that in of itself should be used
sparingly lest the song become mundane and uncreative. Compare that to when the
song is not “knocking” (and we will actually now use this term) and we will
find that there tends to be a lot more fluctuations and more complex tunes in
place—tunes that do advance the song ahead beyond a simplistic yet fun “la la
la la” pattern. Now for why this in particular is extremely disturbing to “Knock
Knock,” let us be honest: the song spends a huge amount if not nearly half of
its duration “knocking” (and by “knocking” I mean when the ladies are simply uttering
that key phrase and word). Again, this is catchy and thus is appealing, but is it actually worthy of anything valuable per
se? Sure, the composition and decision involved to use these fillers/catchiness
points at specific points are actually intellectual and not thoughtless, but
even so, merely repeating “knock knock knock knock” repetitively is negligible
and that is where many are criticizing
the song. When a song spends much of its time seemingly exploiting a key word
and phrase—which, musically is only quick successions of essentially one note—and
we come to realize that the song now sounds “cheap.” “Knock Knock,” then,
becomes another generic pop song that people love merely because it possesses a
fun and bouncy aspect; after all, “knock knock knock knock, knock on my door”
tends to linger around—more so if we consider how it is coupled by instrumental’s
beats that further solidify that bouncing trait.

And
so, the majority of people who dislike the song for this reason are not wrong
at all—not that, of course, one can ever be objectively right or wrong about
music. But point is this: people who find that “Knock Knock” is a poor song that
is hiding its weaknesses through sounding catchy are definitely critically
thinking of the song. This is a solid
criticism. However, here comes the beauty of academic, mature, and intellectual
discussions: we can still disagree with this criticism by challenging this very
line of thinking. For where we will now go in this review, I wish to argue the
current claim that the catchiness used is just for the sake of cheaply
garnering appeal; I argue, instead, the catchiness we find Collapsedone and
Mayu Wakisaka using is not to compensate for “a bad song” but it is to help
alleviate TWICE’s known weakness: their vocals.

Whether
acknowledged by fans or not, we have to understand that TWICE’s vocals in their
songs are far from any high standard—in fact, I oftentimes have given them a
slightly below average rating for such. Now of course it should be clarified
that this is not to say the ladies themselves are not skilled singers; one of
the most short-sighted comment I hear about TWICE or any other seemingly
vocally underperforming group is that they “cannot sing.” This is false: a large majority of idols can actually
sing, especially if compared to a regular person who is not professionally trained as are idols. That
said, when it comes to actual song production, we will find that many of the
vocals by TWICE tend to be overly simplistic and seldom do we hear more
strenuous singing from them unless it does not involve TWICE’s own music. (Some
slight irony here as one would expect their own songs to showcase their best vocal
abilities.) “Knock Knock,” it seems however is the first time we hear some more
intense singing, but even then it is only from Jihyo and Jungyeon and partially
from Nayeon (even though I do know Nayeon is a capable singer after researching
her background—not in a stalker-like way, of course, but rather a
musical-stalker-like way).

Jokes
aside, even if “Knock Knock” has the more impressive vocal beltings at the
choruses, for the most part it is a song that still showcases a lot of overly
basic singing. However, returning to the original discussion of how the
composers utilizes the “catchiness” in the song, we will find that these filler
components of the members repeating “knock knock” is not necessarily because
they cannot do better or to “hide” their poorer vocals; instead, we could argue
these catchiness fillers are to augment
and supplement the members’ vocals so
that their usual, weaker singing becomes at least average and sufficient.

Let
us analyze the prime example of the song’s key words and phrases. As already
discussed, the “knocking” phrases are quite rudimentary as all these phrases do
is solely progress the song versus adding in more complex tunes, fluctuations,
and so forth. However, how the catchiness works in terms of supplementing the
members’ vocals—especially those who are the sub/support vocalists—is that the
instrumental backs up and emulates their very singing of those filler moments. As
a result, this creates a layering effect: notice how the “knocks” are nearly in
sync with the instrumental’s “shimmering” sounds and how each strong beat
complements each knock slight moments afterwards. Now before addressing the
genius of this on a structural level, we have to understand how this helps on
an aural level. For one, as said, the key distinctive feature here is that the
vocals are not “hidden” away but are supplemented:
in other words, the vocals—even if they are not sonically strong especially
with repeating “knock knock”—are still blatantly out and with the instrumental
providing extra depth, it helps the vocals leave a greater presence and
influence to the song’s overall sound. If the instrumental was not supportive
of the vocals, then by raw sound the “knocks” would sound, to be blunt, rather
awful and mere excessive “fluff” added.

Furthermore,
we also need to focus beyond just the explicit catchiness-filler content such
as in the song’s second half’s verse. During this moment for example, we find
that Tzuyu and Mina are not delivery usual repetitive words but are actually
showcasing some minimal vocal belting. In of themselves, these beltings—while soothing,
soft, and still tuneful to our ears—are nothing that surprising. However, once
we couple in the instrumental during this moment—of which is functioning as
before with providing an extra layering—and we suddenly find that both Tzuyu’s
and Mina’s vocals are seemingly more dense than just forgettable, minor
beltings. After all, with beats that match up to, for example, the “dang-dang” and
how even the bass line shifts up in pitch when Mina’s singing arrives to
further emphasize that there is a synced layering, indeed the result is there
is much more presence for the vocals from members we otherwise would not expect
at all.  

With
this hopefully understood in some degree, let us now talk about the composition
in a more general sense. As said, I really wish to focus in on how “Knock Knock”
‘s strongest asset is its uses of contrasting points and indeed how the
composers’ use of catchiness-fillers help with this, but before that there is
one aspect I wish to focus in on that is not quite related to manipulating
contrast. To still continue with the prior point about the instrumental layering
with the vocals, we have to understand beyond just supplementing TWICE’s vocals
on the huge importance of this very act. First, we need to realize this song
lacks a section that is traditionally seen in almost every pop song—in fact,
this one section is one I argue is the most
important one as it controls the shifts of a song: the pre-choruses. Without
actually analyzing the song, most might not even realize the song lacks an
official pre-chorus or will either claim the pre-chorus does exist in place of
a verse or that the first half of the chorus is the pre-chorus. Again, music is
subjective in this realm akin to asking if we can objectively pinpoint what “catchiness”
means in a technical manner, but in our case we realize there is no clear and explicit section that is dedicated as the pre-chorus—this is what
matters most, the very absence of a clear section that has this role.

For
why the vocal and instrumental layering matters beyond supplementing the vocals
with seemingly “catchiness,” we have to understand these catchiness-fillers
that we desire to belittle actually carry the important role of being a substitute
pre-chorus. Because the layering tends to shift around—whether vocally or
instrumentally, as discussed with Mina’s part in the second half of the song’s
verse—we will find that the layering is, in a subtle manner, generating hype
for the song which is then climaxed at the choruses (as per usual of pop songs
as they follow the binary format of music). Even in MAMAMOO’s “Decalcomanie,”
another song that lacks an explicit pre-chorus, we find that this song still
has a clearly noticeable shift: the verses end in a dramatic pause and have
lingering sounds both vocally and instrumentally. However, in “Knock Knock,”
much is to be praised for how natural the layering is able to progress and
shift the song into the chorus without any distinctive signs—all the while still
sounding fluent. And most brilliantly, what is to be credited in specific for
allowing this natural transition are the very uses of “knock knock” phrases and
the seemingly more basic instrumental—in other words, it is “catchiness” that
serves beyond raw appeal but indeed
provides structural value to the song, this being incredibly rare to hear in a
pop song.

With that covered, let us now
transition to the final aspect of the review: why “Knock Knock” ‘s use of
contrast allows it to be a rather impressive song especially with its composition.
Specifically, I wish for us to discuss how the song uses many contrasting
points—of which I will explain—as a method to gain aural appeal. Of course,
there are a lot of other strategies in place—as discussed above with the
layering serving as substitute pre-choruses—and if I was more dedicated I would
even “walk” us through each particular aspect, but instead let us be realistic and
focus on the more critical topics.

In terms of what I mean by “contrasting
points,” we have to understand that the song “bounces”  back and forth constantly between more
strenuous, complex moments and more plain, generic, “pop” sounds and
structures. A clear example is the choruses themselves: notice the inserted catchiness-fillers
of “knock knock” that contrast to, for example, Nayeon’s vocal beltings and
Jihyo’s beltings. The contrast here, to clarify, is that the “knock” phrases
are based on simple, singular notes while the beltings are based on being
strenuous and in-depth. Even more confusing and complex yet impressive, notice
that even their beltings contrast one another: Jihyo’s (and later, Jungyeon’s)
beltings are a more rigorous version of Nayeon’s beltings. This is what I refer
to by “contrasting points.”

Now, for why this all matters, while
I do wish to focus on the aural aspect, as always, we need to incorporate an
understanding of how this works on a structural level as well. In summary,
proper execution of contrast will lead to a song sounding extremely diverse and varied with its sounds—this being a huge
trait, and more so if based on a song that seemingly runs the risk of sounding
mundane because of fillers (such as in “Knock Knock” with the “knocks”)—and furthermore
allows a sound to retain a strong sense of cohesion. As said, this ends up in
favor of the song but is a relatively huge risk for composers to consider
especially as oftentimes contrasting can easily go the other way: ruining
cohesion and further emphasizing mundaneness. To understand this risk, let us
dive into some depth on usages of contrast.

MAMAMOO’s “Decalcomanie” serves as
an example (once again) for the use of “complementing” versus contrasting.
Instead of using contrast, the choruses in “Decalcomanie” stack upon each
other; we find that the first half of the chorus establishes a stronger start
that the second half of the choruses then continues to carry forth and
conclude. On the other hand, in “Knock Knock,” that stacking is not there
necessarily. If this was true, the inserted “knocks” at the choruses would not
exist, and moreover, Jihyo’s lines would follow an entirely different set than Nayeon’s
lines as Jihyo would build from
Nayeon versus contrasting via a higher intensity.

Regarding the risk contrast can
sometimes bring, as mentioned, it can bring the opposite outcome with ruining
cohesion or making a song sound even more mundane by showcasing large
disparities between the two aspects that are supposedly to be contrasted. A
case that comes into mind would be none other than TWICE’s very own song: “Cheer
Up.” The choruses in that song are overly powerful and upbeat while the rest of
the song does not follow suit or necessarily is even projected to have such a
large gap from song to chorus. This is an example of contrast working
ineffectively: it made the song sound less coherent as there were two large
differences—chorus versus entirety of song—and the contrast now highlighted how
dependent the song is on its very choruses when a song should typically have
all of its factors be important and working together.

Why does contrast work in “Knock
Knock”? Let us investigate the possibilities. I argue it works in this song’s
case due to, once again, the underestimated factor: the catchiness-fillers. For
one, as discussed, the layering that occurs throughout the song leads to a
strong sense of cohesion and thus, using contrast has a reduced chance of
alienating and isolating specific sections. Secondly and most importantly, the composers were very thoughtful on their usage
of contrast: the contrasts are micro-scale versus macro-scale. In other words,
the contrast is only in bits versus wholesome shifts between sections as was
the case in “Cheer Up.” Exceptions exist, of course, but certainly in “Knock
Knock” ‘s case, having minor contrasts was a far safer route. After all,
consider that the contrasts are between lines
versus entire sections; the contrast
in the choruses are from the beltings to other beltings, or it was from the
belting to the catchiness-filler lines of “knock knock” or “kung kung.” This
allows the contrasts to be easily heard by listeners as it follows a smaller
and more organized fashion, and with a shorter duration the main benefits are
still reaped while reducing the downsides of contrast. Overall, then, the
outcome is that the contrasts give the song its aural benefits of making the
beltings sound even more impressive, and it still adds a structural component
of the song being varied and “bouncy” with its flow.

All in all, “Knock Knock” ‘s main
downside are the lyrics, which sadly is an inevitable result because one
non-musical downside to the use of catchiness-fillers is we get an excessive
amount of lyrics that contain repeating, meaningless phrases and words. One glance
at the lyrics reveal such: a huge portion of the song consists merely of “knock
knock” and the like. Nonetheless, “Knock Knock” is a very impressive song and
by far TWICE’s best release. Collapsedone and Mayu Wakisaka deserve much credit
for their work. Ultimately for what is to be gleaned from this review, TWICE’s “Knock
Knock” is more than what it appears when listening to it superficially and casually:
doing so does not allow a listener to understand all the intricate details that
occur when he listens to the song without actually analyzing some of its
feature. On the other hand, when a listener is being careful and actively
listening—even if she is aware that “Knock Knock” sounds like any generic pop
song—she will then realize the beauty that the song comes in and the
creativeness and intelligence Collapsedone and Mayu Wakisaka have put in.

For me, this song remains my
favorite song of all time—even if sonically “Decalcomanie” by MAMAMOO sounds
better. Nevertheless, the composition involved truly shocks me and I can still
hardly understand the intricacies involved. For a song to sound like generic
pop but to not actually be generic
and meaningless with its composition astounds me. I hope TWICE is able to
maintain this level vocal delivery and to improve on such, and that JYP
Entertainment continues to give the ladies these higher quality composed songs
instead of actual “catchiness”-meaningless songs that all other comebacks have
been so far. While I am predominantly only interested in TWICE for their
leader, Jihyo, I think I will soon become a fan of all the ladies—but,
unfortunately, it will take more than just one song for me to become an avid
fan. That said, I hope that is the case: I hope for TWICE to continue
improving, and that the composition of their at worst stay at this current
solid level or, realistically, to receive even stronger composed songs. That
would be amazing considering how stunning “Knock Knock” is on a composition
level. The ladies have dancing down and are one of the more intimate group in
terms of interacting with fans based on their V App, so I very much look forward
to when they also solidify their singing and rapping and equally have reliable,
excellently composed songs. For now, I will start becoming more familiar with
them on a personality-level even if “Knock Knock” is their only comeback I find
impressive. Why, one asks? Because I am optimistic that future releases will be
as good as “Knock Knock” or even better and so, I might as well prepare to be a
regular fan, right?

_______________________________________________________

This
was one of the most time-consuming yet exhilarating reviews I have written in
all of my years doing such. Much improvement is still necessary, of course, but
the focus of this review was definitely a change from just mechanically
reviewing songs. I think I will consider adopting this type of reviewing style
but, of course, in much more concise terms. Again, reviews are shorter and are continually becoming even shorter over time;
the reason this review runs 6000 words (and thus I wished this counted for
three essays I have to do) is that I know I am writing from the perspective
that a large majority of critical listeners will disagree with. Those who are
keen on listening to music will very much disagree that this song is solidly
composed and thus, I did add extra time to really explore and expand on my
arguments so that understanding can occur.

In
terms of upcoming reviews, look forward to two requests: HIGH4’s “Love Line”
and EXO’s “Call Me Baby.” Afterwards, to end the month of March, I plan on
ending with two or one Critical Discussions posts—topics are: potentially
addressing lip-syncing and “MR Removed” (fans of TWICE should be interested as
these are oftentimes used to attack the ladies); what it takes to actually be
popular in the K-Pop scene; and perhaps an interesting discussion on “shipping”
as I noticed that trend has become rather popular for all groups of all genders
and among both Korean and international fans. There are lots to look forward
to.

Thank
you to all for reading and I hope you all “Come again tomorrow and the day
after / I will be ready and waiting.” While I am certain most will merely skim
the review (and I do not blame readers for doing such; in fact, I encourage
focusing more on the ratings and then referring to the review to find answers
if confused or in disagreement), I appreciate any time given towards the
review. And for those who are very dedicated and interested in music, I hope
this review is thought-provoking with its ideas. The point of this review is
not to spark a debate—something that implies a winner and loser; rather, the
point of this review is to spark discussions—something
that involves critical thinking, being open to multiple viewpoints, and being
mature and respectful. I hope fans of TWICE, those who musically critique
TWICE, or even those who simply dislike TWICE for no reason to focus on the
idea of discussion being the core idea of this review. (And to those who
dislike TWICE for no reason: let us all do our part of being better human
beings and not personally attack the
ladies; instead, take the dislike and shift it towards being critical of their
music where, indeed, TWICE as an artist
has room to be critiqued.)

TWICE – “TT” Review

(Music Video)

TWICE – TT

Reviewed
on October 24, 2016

Vocals do not necessarily have to be utterly dynamic and possessing a multitude of styles and forms, but in this song’s case of not having moments of noticeable changes, appeal is greatly lost.

Edit:
I have decided to post this sooner rather than on Halloween due to the song
trending and that I want to voice my opinion on the “hating” of TWICE.

Personal Message:
Here is a tale of two kids’
adventurous night. Little did they know, they were in for a fright. Or was that
last phrase not very polite? After all, it was TWICE who came to light! Indeed,
this reviewer shall see his mistake though only in hindsight. Besides, are
these rhymes not trite? While this poem fails to sound right, I will remind you
all: this review begins tonight—or at least that is when I write. So come
inside and sit tight; rest assured, you have enough might. Fans of TWICE may
feel, for this review, uptight—but I promise you all: this is all for delight.

And that is enough rhyming and
probably not worth the many minutes I spent pondering over words that would
rhyme and still make sense in some
form. Perhaps I was overly optimistic when I challenged myself to write this
entire Personal Message in rhyme. On topic, while I hope readers enjoy the
horrible poetry (and admittedly I very much dislike poetry except for perhaps The Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti—a
great read for those wanting a poem that can be analyzed through a multitude of
literary/social lenses), if not clear on why I took on that playful route, it
is Halloween as of this review’s posting date. Coincidentally, while searching
for K-Pop songs that had a spookier tone, TWICE had a comeback that aligned
perfectly with this. Thus, it is a win-win situation: I get a holiday-themed
review (for those whose culture celebrates it, of course; ironically enough, I
personally do not celebrate it minus in the form of this review) all while reviewing
a comeback of arguably the top rising female group. Transitioning now to a more
serious tone, though, let us begin discussing TWICE.

As some readers may know, I have
reviewed their debut song (“Like Ooh-Ahh”). While I will not link the review,
readers can easily find it in the blog’s archive. Most importantly to take away
from that review are two main points: for the simple one, TWICE did not
musically impress me nor did the song’s production; but more importantly, for
the second point, that even if a song scores poorly this does not mean an
artist is bereft of musical skills. With the latter point, more often than not,
I would argue it is a song’s production that controls quality more than the
artists’ skills. A simple and relevant example is I.O.I’s final song: “Very
Very Very.” Although I say the following words with much respect, that song is
rather mediocre and definitely a weaker song I have heard. Is this due to I.O.I
being incapable vocalists? Not at all; another song, “Hold Up,” is a fantastic
song and specifically with the vocals, I.O.I certainly shines. With TWICE, many
of these points apply—more so with “Like Ooh-Ahh” and “Cheer Up” as their past
songs have been exceptionally weaker ones (as I would argue).

Now of course for critical fans and
listeners—or perhaps those truly looking to bash
the ladies versus critiquing them
(yes, there is a difference; the former is never justified while the latter is
based on intellectual, mature discussions)—there is an opposing side to my
previous statements. One could easily argue: “What if TWICE receives weaker
song productions because they actually cannot
sing to higher standard?” To this, I have a few answers. For one, I personally
am not familiar enough with TWICE to fully understand their vocal capabilities.
In fact, I only know that Jihyo is their main vocalist and do not know the
other members’ musical positions (lead vocalist; sub/support vocalist, etc.). In
other words, this opposing argument is very much still valid: if it is
true—again, I personally do not know—that TWICE is overall vocally weaker than
most artists, this definitely would affect the songs they receive. On the other
hand, if it is true that TWICE are in fact solid singers but only receive
generic pop songs, then their vocals will never be disclosed to their fullest
potential. However, regardless of the heated musical debates, though I very
much cherish them and do believe listeners of pop music should go beyond merely
listening to a song and instead actively
listen to pop (a future review will discuss “active listening”), I believe listeners
have forgotten one point we all need to be reminded of: TWICE members are human
beings, too.

While it is definitely fair to
criticize them musically—that is, to maturely
challenge their musical skills and songs—sometimes listeners become overly zealous
in doing so to the point that we dehumanize TWICE members. For example, I have
read very atrocious comments about the ladies that are based not on, say,
sexism or racism, but on their supposed “lack of skills.” Based on supposedly
lacking musical skills, a few people have went to the degree of urging them to
quit their careers or that the ladies are complete failures and bring shame to
music. Again, sure these comments are not necessarily “socially dehumanizing,”
but even so, these comments on the basis of their music still very much hurt
TWICE members and completely disregards their accomplishments and hard work.

For what I wish to say to these
remarks and people, I understand the passion one feels when listening to rather
weak songs; it is true that it can be frustrating in a musical context, and
admittedly more so when a group is receiving much attention for “lacking
musical skills”—and let us be honest, TWICE is
getting quite popular. So, for people who see them as musically weak and yet
succeeding while other skilled groups are struggling to keep up, it makes sense
on why many bash TWICE. I definitely do not accept that behavior, though, and
this is where I will put in my honest take. Personally, I am not a musical fan of TWICE; I find their past
songs very poor and I personally do consider them a less musically skilled
group and at times am surprised at how popular they are getting despite such.
And yet, I consider myself a supporter of TWICE. That is right: as a critical
listener and pop music reviewer (and I do hope this does not sound
condescending), I am supporting a group that I do consider musically weaker.
Why do I do that? Because, besides how pop music is definitely more than just
the music itself such as with variety shows, I respect TWICE as the hard
working human beings they are. Sure,
“Cheer Up” was horrendous (from my argument) and yet it got them even more
popular, but this does not mean I have the privilege to now neglect the members
for who they are and what they have done. It is mentally and
physically difficult to be a K-Pop idol, and knowing how hard they worked to
get into the industry needs to be respected. Most importantly, though, at the
end of it all, they are humans. Humans. This is not to say we should never
criticize TWICE’s music; funny enough, after this digression ends, I will very
much hammer down on TWICE’s latest song. The point of this message, then, is
that we need to separate music from
the social: we can criticize TWICE’s music and
still be decent, compassionate, loving human beings that support the ladies. (And
likewise, we can appreciate an artist’s musical works even if, for example, she
is very racist. Again we definitely need to challenge the social side of her,
but the music itself is its own context.)

In summary, for those who feel it is
unfair that TWICE is getting popular despite releasing weaker songs (and to
fans, notice that these “haters” are not just purely hating; there actually are
reasons for their bashing—though again, bashing is never permissible),
remember: it is just a song at the end of the day. So, for those against TWICE,
I do encourage criticizing their songs in a mature and intellectual manner (in
other words, explain why TWICE’s songs are “so bad” instead of just saying it)
but remember to not overextend that line. I can say “Cheer Up” is a bad song,
or more controversially, that Jihyo is a weaker main vocalist (not my personal
example, to clarify; it is one I am making up), but never can I ever be allowed to say Jihyo is a disgusting, shameful
and useless member—this has no relevancy to music and is attacking an artist
versus attacking her work.

All of this covered, and I do hope
TWICE fans spread the essence of that message: that TWICE can be supported and respected,
all while challenging their music. Besides that, though, we have another matter
to deal with: “TT.” Finally focusing on the review, I say with confidence that
TWICE’s song production is a bit more sophisticated this time and that “TT” is
by far the best song from the ladies. In fact, vocal improvements might even be
in place. However, the real question is whether “TT” is a strong song in
general. Sadly, in answer to that, I will use the song’s title: “TT”—in other
words, the emoticon for tears.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 5/10
(4.75/10 raw score) – “Average”


Vocals: 4/10


Sections: 5/10
(4.67/10 raw score)

Introduction, Verse,
Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Bridge, Conclusion (Chorus)

1.     Introduction:
5/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 4/10

4.     Chorus: 4/10

5.     Bridge: 5/10

6.     Conclusion (Chorus): 5/10


Instrumental: 6/10


Lyrics: 4/10

[Instrumental]

I’m in two minds
In an awkward situation
I just stare and say ba-ba-ba-baby
Every day I only imagine without asking
I talk casually and say your name, baby
But we don’t even know each other
Beautiful no matter what I wear
Just the two of us in the mirror having a
fashion show, show
This time for sure, I’ll be the first to talk, talk
But it’s only in my head, always only in my head

Na na na na na na na
I start humming and before I know it,
I feel like crying
I don’t feel like myself
This isn’t like me at all
I love you so much

Think I’m all grown up now
I’m free to make my own choices, but why
Why can’t I have it my way?
The more I try to push you away,
the more I’m drawn and attracted to you, baby
I’m like TT*
Just like TT
You don’t know how I feel
So mean, so mean
I’m like TT
Just like TT
Tell me that you’d be my baby

You say I’m ridiculous
That I don’t live up to my looks
Doesn’t cheer me up at all, ba-ba-ba-baby
I’m going crazy in all this mess
Why do I feel hungry?
I eat all day and am still hungry
Slap slap slap slap
the innocent doll
I sit and lie down all day
Time flies flies flies
What’s with the dull skin again
Keep wanting to just complain
Mom keeps bothering me, why why why why?

Na na na na na na na
I start humming and before I know it
I feel so irritated, I’m so upset
I’m normally not like this
I love you so much

Think I’m all grown up now
I’m free to make my own choices, but why
Why can’t I have it my way?
The more I try to push you away,
the more I’m drawn and attracted to you, baby
I’m like TT
Just like TT
You don’t know how I feel
So mean, so mean
I’m like TT
Just like TT
Tell me that you’d be my baby

Do you realize what’s going on inside me?
Don’t disappear from my view like this
This time for sure,
I’ll be the first to talk, talk
But it’s only in my head,
always only in my head

Think I’m all grown up now
I’m free to make my own choices, but why
Why can’t I have it my way?
The more I try to push you away,
the more I’m drawn and attracted to you baby
I’m like TT
Just like TT
You don’t know how I feel
So mean, so mean
I’m like TT
Just like TT
Tell me that you’d be my baby

*TT is in reference to the emoticon of crying and tears running down.

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Before
discussing the song itself, I forgot to mention another crucial reminder: that
catchiness, in my reviews and opinion, is an insufficient trait to justify as a
song’s strength. I bring up this point as admittedly “TT” is definitely one of
the catchiest songs I have heard. In a casual style of listening to music (such
as while exercising), “TT” indeed is very enjoyable due to its said catchiness.
However, as discussed in multiple reviews (refer to “Russian
Roulette”
and “Doo
Doom Chit”
) this trait will be something I overlook since we are going to
be critically engaging with—or better yet, actively
listening to—“TT.” At most, I will analyze how catchiness affects certain
aspects of the song, but readers should be aware that the fact that “TT” is
catchy is completely irrelevant in of itself. Finally onto the review itself,
while fans may not necessarily be satisfied at the overall rating being five
for average, fans should recall that “Like Ooh-Ahh” scored one rating less.

To
start, “TT” struggles with the same category that has been prevalent in all of
their title songs so far: vocals. Now to clarify, the extent of this is not
extreme; it is a four which indicates “slightly below average.” In an
overarching view, the vocals’ main drawback is the lack of diversity. Vocals do
not necessarily have to be utterly dynamic and possessing a multitude of styles
and forms, but in this song’s case of not having moments of noticeable changes,
appeal is greatly lost. From the verse to final chorus (conclusion), the vocals
per section are indistinguishable and possess a mundane sound after multiple playbacks.
I attribute this to how the vocals simply fail to deviate from one another
throughout: notice that there are minimal to no shifts in intensity, styles, or
even tune at times. For example—and to focus in a bit on a more individual
level—let us hone in on the choruses. While it is not a detriment for a chorus
to not be a high, upbeat, climactic point, the vocals in this section are
hardly established as unique when juxtaposed to the verse and pre-chorus. The
pacing, for example, remains roughly the same, and intriguingly the vocals’
tune do not become more complex than the verses’ vocal tunes. Now obviously
there are changes in tune as one may point out, but I am referring to how if we
draw ourselves back away: doing so reveals that, for the most part, the vocals
are in fact quite linear and all sound akin. In certain songs, this linear
vocal form can very much be the core strength of a song’s vocals, but as we
will discuss with the instrumental, this song does not appear to accommodate
this form and hence why the vocals are rated lower.

With
mentioning the instrumental, this category scored at a six and rightly so: it
is decent and augments the song in many ways. Sonically, the heavier bass
covers pitches that the vocals otherwise do not cover given their static, stale
nature. Structurally, the instrumental covers usual points well such as transitions
or aiding in making transparent the song’s crescendos (the “build up”) and decrescendos
(the “build down” or “relaxing”). Returning to the earlier point with the
vocals, however, although the instrumental covers for the vocals’ lacking
points, as said there is a paradox here. Because the instrumental delivers its
own linear flow but on lower notes in comparison to the vocals, while in
certain cases this dual similarity is beneficial, in “TT” it is arguably this
syncing that creates the dullness in the vocals. Given the deeper sounds of the
instrumental and its lack of higher pitched instrument sounds, the vocals
should then adopt that role of being dynamic to help compensate—but that does
not occur. Instead, the vocals follow a similar flow to the instrumental,
though on higher pitches. The result? “TT” moves in a straight fashion with
minimal changes throughout, and while the rhythm is certainly catchy, this
creates an overly stale song that, perhaps best said, sounds “stuck.”

Bearing
in mind the prior point, rather than blaming the instrumental itself on the
conflicts between the vocals and said instrumental, the true culprits to blame
are the sections. Since we have covered the sections’ faults in a more
overarching view, let us now focus in on individual ones. As seen by the
ratings, the song employs many average structures and techniques, and with some
in specific, the song actually falters with execution. Specifically with the
choruses and pre-choruses for example, in addition to once again the excessive
staleness that occurs from combining the vocals and instrumental, these
sections have some extra problems. The choruses’ second half’s pauses, for one,
may add some dynamic to the song’s plainer flow, but the problem here is the
vocals become additionally more dull as a result. Similarly, the pre-choruses
may be functional in transitioning the song—though admittedly the method is
already quite standard—but when it comes to the vocals, there is a sacrifice:
the vocals bounce back and forth like the instrumental, but doing so drains
away the vocals’ tunes and in place leaves lifeless, hollow vocal sounds.

Miraculously,
however, “TT” does still render averagely and that is agreeably with.
Essentially, “TT” is a song that is composed using very traditional pop forms
but that its downfall is in a slightly weaker execution with those forms. But,
overall, “TT” does mostly come away as an average pop song: catchy and fun, but
lacking complexity and more strenuous, impressive execution and composition.

_______________________________________________________

My
one week break ended, sadly, and today is the first day of classes once again.
That said, I do apologize for failing to truly catch up on reviews. I plan to
finish this month out with SHINee’s “1 of 1” and Hyuna’s “How’s This?” (and the
social discussion within that review). For the beginning of November, I plan to
review Apink’s “Only One” as this song is a solid example of how “active
listening” can change a song from being supposedly weak to being actually quite
impressive. (And indeed, I will have a digression on what it means to be an
active listener of music and on how to actually begin doing so.)

With
this review, while it was planned to be my Halloween special review, we will
consider this an early one. Regardless, I hope the review proves insightful and
engaging, and that the Personal Message would relate to many fans—and anti-fans—of
TWICE. As always thank you for reading or skimming, and “You don’t know how I
feel” when it comes to that so thank you very much. Look forward to the
upcoming reviews.

TWICE – “Like Ooh-Ahh” Review

TWICE
– Like Ooh-Ahh (Dance Practice)

TWICE
– Like Ooh-Ahh (Music Video)

TWICE – (Like) Ooh-Ahh

Reviewed
on November 12, 2015

image

Personal Message: Before
beginning, huge thanks and shout-out (this may the first time I have ever used
“shout-out”) to a reader for requesting this review. I have not received many
requests in a while, and admittedly, that is saddening in the sense of not
being exposed to more artists and songs. Also, it is saddening as, recalling
prior reviews, many were guided by requests, and I very much do enjoy that as I
am able to review songs that readers directly desire. But, considering how I
have been horrendous with quickly finishing requests, it is understandable on
why requests may have become unpopular. Nevertheless, I do appreciate every
reader’s voice, whether it is requesting or recommending a song, disagreeing or
agreeing with ratings, or even giving general feedback on the blog and writing.
For a final note before discussing TWICE, there is another rookie group I plan
to review in the future: GFriend. Especially after watching their dance
practice videos for “Glass Bead” and “Me Gustas Tu,” I remain in utter awe at
their adept dancing. The members of GFriend are, to say the least, incredible
dancers.

Returning
the spotlight to TWICE, the group to be reviewed, like GFriend, this group can
also be considered rookies. In fact, they are newer to the K-Pop industry than
GFriend as, if accurate, TWICE debuted around early October due to an audition
reality show that recruited members (readers should correct me if I am wrong)
and have only one title song while, in contrast, GFriend has two. Due to such,
as “Like Ooh-Ahh” is a debut song, I do wish to clarify that if the ratings are
low (I am predicting that to be the case), that should not be equated to the
group’s lack of skills. Improvement is guaranteed for future songs, and it
should be noted that very few debut songs are indeed excellent. A few
exceptions may be MAMAMOO’s “Mr. Ambiguous” or SEVENTEEN’s
“Adore U”
for examples, but regardless, even those groups
certainly can improve—and have improved—and overall, “Mr. Ambiguous” and “Adore
U” are still not utterly outstanding songs even if, for debuts, they are
noteworthy.

Another
example is with Girls’ Generation. Though defensiveness may arise, the ladies’
debut song of “Into The New World,” while not repulsive, is far from being a
charming song. But, given years to grow and improve, Girls’ Generation is now
very much respectable and the group has released stellar songs, such as
“Party,” “Lion Heart” and so forth. Leaving a final example and one that may
directly relate to “Like Ooh-Ahh,” Red Velvet comes to mind. With their debut
of “Happiness,” though I did not review the song, I will confidently and
harshly claim that song was mediocre. Very mediocre. However, following the
group to their latest songs, improvement is unequivocally seen. Thus,
connecting TWICE, if “Like Ooh-Ahh” results in a disappointing score, rather
than interpreting such as bashing towards the group’s skills, it should be
understood as a critique to the song itself. They are, after all, in the K-Pop
industry, and thus, do possess the merits that allow them to even be in it in
the first place. Again, improvement is always possible, and of course, even
talented, veteran groups are not immune to releasing poorer songs as there are
moments where, despite the talent, a song may be weakly produced (according to
my review rubric, that is).  

On
the subject of my review standards, while I strive to keep reviews well
supported with valid arguments, it should be clear that my ratings are entirely
subjective; music, after all, can never be objectively critiqued. At most,
analyzing songs in a mechanical sense with the production (pitches used, etc.)
is possible, but when it comes to deciding what sounds from said production are
deemed “good” or “bad,” that does fall within pure opinions—opinions that are still
backed up by evidence and reasoning, that is. Besides, music is a phenomenon
that cannot be explained scientifically; there is no obvious reason for its
existence or for why it releases dopamine (if a reader disagrees, I would be
interested to hear the science behind music). Therefore, it is not automatically
negative for song reviews to be subjective as not everything can or should be
directly linked to science. Coincidentally, this topic of “humanities versus
sciences” was discussed in an older review of Girls’
Generation’s “Catch Me If You Can.”
Readers who are
interested should refer to it, but in short: both are necessary. Focusing on
solely sciences will cause the loss of humanity—the loss of human connection
and love towards one another. Not having or caring for humanities is to
essentially be a robot. Conversely, caring solely for humanities is to not
physically live; sciences are necessary if physical health is to be improved
and even livable. Sciences allow societies to have technologies that aid in
surviving, or more modernly, to have a more leisure life. Both are needed is
the message.

Nevertheless,
for a more serious digression (readers should feel free to skip to the review
itself), with discussing the topic of opinions, there is one crucial question I
should have addressed months ago, and especially with becoming a future
educator, it is one worthy of asking myself: Am I trying to force readers to
think in a specific way musically and even socially? Directly answering: no. I
will first discuss the answer in a musical context as that is easier to first
comprehend, and afterwards, I will then include a social context as that is the
more critical piece to ruminate over. With the many digressions reviews have
regarding topics that derive from lyrics, music videos, or regular K-Pop news,
it very much is worth asking if I am attempting to change readers’ opinions on
certain issues.

Musically, reiterating the earlier point, I do
not wish readers to accept my review criteria as “right.” Drawing an obvious
example, my outline should not be rendered as the default method for
deconstructing a song. There is an infinite amount of ways to break apart a
song—my method happens to be one view out of the infinite. Referring to other
song reviewers, whether of K-Pop or not, truly discloses such. Furthermore,
even within the outline, the way in which I dissect a song’s lyrics, sections,
vocals, and so on, vastly differs from others. It is solely one perspective.
For example, I tend to grade “intense” vocals (tuneful singing, note holds,
note stretches, etc.; think of Ailee) more highly, but clearly, that is a
biased take on what constitutes as excellent vocals. There are certainly songs,
such as with raps, where vocal intensity is minimal to nonexistent, and yet, it
would unfair to judge a rap’s vocals as average because of such. Nonetheless,
even with attempting to be flexible with criteria, it is all based on a
personal perspective. What is classified as a solid chorus or instrumental
certainly does differ from another person’s view, and no one is ever “right” in
regard to music quality.

Offering
a final point, rather than hoping that readers blindly accept my reviews as
“correct,” I merely hope to provide new insight towards songs. That is the
ultimate purpose of my reviews: giving new perspectives. Now, this does not
permit lousy and horrible arguments for reviews; it instead means that reviews
are personal, supported interpretations of a song. Likewise, social topic
digressions follow suit: I hope my positions on certain social topics are
supported by decent reasons, but in the end, those stances are still all
relative to my view—a single view. I may, and probably do, have stances that
are very controversial, even if there are valid reasons. CLC’s
“Pepe”
’s digression is a perfect example. My stance
regarding shaving is somewhat extreme, but nevertheless, it is supported with
evidence and is not an abstract, pathetic idea. However, as noted, it is still
a peculiar view, and thus, rather than forcing that stance onto readers, I
simply hope I have given a new perspective. After all, with the shaving
example, I very much do hope readers disagree with my position; my personal
stance with shaving admittedly does not support equality and equity—it is
one-sided take.

Overall,
I do not ever wish to force my ideas upon readers (and future students) as
correct. For what I do expect, however, is that through sharing my
perspectives, readers develop their own opinions and become critical with what
is believed in. Using the shaving example once more, many do in fact disagree
and that is what I desire: not forcing readers to accept my views, but forcing
readers to critically think over my views and over their own views—musically
and socially. No matter a view and how much it may be disliked, being able to
respect the perspective and to critically think over it is vital and of main
importance. Whether my views are agreed or disagreed with is irrelevant; what
matters is asking why my views are agreed or disagreed with, and why my views
are as they are.

All
that said, the review will now officially begin. TWICE is a newly debuted
group, and with their first song of “Like Ooh-Ahh,” this review will determine
if the song does cause listeners to go “ooh-ahh.”

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 4/10
(4.2/10 raw score) – “Slightly below average”


Vocals: 4/10


Sections: 4/10
(4.43/10 raw score)

Introduction, Verse,
Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Rap, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus, Conclusion

1.     Introduction:
5/10

2.     Verse: 4/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 5/10

4.     Chorus: 5/10

5.     Rap: 4/10

6.     Bridge: 3/10

7.     Conclusion:  5/10


Line Distribution: 3/10

Nayeon: Verse 1, Chorus 1, Chorus 2
(Total: 2)

Jeongyeon: Chorus 3 (Total: 1)

Momo: Verse 1, Verse 2 (Total: 2)

Sana: Verse 1, Verse 2 (Total: 2)

Jihyo: Verse 1, Pre-Chorus 1, Chorus
1, Pre-Chorus 2, Chorus 2, Chorus 3 (Total: 6)

Mina: Verse 1, Pre-Chorus 1 (Total:
2)

Dahyun: Rap 1 (Total: 1)

Chaeyoung: Rap 1 (Total: 1)

Tzuyu: Pre-Chorus 1, Pre-Chorus 2
(Total: 2)

All: Bridge 1, Conclusion

Equal
Value: 2.11 sections per member.


Instrumental: 4/10


Lyrics: 5/10

People can’t leave me alone for a single minute
I’m so pretty,
I make everyone smitten
No matter where I go, the floors are red
Like walking down a red carpet,
everyone is staring at me
Some people ask “Who’s your mama?”
They take a fresh approach,
but I don’t feel a thing
But I wanna fall in love with someone
Wanna fall in love baby
Listen up my boy

I’m waiting for someone who can make me feel
something like never before
(That’s who I’m waiting for)
I’ll wait, no matter how long it takes
I just wanna fall in love

What to do, keep me still
Make me like ooh-ahh ooh-ahh
Fake, fake, empty-hearted fake
Goodbye, good riddance huh (Like ooh-ahh)
What to do, make me speechless
Make me like ooh-ahh ooh-ahh
Bla-la-la-la stop talking, start doing
Make me feel huh (Like ooh-ahh)

Look at me and see me again
Pass by once and look back (Twice)
Wherever I go, I go without makeup
And I still shine the most
Flat shoes can’t hide my high value

Movie like scenes run through my head la-la-la
Just thinking about it
makes me excited yeah
Now I want to love somebody
Wanna fall in love baby
Listen up my boy

I’m waiting for someone who can make me feel
Something like never before
(That’s who I’m waiting for)
I’ll wait, no matter how long it takes
I just wanna fall in love

What to do, keep me still
Make me like ooh-ahh ooh-ahh
Fake, fake, empty-hearted fake
Goodbye, good riddance huh (Like ooh-ahh)
What to do, make me speechless
Make me like ooh-ahh ooh-ahh
Bla-la-la-la stop talking, start doing
Make me feel huh (Like ooh-ahh)

Don’t wanna start with just anybody
I’m not a girl who gives it up so easily
Let me see how you gon’ treat me
I ain’t no “easy”
Better think about it twice
Let me see how you gon’ treat me
I ain’t no “easy”
Better think about it twice

What to do, keep me still
Make me like ooh-ahh ooh-ahh
Fake, fake, empty-hearted fake
Goodbye, good riddance huh (Like ooh-ahh)
What to do, make me speechless
Make me like ooh-ahh ooh-ahh
Bla-la-la-la stop talking, start doing
Make me feel huh (Like ooh-ahh)

Like ooh-ahh

Choreography Score: 7/10

Overall Score: 6/10
(5.5/10 raw score)

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: For
a fun fact, as of this sentence, it is nearly two in the morning. The phrase,
“the things I do for-readers-and-to-keep-my-review-schedule-on-track-without-losing-valuable-homework-time”
certainly applies here. And perhaps a loss of composure. Jokes aside, this may
be the lowest scored song yet. The Song Score does average out at a four, and
though disappointing, it is understandable on why that is the case.

The
Line Distribution rates at a three for below average, and that is because of a
significant disparity: Jihyo has six sections while three other members are in
need of one additional section. Should Jihyo have lost three sections, a rating
of nine would have been granted. But with the current share, four out of nine
members being unequal in quantity will significantly decrease the score along
with how, based on Jihyo’s count, a large gaping disparity exists.

Focusing
also on the non-musical side of the Lyrics category, a five is in place. “Like
Ooh-Ahh” contains lyrics that are, as the rating, average. Many sections repeat
similar ideas if not identical ones, and additionally, for the repeated lyrics,
many are dull in detail. For example, the choruses and pre-choruses contain
lyrics that are not alluring as the lines are composed of very simplistic,
short phrases. Worse, however, is the repetition as every chorus and pre-chorus
recycles the same mundane lyrics. Even with the overarching plot, it fails to shift
away from the traditional theme of romance—though it is not inherently negative
for lyrics to reuse that theme. What is negative for “Like Ooh-Ahh” is how
within its theme, it is an incredibly plain story. It can, after all, be
summarized in one line: a confident lady is looking for a love-interest that
will make her go “ooh-ahh.” Optimistically, for why the score is at least a
five versus a lower score, it is unique in the sense of using “ooh-ahh” as its
key idea. Similar to MAMAMOO’s
“Um Oh Ah Yeah”
(on a side note, I love that song), exclamations
are used to describe the main character’s feeling, though for “Like Ooh-Ahh”
specifically, it is used moreover to describe her desire. Also, for the
sections that are not of the choruses, pre-choruses, and bridge, those sections
are indeed appealing and deliver great detail to the plot’s main character.

Switching
over to the musical side of the song, coincidentally the Vocals, Sections, and
Instrumental category all hold at a four. (Also, as of this sentence, happy
Pepero Day for those who celebrate it.) Beginning with the vocals, immaturity
is an encapsulating description—not in the sense of physical sounds, that is; TWICE,
based on “Like Ooh-Ahh,” significantly lacks vocal control. While true that the
vocals are diverse in notes, style, and that at the end there is a short note
hold, the execution of it all is not alluring. For example, the choruses do
possess many desirable qualities, such as the ones mentioned earlier regarding
note diversity and all, but despite those traits, the produced sounds are not
enticing. There is minimal complexity and the vocals sound mundane and overly
basic. Likewise, the instrumental falls in a similar situation in that, though
complementing to the vocals and helpful for progressing the song, it sounds
incredibly plain. Overall, if both the vocals and instrumental utilized sounds
and styles that were more distinct and not of stereotypical “pop” music, higher
ratings may be earned. As of now, the lack of specialty will be negative for
the song. Obviously the genre of pop is not inherently bad (no genre is), but
when very basic pop music sounds, such as in “Like Ooh-Ahh,” is indeed
produced, it is difficult to receive anything higher than a five. There is
simply minimal creativity, and in such a “popular” genre where many songs are
created, being distinct is vital—both for publicity but also in that better
quality does, usually, mean shifting away from using basic pop sounds in
instrumental, vocals, and so forth.

Transitioning
to the sections of the song, as the prior paragraph explains, a four is in
place as TWICE’s song strictly follows stereotypical pop music. Although
personal guilt is felt for the following excess harshness (again, refer to the
Personal Message for how this review is not to humiliate the hardworking
ladies): only the bridge will be specifically inspected as the rest can be
generally critiqued. With the remaining sections in mind, regardless of whether
a four or five is specifically granted, the general idea holds: average. The
introduction is unique in style, but with the given instrumental, it renders
plain; the verses, pre-choruses, and choruses all follow a traditional format,
and thus, lack appeal in structure—let alone how sonically they all also lack;
the rapping is poor in categories of flow, melody, and pacing; and lastly, the
conclusion, though fulfilling to its role as it is a recycle of the
introduction and therefore pacifying, fails to be mesmerizing as explained for
the introduction itself. Finally addressing the bridge, a three is given for
below average. The bridge follows, as the other sections, a standardized
structure and therefore, is already unappealing in that regard. Most impairing,
however, is the second half of the bridge where minimal sonic appeal worsens to
nearly nonexistent: obnoxious vocals take over. Now “obnoxious” is admittedly
exaggerated; the vocals are not to the point of utter chaos, but nonetheless,
are very low in quality. Chanting is moreover the accurate term, but even so,
it does not erase the fact of how it is structurally unsuitable and sonically
unattractive. A three is given as an outcome, though a two would have been the
case if it were not for the first half.

Discussing
the choreography and in
promise that I am not being overly strict because of university stress
, thankfully,
a higher rating appears: a seven. “Like Ooh-Ahh” may languish in its musical
value, but the dance holds. Syncing, though not excessively precise, is still
quite accurate and noteworthy. Beats, for example, are connected with, and more
generally, the song’s overall pacing is flawlessly reflected. More intense moments
consist of quicker movements, and conversely, more passive moments showcase
equally calm syncing. In terms of key points, this is the dance’s strongest
point. Especially with the benefit of having nine members, many formations are
possible. Delightfully, TWICE does manipulate that attribute as every section,
minus the choruses, uses a new key point. No verses are identical, each
pre-chorus varies, and so on. Accounting that both syncing and key points are in
higher standards, a seven is rightfully earned.

_______________________________________________________

If
gauging the song from its Overall Score, a rounded-up six is the rating, but if
peering at the musical component, it does suffer with a four. Optimistically,
for a debut it is a respectable start. Given the time and practice, TWICE will definitely
blossom, and thus, I will return to the group in a few months. Nevertheless, in
juxtaposition to many other songs, “Like Ooh-Ahh” is partially lacking.  

To
the requester, apologies for this review being delayed. University work has
become hefty, but I have finally finished. Thank you for requesting the song,
and to other readers, thank you for reading this review. I greatly appreciate
any time invested in the blog and messages from readers. Since the blog is two
weeks behind schedule, I do have plans to redress such. Already exposing my
plans: EXO, VIXX, GOT7, and CNBlue will all be reviewed, and both groups of EXO
and VIXX have had very recent comebacks. Sadly, however, an expiring review of
F.T. Island’s “Severely” may be put to rest as I currently feel like speaking emotionally and
poetically
as it is simply too late to return to. But, with the
digression that occurred, I will transfer it over to the next review as the
digression topic is extremely important for readers to ponder over. And, on the
topic of digression, with the next reviews being of solely male groups, I do
hope more artist variety is gleaned and that readers are satisfied. (Refer to
horrible writings of Dal
Shabet’s “B.B.B”
and a Q/A
that discusses why there is a disparity of female and male groups reviewed; in
short, challenging male privilege and personal implicit biases are the reasons—though
the latter I am very much disarming. If I recall, I wrote defensively in the
Q/A when I should have been humble and confessing my bias, and thus, I do
apologize for that.)

As this is the end, I hope readers can “wait, no
matter how long it takes” for the next review because “I’m waiting for someone
who can make me feel something like never before”—and it perfectly happens that
readers are that “someone.” Cringing end aside, stay tuned for, most likely,
VIXX’s “Chained Up” or finishing GOT7’s “Just Right.” One of the reviews will
be finished, but most definitely, November will end with at least all the
reviews mentioned above.