“Doughnut” is an odd title for a pop track – -especially a ballad. Apart from the fact that I prefer the spelling “donut” (because it somehow sounds slightly healthier), the metaphor itself is strange. Twice play with the idea of a doughnut hole referring to emptiness (my mind races toward the delicious spherical treat instead) and the overall shape being a continual loop (a continual loop of deliciousness!). Maybe I’m just sugar-deprived.
Either way, Doughnut is one of those bland holiday ballads, the likes of which we heard from Seventeen just a few days ago. Japan seems to be an easy target for this style, and Twice deliver it as well as anyone. Similar to their newest Korean album, it’s nice to hear the members’ voices in this setting (last month’s Cactus was great). Unfortunately, Doughnut has no teeth. (Weird mental image…) It wafts through with little impact, despite some moments of climax that allow for great power notes.
The norms of the J-pop industry afford songs a longer running time than most modern music markets, and Doughnut uses this extra minute to its advantage. The track’s most interesting element waits until the finale to reveal itself. The vocal melody fades out and rhythmic synth gives the outro real swing. This instrumental would have made a much more dynamic backdrop for the song, bringing punch to a rather sleepy affair. In fact, Doughnut often feels like it wants to veer into city pop territory. I’m not sure that would have been effective, but at least it would be a bit of a risk. Instead, this is glazed old-fashioned all the way through.