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.
What a transformation Twice’s Japanese music has made this year! Previous to June’s Breakthrough, I found much of their J-pop material to be downright unlistenable, but as their Korean work has shifted toward more sophisticated sounds, their Japanese output followed suit. This culminates in the release of &Twice, their second original full-length J-pop album. Song for song, it’s better than it needs to be, and totally eclipses its predecessor.
For a couple of the album’s tracks, Twice enlist producers with long ties to JYP Entertainment. This allows them to keep musical continuity between different markets, with much of &Twice feeling like an extension of their 2019 Korean minis. What You Waiting For was composed by Collapsedone and Mayu Wakisaka, the duo responsible for their 2017 hit Knock Knock, as well as many other Twice tracks. They bring their gift for pop melody to an ultra-cool aesthetic that finds the girls working over a catchy instrumental with shades of deep house and classic club music.
The vocally-processed hook is as effortlessly smooth as Twice has ever sounded on a dance track, and the instrumental answers with an edgy electro throb. I’m exhausted over fans’ desire to constantly see their groups “mature” – whatever that means – but there’s no doubt that a song like What You Waiting For feels sleeker and more composed than most of what Twice offered in their debut years. It’s a good sound for them, and an excellent addition to their steadily-improving Japanese discography.
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