K-Pop debuts can be tricky things. At times, they’re the best song a group delivers. Sometimes, they’re the only song a group delivers!
But, debuts can also be huge wtf moments in an artist’s career. In this feature, I’ll be looking back at debut songs through the prism of time, re-evaluating how well they hold up and how representative they are of an artist’s eventual singles run.
Debut Date: November 8, 2005
With a career as long as Super Junior’s, musical output is bound to go through several iterations. They’ve had their funky stage, their Latin stage, their electropop stage and their current ‘throw it all in a blender’ stage. But when they first debuted, their music mostly fell in line with SM Entertainment trends of the moment.
By that, I mean their title tracks were delightfully weird. Yes, songs like Miracle and U were boiler plate dance pop, but then you had bombastic throwdowns like Don’t Don and Twins. The latter is the subject of my lookback today, and remains one of the group’s definitive works.
Take a moment to enjoy Twins’ music video and all its hairstyle… choices. You may think this song sounds definitively “K-pop” (at least I do!), but like many SM releases of its era, Twins is actually a cover of a western pop track. In this case, we’re talking about the 2003 single Knockout from British boy band Triple 8. This song was a top ten hit in the UK, though I don’t imagine many remember it (or Triple 8) today.
To most of us, Twins is the definitive version of this track. That has a lot to do with Super Junior themselves, who deliver a robust, engaging performance. The vocal arrangement adds needed harmony, the rap embraces the production’s inherent goofiness and the whole product boasts much more texture and dimension than the original. That crunchy guitar riff is still omnipresent, but it’s offset by a skillful use of space that adds needed aural diversity to the track. I especially love the extended finale, which fades in and out as vocals ricochet off the song’s edges. It feels big and dramatic, just as a debut should be.
Does the song hold up?
For me, yes. But, I imagine this sound won’t be loved by everyone.
Is the song stronger or weaker than most of the artist’s title tracks?
It’s not their strongest, but I’d put it in the upper half of their singles run. (and yes, I’ll be redoing my top ten at some point this summer…)
Does the song represent the artist’s music going forward?
Not really. The group has been through so many different phases.