Twice have enjoyed a meteoric rise in Japan, quickly reigniting the female side of the hallyu wave. I only wish that this success was accompanied by music that felt as fresh as most of their Korean output. So far, singles One More Time and Candy Pop have largely adhered to the tropes one might expect from Japanese girl group output.
Brand New Girl has been available for a few weeks now as the b-side to Candy Pop. But like many j-pop side tracks, it’s been given added spotlight with its own music video. One might assume this to be a deserved spotlight — that the song was just too strong to bury on the back end of an album or single. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Brand New Girl falls firmly into b-side territory, landing as one of the more generic pieces of pop that Twice have recorded.
Of course, given the proper context there’s nothing inherently wrong with “generic.” Twice deliver the song well, even if their distinct vocal tones are better aligned with quirkier material. The power pop melody paints with an inoffensive energy, gliding easily along its punchy instrumental. But a song this toothless is easily forgotten, and that’s never been a hallmark of Twice’s music. We hear glimpses of their charm in the rising, chant-heavy pre-chorus, but this only leads into a Disney Channel hook that is too pre-teen slumber party even for a group as cheerful as Twice. J-pop is a wonderfully weird playground. It would be a shame to waste the girls’ insane popularity on material this trite.