Twice aren’t a simple k-pop group anymore. In the course of a year, they’ve established themselves as a true cultural phenomenon. That they’ve been able to achieve this so quickly is just as much a testament to their idiosyncratic music as the members’ individual appeal. Production duo Black Eyed Pilseung has steered their sound from the beginning, so it’s surprising to find that new single Knock Knock is brought to us by a completely new group of composers.
The difference is immediately apparent. The song retains the group’s unique brand of quirkiness, but sprinkles it over a much more straightforward pop song than we’re used to hearing from Twice. All three of their singles up to this point have been primarily beat-driven, allowing the melody to play with interesting time structures and diversions. With Knock Knock, the song is tethered to a relatively strict guitar and synth-driven format. The instrumental flirts with 80’s new wave influences, pulling in just enough modern touches to ensure its compatibility with the group’s previous work. When it comes to title tracks, it’s the most fleshed-out production Twice has given us. But I kind of miss the skeletal weirdness of a song like TT.
Though Knock Knock‘s verses pulse forward at a breakneck pace, allowing the girls to deliver the sing-songy style of melody they’ve become famous for, the song’s hooks aren’t particularly boundary-pushing. Tracks like TT and Cheer Up were notable for their unexpected twists and turns. In contrast, Knock Knock‘s potent chorus endears itself immediately, but plays it mostly straight. While this may be a positive in the short term, I don’t see it having the same longevity as the group’s other hits. It’s still an undeniably strong track, but Knock Knock could have been delivered by many other acts to similar effect.