It’s hard to believe that this is already Twice’s fourth single of 2017 (fifth, if you count Japanese release One More Time). To say the girls have had a big year is an understatement, but that type of frequent promotion should be expected from Korea’s biggest girl group. With new single Heart Shaker, they once again branch out from frequent collaborators Black Eyed Pilseung. That shift in sound hasn’t always worked wonders in the past, but Heart Shaker fits the group’s cute, quirky pop sound to a tee.
Though Twice will always be at their best when given Pilseung’s complex, endlessly surprising arrangements, their b-sides have often displayed a more streamlined mix of classic bubblegum hooks and celebratory beats. Heart Shaker slots firmly in that category. It comes off as more slight than most of their singles, but that sense of ease works to its advantage. The rollicking, guitar-infused instrumental calls back to the 60’s in structure, if not sound. It’s made even more addictive by a welcome dose of thundering drums as we enter the catchy pre-chorus.
But Heart Shaker is really all about its chorus, which opts for a straightforward burst of anthemic melody over a more elaborate arrangement. Nayeon is back to steering the most powerful moments of this refrain, and it’s a smart choice. There’s a climactic feel to her performance that makes for a suitable centerpiece. If there’s anything slightly off here, it’s the fact that Heart Shaker really sounds like a quintessential summertime song. It would have been perfectly positioned back in May, switching roles with the more restrained Signal.