Review

Buried Treasure: Twice – Sunset

Most of the time, a k-pop group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of k-pop, I wanted to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.


One of the biggest issues I’ve had with much of Twice’s music is that their arrangements force their voices into sharp tones that can easily grate. I don’t think the girls themselves are to blame. They’ll never be known as a powerhouse vocalist group, and that’s fine. But, they’re definitely polished and capable of a more nuanced approach.

Songs like Sunset prove the potential hiding just beneath the traditional Twice concept. It takes on an 80’s aesthetic, which will always appeal to my taste, but beyond that it does a solid job drawing the best from the group’s vocals. Avoiding the temptation to smother the track in Kidz Bop-esque chanting, Sunset opts for a more refined melody that draws heavily on falsetto for a sun-kissed vibe that would have been perfect for summer. The first two lines of the chorus are especially gorgeous, delivered by Nayeon with an engaging confidence. The entire instrumental is buttressed by shimmering synths that give Sunset a wistful, dreamlike vibe. In so many ways, it’s the antidote to the group’s bubblier material. I’d love to see them go down this route for a future title track and really prove that they can pull off multiple styles.

Pair this song with AOA’s 10 Seconds for an explosion of blissed-out 80’s synth-pop.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

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6 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: Twice – Sunset

  1. This song is good (you know I love a good ’80s synthpop knockoff!), but (no, I will not drop it – I won’t!), I still can’t help but disagree with you on Twice. You’ve called them “quirky” or “quirky-cute” on more than one occasion, but Twice are very straightforward, notably un-quirky in their approach. Even “weird” songs like Signal are just 2011 Miss A at heart, and JYP is always deliberately regressive in the way that he writes music. I’ll say it; innovation is good, but not at the expense of great songwriting, and almost every Twice title track (Korean, that is, I’m not out here defending “Brand New Girl” or anything) is melodic, straightforward, without real flaw. It’s easy to pick on the more annoying things about Twice. Sure, I think we could all do without the occasional background chant, but I also think it’s important to note that that kind of thing is really never integral to the song, and therefore (for me, at least) is easy to ignore. Maybe I’m coming off like a mad Twice fan, but I’m really just curious as to why they haven’t clicked with you like they have with me. I think we tend to both value things like melody and retro-ness, so I find it kind of interesting that I absolutely love Twice and you…. not so much!

    P.S. thanks for the buried treasure feature; I almost never listen to Twice albums all the way through, but this one was really decent!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think this is just the notable exception to our tastes usually aligning. I don’t want to offend Twice fans, but the group’s vocals are often not for me. To be completely honest, I find some of their tones grating (and the over-enthused chanting even more so) — but like I mentioned in the write-up, I think that’s usually due to production/arrangement choices rather than the girls themselves.

      Beyond that, a lot of their title tracks go for melodies that are more sing-songy than the full-throated, anthemic fare I tend to favor. That’s why I’ll always prefer a GFriend to a Twice, and why I was never obsessed with pre-Reboot Wonder Girls or much of Miss A’s discography.

      But with all that said, I certainly don’t hate Twice’s music (well, I kinda hate some of their Japanese stuff…). It routinely scores in the 7’s and 8’s on this site because I can appreciate that it accomplishes its given task in a polished and catchy way. And anything they do with Black Eyed Pilseung is pretty darn great.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for highlighting this! I have trouble getting through Twice’s albums due to the high pitched singing, but this song was excellent. It’s so much better than what they released as a title track, but I can see why they chose Yes or Yes for their demographic.

    Liked by 1 person

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