Review

Song Review: Twice – Scientist

Twice - ScientistIt’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.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

41 thoughts on “Song Review: Twice – Scientist

  1. besides the strong title, this album is strong in its entirety! i’m not even done listening to the whole thing but there are already buried treasures left right and centre, current fav based on first impression is “moonlight” but the rock sound on “cactus” is totally unexpected and cool

    Liked by 7 people

  2. This was a fast review! i agree, this song is an excellent development in their sound at this stage of their career, and I love that twice are veering into a pop sound that’s still infectiously catchy but also sophisticated in a retro way.

    this track’s perfect for their 3rd (!!) full album and so far, the album sounds very fitting for them too. Cruel is very solid for a bside and is just solid pop perfection

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I definitely agree that the chorus is the part that I’m stuck on, and it sucks because unfortunately it soured my thoughts on the rest of the song. The verses are amazingly catchy – since they were revealed in the album preview it’s been stuck in my head on loop, and even after hearing the full song its still there. I also love the girls’ vocals in this song as well, I was hoping that the song would remain in a comfortable range after hearing the verses, and I’m glad it did! They sound very comfortable, charismatic, and assured.

    As you put it, a great chorus would have put this over the top, but while it’s alright, its understated-ness is putting me off when I was hoping to get knocked off my feet. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll come around to it pretty quickly being a massive once 😂 and Talk & Talk, which I and others had a similar problem with, totally grew on me to be one of my favourites of the year.

    I can’t wait to listen to the album! The album preview sounded great, and Twice hasn’t disappointed me in the b-sides department in quite a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve only listened to it two times so far but I already love it. Not quite as much as I Can’t Stop Me but it might easily become my 2nd fave Twice single. I’ve been largely disappointed with girl group releases this year so this is refreshing! Vocally, they sound their best hear and I agree that they sound way more comfortable in this range. Saving the rest of the album for my commute tomorrow but I’m psyched for it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. If last year’s sound was 80’s synthwave, this year’s is a natural progression – these Move-ish, bassy songs are everywhere, examples being – Tamed-Dashed, Drunk-Dazed, Ready To Love, Spider, libidO, Gambler, Dumb Dumb, Don’t Fight The Feeling, Easy, Holiday Party and lots more.

    Twice have never been my favorite group, but I cannot deny that their discography seems to be VERY consistent. In a good way. Honestly, this beats ICSM to become my favorite Twice song yet. (9 – 8,10,9,9)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Glad it’s here that electro-bass sound has always been my thing. Plus I feel like it’s not in heavy abundance to where Ive grown weary of it either. A nice middle ground.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow. This is just so good. Of course I’m a ONCE so there’s always a little bias I guess but TWICE just always has me hooked as an international K-pop fan. I’m happy they never went for the western concept because I want Korean music.

    Musically, TWICE is the most beautiful group out there in my opinion. They stay true to who they are and they bring so many music styles with high quality. Real music with meaning to it. Their popularity all over the world without a western concept is nothing short of amazing. They’re the best out there.

    Besides the single, their b-sides/album tracks are always so strong. That’s no different on this album. Of course I don’t like ALL of their songs but their material in general just is very strong and diverse.

    I do agree with your review. I love the final pre-chorus (which actually is a variation on the actual chorus) most and I feel that part packs a little more punch which would have been great throughout the entire song. Now it’s just a little less epic than I Can’t Stop Me (which is a 10/10 for me). I would have loved for the chorus to be in the style of the final pre-chorus. That would have been such a great hook for the entire song.

    There is a lot of meaning to this song and the album. The T of TWICE and O of ONCE combined is the meaning of love is expressed as a single formula. TWICE talked about this in an interview.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Quoting myself: I would have loved for the chorus to be in the style of the final pre-chorus. That would have been such a great hook for the entire song.

      That, combined with the instrumental outro, like you said. In my opinion that would have taken it to another level.

      I also hoped Jeongyeon would have gotten some more lines in the (last) chorus as her mezzo-soprano voice suits this lower key very well. She does have the most powerful mid-register in TWICE (who can forget that note in One In A Million).

      But this song will fit perfectly with I Can’t Stop Me, Fancy, TT, Feel Special, Cheer Up, What Is Love, Breakthrough, Fake & True, More & More, Kura Kura, Perfect World, What You Waiting For, Get Loud, Up No More, Depend On You, Likey, Scandal, Girls Like Us, Yes or Yes, Hot, Sweet Summer Day, Do What We Like, Cry For Me, One In A Million, Better, The Feels..eh you know..one of my favorite TWICE songs :p I’ll stop already.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This song is truly a mashup of different genres. Twice’s forte has always been taking what is trendy and adding their signature spin to it, whether the song is musically interesting or not, that’s not the debate here.

    I think the song reminds me of quite a few songs from the past… whether it is the overall “Born This Way” vibe, or the “Umpah-Umpah”-like pre-chorus, or the Baek Yerin’s “Maybe It Is Not Our Fault” melodies in the chorus… I love all these three songs, and of course this new song by Twice too, but my head just cannot help it but to think about these three songs when “Scientist” is veering through different sections of the song…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Cruel as the Hidden Treasure? Maybe a full album review?

    Twice killing it as always. I didn’t like them much before but they are slowly climbing to be one of my favorite groups

    Liked by 2 people

  9. One of the quirky aspects of k-pop, which doesn’t get much if any coverage, is the lyrics. If you don’t understand the lyrics (or don’t enable MV subtitles), set that aside and you still have plenty of peculiar English song titles and concepts. I will confess I liked “Alcohol Free” a lot less than I would have had it been about almost anything else. Same goes for “Scientist”. It just feels awkward. Not dissing this song at all, it’s a really fine TWICE track (minus the lyrics), but I’d still argue there is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to k-pop song titles and concepts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess this is just something we totally disagree on because I LOVE the scientist concept, I think it’s adorable. I also think they look stunning (more so than usual) in their teaser concept photos this comeback, so actually I’m very pleased with the concept this time around 😅

      Liked by 4 people

    • I will agree to disagree. I adore the lyrics and the topic. It’s lighthearted, but it totally calls me (and many other nervous overthinkers) out. It encourages to throw away that rulebook we cling to if we want to be succesful in love, and I think that’s actually a great message.

      I also don’t notice any particular awkwardness in the English lyrics – they’re not great, not terrible.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I wasn’t blown away by it but it’s still pretty great and I know it’ll keep getting better every time listen to it, though I agree with you about the chorus. I have to say listening to this and Key’s Helium one after the other is quite nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Unrelated but they look incredible. This is some of my favorite styling I’ve seen from Twice ever (except maybe for Sana’s feather thing.) And seeing them glowing and looking so confident makes the video super fun to watch.

    The song itself is fine. Would be “good” if Twice hadn’t already set super high standards for themselves. The instrumental is distinct and cool, but no particular part of the song is catchy to me. The bridge is fun—Momo’s huskier voice really suits it.

    I can’t help but feel like people are going to ignore the fact that they released a song in a lower range for once then complain as soon as another high-pitched Twice song gets released.

    It feels like “The Feels” just got released yesterday. Hopefully they get some rest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad they stuck to a simple futuristic shining robot style, instead of Math Barbie (“Math is hard!”). Most of it looks like the “science” affectation at the cosmetic counters. The set here looks like it has giant pink jars of cross-branded high end skin cream. The font even resembles the Clinique font. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWHKaVBCHEE

      Liked by 4 people

  12. hmm, i don’t know about this one. I’m surprised you gave it a score this high cause i found it to be quite bland in comparison to their other title tracks. i think everything about it works but it’s lacking a little flavor for me. as good as it is i can imagine any other girl group singing it but for what it is, it’s still a well-made pop song, if a little generic.

    Like

  13. I’m enjoying Twice’s musical direction over their past few comebacks. While ‘Alcohol-Free’ was a little confusing, I think for the most part Twice have transformed their sound with great success.

    I wasn’t so keen on how often they resorted to funk and dance-pop instrumentals in the album, though. While this is great, I quickly became sick of the repetitive style in the songs. There is some variation in the album, but it lacks the EDM spark I was hoping for.

    Regardless, a great comeback. ‘Scientist’ is very good. I would give it a 9/10 [9,9,9,9].

    Like

  14. The song succeed because of what it chooses to do and what it chooses to not do.

    I just watched the British Baking show where the signature challenge was to make brownies. At the end of it, everyone realized that gee, if I had just made basic brownies well done, I would have won the round. Instead everyone added too much, tried too much flair, too many toppings, too many flavors.

    So it is with this song. I agree with most comments above about what makes it a solid pop song: lower key, simple chord progression (somuchso that yes it can sound like other songs), solid melodies in both the verse and chorus, straight ahead unaffected vocals.

    To all that, I will add that the song actually rhymes! Songs in English are supposed to rhyme, and looky loo this song rhymes. That alone makes half the songwriter credits worth it.

    Liked by 5 people

  15. The song is ok but the album is better, Twice really have mastered the art of crafting really solid albums. A Great mixture of styles and so many decent tunes that I can sense will grow on me with each listen. I wish the chorus was better but sometimes the instant hook doesn’t last as long.

    Like

  16. Girls Aloud “Biology” is on my ultimate hits list!!! Learning about Xenomania was some lore that turned me into an absolute pop convert. Honestly a Twice/Xenomania pairing could be awesome beyond belief. Although part of me thinks Brian Higgins might be a k-pop A&R’s nightmare.

    “Scientist” is fun too…albeit I really agree with most points in the review.
    I am thrown off by the “Why so serious” line but I am really not into “Joker” culture.

    I really like that they wrote this song in a register that flatters the Twice members’ voices. I thought Momo’s parts sounded really great. Everyone sounds great. This is good Twice fun, it’s what Twice is all about.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. am i the only one that was kinda disappointed with this release? i mightve overhyped myself too idk because everyone kept saying it was amazing. tho ofc there were songs i liked like scientist, fila, last waltz, espresso, rewind and push and pull

    Like

  18. Holy cow, this week has just been hit after hit – ONEUS then Billlie and B.I, now TWICE. This song is catchy as hell and the album is just playlisted track after playlisted track. I know I was saying just yesterday that I don’t mind listening to songs that sound like every other group doing that sound, and that’s true, but it’s also really satisfying to listen to an album and go “oh yes, that’s TWICE”. Two of my very first k-pop songs were “Knock Knock” and “TT”, and this is clearly the same group grown up a couple of years.

    Probably the highlight b-side for me is “CACTUS” – it sounds like TWICE backed up by DAY6, which now I wish they had done but I suppose bringing in another group like that, even a label mate, can get complicated. F.I.L.A is another good one – straight to the funky dance playlist for you, song! Also “Last Waltz” with that bonkers shift from 4/4 to 3/4, and the “Scientist” remix, which I think I like better than the original. It’s a good album! The only tracks I didn’t playlist were the English-language ones, “ESPRESSO”, and “HELLO”.

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    • Also, it’s only the 12th and I just added my 50th new release of the month – I wonder if this will be the month I break 100! I’m still really looking forward to Weki Meki, SF9, Gaho (first full album!), Hwasa, GHOST9 (FIRST FULL ALBUM!!!!), and there are bunch of other releases lined up that could be promising.

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  19. OMG Biology!! That song is amazing and I can see who and who will sing on the song structure. Maybe if they did something like Girl Overboard I will even be more amazed.

    From the preview, I did have a bit of high expectations for Scientist, and it didn’t disappoint. The song was a bit underwhelming at first, but it clicked with me as I listened to it more.

    The buried treasure would have to go between Cruel, F.I.L.A, or Push & Pull for me.

    Like

  20. I was happy that every member sang without the affectations even members like Sana who can easily get away with it. Speaking of Sana, I’ve really grown to appreciate her vocals since “feel special”

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Not many songs can drag me from beneath the rock I’m under nowadays.

    First of all, I love the science concept.

    Secondly, the song is upbeat and catchy in a way that reminds me of Twice’s earlier material. After Fancy and Can’t Stop Me I accepted that Twice was maturing out of my realm of taste – but apparently they can still put out a great track with a little more sugar. The outro is my favourite too, I wish there was more of that punch in the rest of the song.

    Third, the lyrics. It could be argued that this song is just meant to be a fun bop without much meaning, but I think the lyrical concept has some real substance to it.
    As a nervous overthinker who approaches everything (including love) like it’s a science, I feel totally called out by the lyrics. I think the message here is a great one: love is not science, and if you approach it like a scientist it will be difficult to have a fulfilling relationship. This song is a playful warning message for overthinkers and an encouragement to embrace the uncertainty that comes with love.

    Liked by 2 people

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