A K-pop act’s title track isn’t always the best song on their album, even if it’s the one most people will hear. 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.
Twice’s new album is good. They’ve been killing their b-sides for years now, but this might just be their most consistent release yet. The fact that it’s fifteen tracks long (without the remix) is just mind-boggling. It almost makes me wish the album was given Western-style promotion, where various singles spur from its tracklist over the next few months. There’s too much great material here to go to waste.
With that said, Formula of Love: O+T=<3 isn’t the kind of album with huge, undeniable standouts. Instead, so many songs would earn an upper-8’s rating from me. This makes it hard to pick a definitive buried treasure. I’m enamored by the disco funk that’s present on tracks like Moonlight, Cruel, Real You, F.I.L.A and Push & Pull. But, I’m also blown away by the soft-rock Cactus, which finally lets the girls showcase their vocals. Throughout the entire album, they sing in such a comfortable and confident range. They’ve never sounded better.
When it comes down to it, I decided to opt for the song that feels most quintessentially disco. F.I.L.A (Fall In Love Again) boasts my favorite bassline on the album, and its disco strings, rhythm guitar and handclaps create an atmosphere that’s impossible to resist. I love the retro backing vocals, which contrast well with Twice’s icier performance. They use head voice quite often, but it’s executed in a soft, wispy manner that fits perfectly with the nimble beat.
Then of course, there’s F.I.L.A’s fantastic melody. Its chorus is catchy from the get-go, but the verses are equally well-constructed. Twice are clearly taking cues from Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia, but twisting the sound just enough to fit their own color. By the time we hit F.I.L.A’s climactic dance break, succumbing to the disco inferno is inevitable.