Review

Song Review: Twice – I Can’t Stop Me

When one of K-pop’s A-list acts embrace a musical trend, you know it’s officially sunk its teeth into the industry. Synthpop is the sound of the moment, and Twice have tackled the genre with I Can’t Stop Me. This follows similar efforts from Everglow and SoRi, and lands somewhere in the middle of those two tracks. Twice have dipped into the retro style on album b-sides before, but I Can’t Stop Me thrives most when it fully embodies the strengths of its genre.

One of the most exciting (and unexpected) aspects of this trend has been a return to big pop choruses. Over the past few years, they’ve often been pushed aside in favor of beat drops or chant-a-thons, but there’s no discounting the importance of a killer melodic chorus. I Can’t Stop Me comes turbo-charged with a dazzling hook. Its teasers proudly unveiled this element, clearly confident about the song’s centerpiece. And, I Can’t Stop Me has every reason to be confident. The chorus is instantly memorable, harnessing an addictive melody. Its drive perfectly compliments the synthpop instrumental, delivering momentum without resorting to the kind of stale EDM build employed by so many of its peers.

I Can’t Stop Me also sees Twice unveil a sleek performance, dialing down the quirkier side of their vocals for a more sophisticated delivery. They’ve been moving in this direction for some time, but it feels like we’ve reached a moment where they’ve blossomed into their next stage of evolution. I Can’t Stop Me’s only missteps occur during its pre-chorus, when the track slows to incorporate more modern percussion. It feels at odds with the general vibe of the production, and briefly blunts the energy. Luckily, this is a minor gripe, and we’re back inside that potent chorus before we know it.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9

77 thoughts on “Song Review: Twice – I Can’t Stop Me

  1. Yeah, its alright!

    I noticed this as well – I think the girls do a good job at upping their performance game. I know they have been in the business for some time now, but something about the dance and the delivery seems like it is a step change in difficulty, which they largely deliver against. Or is it what they didn’t do = no cheerleader chants and such. In any case, well done.

    As an aside, the song sounds like it was intended for a soloist, like Chung Ha’s “Stay Tonight” from the spring, or Sunmi.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The trap percussion in the pre-chorus threw me off too. But I think we’ll look back on late 2020 as a time when we were saying goodbye to one trend and hello to another. For now, they’re overlapping.

    Like

    • I’m hearing this a lot lately as well. It’s exciting to think that the general sound of K-pop might be shifting a bit. I feel like we’ve been stuck in the same series of trends for years now.

      Like

  3. This song was excellent to say the least and might be the first ever Twice song I’d give a 9+ on first listen.

    The post-chorus is my absolute favorite part of the whole song where it crashes into a straight falsetto-like instrumental. Honestly , Twice deliver a knock out performance here and that’s not like that with most of their songs.

    “I can’t Stop Me” Might be my favorite song from them yet and I can’t wait to see more from them with this exact style.

    Like

  4. After MORE&MORE was a letdown for me personally I’m so happy that I CAN’T STOP ME is absolutely amazing. The melodies, the choreo, the MV, everything is great. I also really like the bridge because oftentimes the bridge brings every momentum to a halt which I don’t like but here it’s really nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree 100%. TWICE is one of my fave k-pop groups but unfortunately I didn’t really like their last releases. MORE&MORE was quite a disappointment for me. I’m so happy that I CAN’T STOP ME turned out to be amazing!

      Like

  5. Hey Nick, I have been reading Alienhits recently, do you still follow Melodifestivalen? And if so, do you like Dotter’s Bulletproof or the Mamas ‘Move’ better?

    Also, in your old 2012 end year list, Gangnam Style was no. 15 (I think), Chaser was not on it, funny how time changes things…

    Also, I spotted Xeno at kpopcalypse (I wondered was it as bad as some people say, checked it out, could not bear it, and went to the comments and saw Xeno)

    Like

    • “Kpopalypse” is a K-pop Blog for people who wash paper plates and immediately put it in a dish washer after washing it and then go all like “YAAAAS I’M QUEEEEEN!”

      I don’t really mean to insult but this is my observation reading the blog.

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      • ……Also , this is not a personal attack to Xeno and nothing towards them and they are probably an exception since they are pretty cool (and hilarious)

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          • While most of the time kpopalypse’s humor feels a little too edgy and falls a bit too flat for me, I think it’s pretty ignorant to say he is misogynistic. He is easily one of the most realistic writers in kpop. He just approaches it through comedy and sarcasm rather than dealing with it in a very serious manner. He has commented countless times about the real issues within kpop be it cultural related topics, the innerent sexuality in kpop or even the fantasy that companies try to sell you. He has commented how all of it is dangerous and the real issue rather than focusing on the smaller incidents that are just a consequence of those innerent aspects of kpop. It’s fine if you don’t like his approach, I know I don’t particularly like it either, but to not be able to read between the lines and just assume that he’s misogynistic is kind of stupid. I do agree that music review wise he is usually the last one I gravitate to.

            Liked by 2 people

      • Did you mean to write paper plates or was that on purpose. Im baffled by what you are trying to say and I’m just trying to wrap my mind around how someone would wash a paper plate

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    • Xeno is a regular at kpopcalypse. FIne, whatev. I personally can’t stand it because it reads like every misogynist workplace with horrible jokes I had to endure back when I was the only female with an advanced degree in a largely male field. Its better now because I am the boss = she who pays your salary so you better zip it.
      Also I got some weird tracking software from kpopcalypse that forced me to reboot many times to get rid of it. Literally, it gave me cooties.

      Liked by 2 people

        • I actually found it fun looking at your early K-Pop reviews, and I agree with some of your old opinions more than your new ones (Mama IS better than History for me). Funny seeing how K-Pop slowly creeped into your blog, and seeing an old comment where someone asked you to check out the producer of Nothing’s Over called Sweetune. I would love to see 2020 and 2012 Nick react to each other. And now, I want an Alienhits revival, or some Alienhits elements enter TheBiasList, though I do not think we agree on Ke$ha at all….

          I will just copy and paste the top 2 of Melodifestivalen this year, I have not watched the show, but these two make me want to, they both are great! Could you suggest some old Eurovision and Melodifestivalen tracks worth a check out? Because that would be cool!

          I am not sure which one I like better, both are good, but I am leaning towards Bulletproof at the moment, simply because the performance is much better, as songs it is even.

          Thank you for dealing with my rant 🙂

          Like

          • Wow, you’re really sending me down memory lane! I forgot how much I adore Melodifestivalen songs, especially during the peak period of my love with the contest (2007-14). I went through my old playlists and pulled 4-5 highlights from each year. I put an asterisk by the bands/artists who are personal favorites (and who I would recommend checking out further).

            Sweden has a wonderful genre of pop music called schlager, which is well-worth exploring. It’s kind of like how Korea has trot. If you’re wondering what it sounds like, listen to anything from Linda Bengtzing and you’ll get an idea. Sky-high choruses and energy for days!!

            Fun fact: there’s a good bit of overlap between Melodifestivalen producers and K-pop producers. That’s one of the ways I first got into K-pop. I just followed those producers!

            2007
            Magnus Carlsson – Live Forever
            *The Ark – The Worrying Kind
            Måns Zelmerlöw – Cara Mia
            Nanne – Jag måste kyssa dig

            2008
            Charlotte Perrelli – Hero
            *Bodies Without Organs – Lay Your Love On Me
            *Ola Svensson – Love In Stereo
            *Linda Bengtzing – Hur svårt kan det va

            2009
            Star Pilots – Higher
            Alcazar – Stay The Night
            Malena Ernman – La Voix
            Måns Zelmerlöw – Hope & Glory
            Velvet – The Queen

            2010
            Ola Svensson – Unstoppable
            Timoteij – Kom
            *Darin – You’re Out Of My Life
            Elin Lanto – Doctor Doctor
            Neo – Human Frontier

            2011
            Eric Saade – Popular
            *Melody Club – The Hunter
            Linda Bengtzing – E det fel på mej
            Swingfly – Me & My Drum
            Le Kid – Oh My God

            2012
            *Loreen – Euphoria
            Charlotte Perrelli – The Girl
            Timoteij – Stormande Hav
            Danny – Amazing

            2013
            Ulrik Munther – Tell The World I’m Here
            Anton Ewald – A
            Martin Rolinski – In And Out Of Love
            David Lindgren – Skyline

            2014
            Martin Stenmarck – När Änglarna Går Hem
            Alcazar – Blame It On The Disco
            Josef Johansson – Hela Natten
            Linda Bengtzing – Ta Mig
            Sanna Nielsen – Undo

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  6. As soon as I heard the opening, I knew I’d love it! The synthpop trend has been one of the best parts of kpop this year. I was so disappointed with Twice this year (More and More was not my taste at all), but I was hoping this comeback would live up to the greatness of last year’s release. Dare I say it has!

    Like

  7. I’ve been a huge fan of Twice since they won me over with Likey, and I was massively impressed by their 2018 and 2019. Their summer comeback earlier this year, while still pretty good, was definitely a step back in terms of quality. That being said, More & More has grown on me a bit after almost 5 months. I would have given it a 7.5 or so in June, but I’d probably give it an 8 now. Not bad, but definitely not their best.

    But holy Jihyo, this song is excellent. La Di Da is one of my very favorite songs of the year, and I Can’t Stop Me follows that same sound but in its own memorable way. The retro synth sound fits Twice like a glove, and they ooze charisma with every line. That small faux pas on the pre-chorus is almost symbolic of the transition from modern percussion to retro sound over the year; it’s like we’re waving goodbye to one trend and welcoming another all in one song. The trap percussion sound is but a mere blip now. All hail the synth!

    I don’t always agree with Nick on ratings, but I definitely believe that this song deserves its rating here. I’d personally put a 10 for bias which would make the song a 9.25 for me. I Can’t Stop Me is now on the short list of my favorite songs of 2020 now.

    Like

  8. i think the key is just too high, the vocals in the chorus and especially the adlibs in the last one seem a bit hard to reach 😦

    i also find the second to be really disappointing. twice songs have always had such refreshing second verses, like in TT, Fancy and even Cheer Up. i’m really missing that energy.

    still an enjoyable track tho. and they look amazing!!

    Liked by 4 people

  9. I really liked the first verse, but after that it just kind of fell flat to me. I don’t think the chorus hook is that great, & the song just didn’t really go anywhere. Compared to La Di Da, the chorus melody has a smaller range, but when it does move into a higher register, the vocal sounds shouty and strained, which is a personal pet peeve. I don’t see myself listening to this again.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. As this trend is growing more prominent I am realising that synthpop does not suit my personal taste. I dont like the vocals on this either- some sound a little strained.

    I do think Twice have done super well with evolving their concept. It feels like a natural and gradual change, no sudden 180 into a different style- and they make this style work for them, mostly.

    Like

    • There is that one high line in the chorus, right around 1:00 and again when that line repeats, when you know that this is the best they could do after so many hours in the recording studio. Other than that line, for a group not known much at all for their singing, it isn’t terrible for me. They even manage to wedge in the complete non-singers into lines that make sense (especially Momo).

      Needless to say, someone will upload MR videos for this, Twice can’t sing, and all that, as if it is new news.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think it’s that line standing out to me so much that made me write that. I don’t think the entire song’s vocals are as bad.

        On those MR videos, I think they’re an interesting trend but not very constructive. Kpop idols are good performers, not necessarily good singers. And I don’t think those MR removed videos are always accurate either. I wonder if many kpop performances make use of live pitch correction as well as backing tracks?

        Anyways, YT channel Sideways has a great video about autotune and ‘unedited’ singing (if that even exists anymore, and if it should).

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sideways is a great channel.

          MR videos are crap. I don’t know how the MR filter itself works, but since there is a backing track for just about everyone, the MR has to remove a processed vocal to leave a (presumably un-) processed live vocal, which makes it all sound even more processed. If one wants to hear and discern “vocal quality”, its far better to listen to a music show with your eyes first and ears second. “But he’s breathing hard” isn’t proof. “But he’s breathing hard at the right moment” also isn’t proof. Or just give up, and admire the insane camera work.

          The ones who use the live pitch correction are the ones who can afford it and can’t afford not to.

          And then there are the ones who pre-record a vocal in the studio on the same mics they use live in a “rough cut” sounding version, complete with breathing, so it sounds like live-ish, and then lip sync.

          Its better to watch the radio shows use real un- or under-processed live mics.
          Or even better the music shows where the instrumental is very clearly live, and the guy is sitting there with a mic. That is hard to fake.
          ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9KTou66QxM = almost three octave song
          ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkzvTGqFEWE = that mic on Hyung Ho is so live, you can hear every bump in that room (like 1:42), hear him run out of breath. (This is the song that has that nice supportive synth wash behind him on the high high note.)

          Sure, yeah, I am a snob.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I know, right? Alright, warning, a bit of a rant below.

            I am not against kpop groups using backing tracks or live editing- but it can perpetuate a crazy high standard for live singing. On Golcha’ s Pump It Up performances, I saw so many comments praising them for being so stable live, even bashing other groups for not singing live. Yes, you could hear them breathe into the microphones, but the vocals were unrealistically stable given their choreography. They definitely did not sing live. Maybe small parts, but not most of it.
            And there’ s nothing wrong with that when they have such an intense choreo! I just wish this was more common knowledge.

            Anyway, I do like to hear some live singing for ballads and such. Live singing is never ‘perfect’ sounding, but that contributes to its charm as well. I’ ll check out those videos!

            Like

        • Kpopalypse explains well, in the following link, why MR removed videos don’t show at all how well someone sings. MR removed videos don’t even prove if the idols are singing live! The link also explains the techniques used to create these kinds of videos.
          https://kpopalypse.com/2013/09/17/her-talents-are-huge-why-mr-videos-are-all-bullshit/
          So yeah, you’e right, MR videos aren’t accurate.
          Also, since you were wondering “if many kpop performances make use of live pitch correction as well as backing tracks”… Kpopalypse has many articles about music theory, technical aspects, and the “V files” (aka vocals). They taught me a lot and they’re much more interesting than the typical boring music theory books. I’ll send you links if you’re interested.
          https://kpopalypse.com/tag/music-theory/
          https://kpopalypse.com/tag/technical/
          https://kpopalypse.com/tag/the-v-files/

          Like

  11. More&More scared me so I’m glad Twice have returned with a solid album.
    Current issues going on made me realize we’re hitting that point where 3rd gen girl groups are going to start getting shafted so seeing Twice put out one of their best efforts has really relieved me.

    Like

  12. As much as I like the title track (a solid 8.5/10 for me) I love the b-sides much more. I hope there are some hidden gems good enough for Nick to review!

    Like

  13. I actually do enjoy this song, it’s probably my favourite of Twice since Likey. But at the same time I kept thinking that Sori’s Initial S did the whole concept better.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I usually don’t care about line distribution (unless it’s something ridiculous like Why Not), but I really think this song would be better if the members with less lines got more? Nayeon’s voice is cool but it didn’t add a lot of dynamics to the song after her third chorus, it felt repetitive?, and Tzuyu/Sana completely disappeared in the song, kind of forgot they were even in this comeback, for this reason I absolutely love Jeongyeon’s chorus part at the end, it breathes fresh air into the track.
    I also don’t understand why Twice keeps going back to these short shared raps when the rapline has proven many times that they can pull off full rap parts (What is Love/More&More/Feel Special). it’s like they make progress/improvements but then go back.
    This is nice but I don’t think they will ever top Likey and Fancy

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I like it but the chorus falls a bit flat for me. Specifically the post chorus, it doesn’t go anywhere? I like the song but in a year full of retro and synth pop it’s starting to blur like the house music trend

    Like

  16. I really enjoyed it and it was my favourite track from the album. The album’s also pretty decent too, there are some good songs.

    First Listen:

    I Can’t Stop Me – 9/10 [9,9,9,9]
    Hell In Heaven – 8/10 [8,8,8,8]
    Up No More – 8.25/10 [9,8,8,8]
    Do What We Like – 8.75/10 [9,9,8,9]
    Bring It Back – 7.5/10 [7,8,7,8]
    Believer – 8.5/10 [8,9,8,9]
    Queen – 7.75/10 [8,8,8,7]
    Go Hard – 7/10 [8,7,7,6]
    Shot Clock – 8/10 [8,9,8,7]
    Handle It – 7.25/10 [8,7,7,7]
    Depend On You – 8/10 [9,8,7,8]
    Say Something – 8.25/10 [8,9,8,8]
    Behind The Mask – 8.75/10 [9,9,8,9]

    Liked by 1 person

    • Second Listen:

      – I Can’t Stop Me – 9/10 [9,9,9,9]

      I don’t have any negative criticism on it other than the fact that it’s too predictable for me. It’s no rollercoaster ride but definitely a delight to listen to.

      Hell In Heaven – 8/10 [8,8,8,8]

      I love the mysterious vibe but it never really powers into the beat I hoped for.

      Up No More – 8.5/10 [8,9,9,8]

      A great song which feels quite fresh but some parts aren’t as great as others.

      Do What We Like – 9/10 [9,9,9,9]

      This is the generic dance-pop music I love. It’s simple, energetic and bright.

      Bring It Back – 7.5/10 [8,8,7,7]

      Definitely not my type of song but fortunately it has a few creative parts that help it from being a disappointment.

      Believer – 8.5/10 [8,9,8,9]

      I really enjoyed the drop but nothing else really stands out.

      Queen – 8/10 [8,8,9,7]

      I generally don’t enjoy songs like this but there are some nice parts and it’s pretty catchy.

      Go Hard – 6.5/10 [8,6,6,6]

      Definitely the most disappointing song of the album for me. Based on the highlight medley it sounded like “Get Loud” part 2. I was wrong 😦

      Shot Clock – 7.75/10 [8,9,8,6]

      Again, this is not a sound I particularly enjoy but I do appreciate the stuffed instrumental.

      Handle It – 7/10 [8,7,7,6]

      Simply just not my type of song.

      Depend On You – 8.25/10 [8,8,8,9]

      The chord progression immediately reminds me of Stray Kids’ Mixtape #1. I really enjoyed the chorus but the rest felt quite average.

      Say Something – 8/10 [8,8,8,8]

      It’s pretty good but it doesn’t really capture me.

      Behind The Mask – 9/10 [9,9,9,9]

      The verses are pretty average but the chorus/drop is magnificent. I really love the instrumental at the chorus – perhaps my favourite part of the album. A great closing track.

      Like

  17. On the album: I think it’s really solid and eclectic, and feels like some kind of culmination of their career until this point.

    I especially love their take on city-pop (Say Something).

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Because of I Can’t Stop Me’s genre, I would’ve expected this comeback to be my favorite track in Twice’s discography. But Fancy still reigns supreme.

    This is definitely a good song, the instrumental during the first minute is gorgeous to me but heading into the chorus, the track kinda loses me. The least appealing part of I Can’t Stop Me is the chorus for me. It’s not bad but there’s something lacking. I can’t really describe it. It’s really catchy though, I can’t get it out of my brain.

    I don’t blame the song’s weakness on that aspect on Twice’s vocal ability. Yes, they’re definitely not the most talented group on vocal but Sunmi, who doesn’t have an amazing voice technique wise, carries her synthpop, 80s infused tracks with ease. The girls do a good job here.

    A lot of people on the comments have been comparing this song to LADIDA and how the later is still unbeatable. I agree, I’ve played and replayed LADIDA so much this last two months and I never get tired of it. I Can’t Stop Me, very much like this month’s comebacks in general, lack the adrenaline rush September’s top tracks gave you while listening to them. Criminal, Favorite Boys, LADIDA… The best tracks of this year’s “retro synthpop” trend.

    It will probably grow on me though.

    Like

  19. One day in and I like don’t love it. I don’t think they’ve topped Fancy or Feel Special. I think this sounds like what it actually is – a Melanie Joy Fontana/Lindgren track. sure the melody is cool but it’s way too pentatonic and has the same shapes in the rest of their music regardless of the 80s vibe. There are parts of this that are very similar to CLC’s Helicopter and that makes me both reconsider if that song may actually be ok or if Can’t stop me is much worse than the surface level suggests. I’m sorry but I prefer a little chromaticism even if it’s just a leading tone.

    Also the retro synthpop trend is so revisionist. It’s so much more driven by Dua Lipa, Weeknd and the Stranger Things soundtrack (really where I see this whole trend stemming from) than the actual 80s. I’d much prefer something like Strawberry Switchblade as a reference point when it comes to 80s synthpop.

    I love the performance, choreo and visual concept that this song is a conduit for. I think the expressions, choreo and camera motion during Tzuyu’s line in Verse 2 is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever been able to enjoy.
    while I don’t think the chorus is actually killer…it is the only song I’ve listened to the past day beside returning to April’s Da capo which is a much better ep than I remember.

    Like

    • Controversial opinion- the new spoken word rap trend for GG (Loona’s Why Not and Weki Meki’s Cool) is MUCH more 80s than the synth pop revival claiming to be 80s inspired.


      Case and point is Lizzy Mercier Descloux

      Like

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