Review

Buried Treasure: Twice – What You Waiting For

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.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5

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9 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: Twice – What You Waiting For

  1. I think the gap between your taste and Japanese general idol music consumer preference is even larger than the one between yours and Korean general public’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There is no “TL;DR” escape this time. Just read the damn post! 😛

    In many of my recent posts, I seem to mosh on TWICE a lot which may imply I’m not a fan. However, I’m actually a huge ONCE. So why am I more critical? Sure, part of it is the usual “heavy is the head that wears the crown” trope along with other analogous quips like “the higher the pedestal gets, the more it wobbles”, but my reasons are more selfish. If I’m going to heavily invest in them, then they need to invest in themselves; then, everyone gets a payout.

    I agree with you, Nick, their maiden efforts into the Japanese market have been largely puerile. I’ve always thought their saccharine cross-cultural efforts were a mistake. Koreans rarely succeed in their efforts to translate “aegyo” to “kawaii”. SNSD and KARA both learned this lesson quickly when they dipped their toes in the J-market. Koreans also need to abandon the “waifu” (wife) approach because there is still a lot of national divide between both countries.

    Another problem with interpretatively tailored music, other than disingenuity, is the difficulty in trying to cash in on those efforts back home. If Koreans want to listen to J-Pop, then they have the genuine article already. Why, then, would they want to listen to clumsy efforts that transition even more awkwardly back into Korean?

    So.. ..where does that leave TWICE? Well, with “&TWICE”; 10 more tracks attempting to bridge the Korean Strait and it’s their best effort towards that goal. All 10 songs (yes, even HAPPY HAPPY) are.. ..TWICE songs. Even if you can’t speak either Korean or Japanese, you can easily identify every song as coming from TWICE because they now have a “sound”. Like Red Velvet, when TWICE experiments, listeners can easily recognize the group singing it.

    Each song on &TWICE is a paragraph in itself, so I’m not going to break the whole release down. All I’ll say is that I’m very proud of JYP and the lovely ladies of TWICE. There are some truly wondrous journeys awaiting anyone willing to explore the entire album. It this release quintessential TWICE? No, but only because the group is still active. I can’t assign the “magnum opus” title until the group is no longer together. But &TWICE is worthy of top-tier praise, so.. ..”WHAT YOU WAITING FOR”?; go buy it already!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just really want to see the analysis of why “aegyo” doesn’t translate to “kawaii”, what are the fundamental differences and does Japanese really have a punity test of “kawaiiness”? Not in any way do I mean to rebut but just want to study further these (terrible) cultures

      Like

      • Sorry, but an in-depth discussion on aegyo/kawaii is going to quickly devolve into some of really dark and primal regions of human psychology. I really don’t think this is a proper forum for that type of exchange.

        However, if Nick gives the thumbs up, I’ll reconsider; maybe.

        Like

  3. Really? I don’t hate the song but I just found it very boring when I checked the album out and would always skip it.
    I still don’t know how I feel about the whole album though, sometimes I change my mind on songs out of the blue but I doubt this will be one of them, nothing about it pulls me into it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Glad you enjoyed &TWICE Nick! What other songs you mostly enjoyed from this album?

    My favorite is How u Doin’, it’s so PC Music (it’s a underground type of EDM music, in case you don’t know it), the chorus is very memorable and the melodies are so freaking nostalgic, one of TWICE best songs imo.

    Like

  5. I thought is was okay, solid b-side song, but nothing more than that.

    Is there a difference between aegyo and kawaii? Interesting question. Is there a difference between the US and Canada? well, yes but no, or no but yes, and.

    Like

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