It’s been so satisfying to watch how Twice’s concept has evolved over the years. They’ve had their missteps (every group does), but by and large they’ve been able to mature their discography without losing its most appealing aspects. It’s rare that my favorite single from a group comes so late in their career, but I feel like last year’s I Can’t Stop Me is still the Twice comeback to beat. New single Scientist doesn’t swing for the rafters in the same way, but its synth-heavy approach comes across as a natural sequel.
Much of this can be traced to the song’s army of producers. No less than six composers brought Scientist to life – two of which also worked on I Can’t Stop Me. Remarkably, the song doesn’t feel piecemeal. It’s sleek, bouncy and relatively straightforward. It’s also a smart riff on the current synthwave trend, borrowing elements from that genre but tying them to a pop track that’s quintessentially Twice. But, the girls jettison the chirpier affectations of their past for a more comfortable performance. I love their vocals on the verses, which also hold Scientist’s catchiest melodies. Twice tease every ounce of charisma from these simple refrains, and the track offers just enough wisps of backing vocals to feel lush and alive.
Scientist is one fantastic chorus away from being a total classic. The main hook here is fun and catchy, but feels understated. This is especially apparent during the climax, which misses a chance to beef up the arrangement for a knockout final punch. Instead, the quirky instrumental outro steals the show, offering a glimpse at a slightly more unhinged version of this track. It makes me want to pair Twice with Girls Aloud’s mega-producers Xenomania. The group could totally nail their brand of inventively-structured club anthems.
Still, there’s so much to love here. The bridge is another highlight, moving from bubbly rap to a harmony-rich build to an unexpected chant-along bonus hook without batting an eye (do some of those vocal ad-libs remind anyone else of the American Idol theme song?). Scientist is as assured and effortless as the girls themselves, and marks another notch in a discography that’s just getting stronger by the year.