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 want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
I’ve gotta say, I’m fully embracing this subtle Twice transformation. As expected, Fancy has grown on me day by day, but the entire mini album is also very solid. I love that its shift in sound feels natural for the group, and not simply a cash grab toward edgier trends. Fancy You is pure pop through and through, but it has a more sophisticated sheen than some of Twice’s past material.
Most of the album tracks are of similar quality, but I want to mention Hot because I think the song is such a good fit for the girls. Like it or not, the most polarizing aspect of most Twice singles tend to be the vocals. When used correctly, they’re quirky and instantly identifiable. But sometimes the group’s mix of sugary sweet tones verges on cloying.
Hot largely focuses on its instrumental, but that doesn’t mean that the girls themselves are outshone. The song opens with a heavily synthesized vocal bassline reminiscent of Motown or, more recently, Uptown Funk. This carries through much of the first verse, which offers an airy melody that never strains too hard. Freed from the need to inject an overexcited sense of energy, the girls sound utterly assured. This carries through to the knockout chorus, which relies heavily on an electro instrumental drop. I’m usually not one for these kind of hooks, but the production here is perfectly realized — multi-layered and insanely catchy. Twice wrings far more than you’d expect from a refrain that essentially amounts to “hot hot hot whoo woo,” but their light, layered vocals turn out to be the icing on this addictive cake.
The best tracks are often the ones that can make a style or concept you dislike and completely subvert your expectations.
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This review made me finally check out the bsides of the album, I find myself liking them all. I mostly love twice title tracks, but fancy didn’t do much for me compared to their bsides. I agree with the refrain being the highlight of the song. My fav parts are the one the after “catch me if you can” towards the end where it became climatic
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My humble opinion, personally – I would have bias as an 8 and production as an 8.
Its OK, but it sounds like a B side to me. It sounds like they started to produce it as an A-side, realized part way through the material wasn’t going to make A-side grade, then stopped. Because JYP would add =even more= layers if it were A-side.
Also, in response to your comment on polarizing: for me its not just the vocals, which are equally as aegyo as most of kpop girl groups. Its the lyrics themselves. They are just too girly and high school for my taste and my age. The success of Twice is that JYP polishes it all to a higher polish better than other gg, on all counts – production. visuals, fan service, videos, marketing, tchotchkes, etc. He also picks better, catchier songs, and has the resources to push songs like this to b-sides when they don’t work out and start again, where other agencies might not be able to afford that.
Full disclosure: Knock Knock is very high on my all time played list on my ipod. It sounds like it could be an old Motown-style song (like Candy Girl (oh sugar, oh honey honey) or Build me up Buttercup or The Love you save Jackson 5), or a Dusty Springfield release (like I only want to be with you). Picture a very young Michael Jackson singing knock knock, and the little dance at the chorus all the brothers would do in their bell bottoms. The rest of Twice’s songs I just admire and respect from a distance.
I was really impressed with a lot of the b-sides on this album, but HOT is one of my favourites. So glad to see you giving this a bit of a spotlight!