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.”