Seven years into Twice’s career and the usual solo/sub-unit promotions are almost nowhere to be found. JYP Entertainment tends to be more group-focused with its idol acts, but even Twice’s albums didn’t bear unit tracks until very recently. Because of this, Nayeon’s solo debut almost feels belated. With any luck, it’ll be the first of many releases from Twice members because Pop was worth the long wait.
I’m happy to see Nayeon opt for such a splashy sound for her debut. Pop is big, bold and exciting all way through. These might sound like foregone conclusions for a pop song, but they haven’t been all that easy to find during K-pop’s 2022. Exuberant brass pulls no punches, driving most of the instrumental with glee. The vocal arrangement is equally loud and proud, layering Nayeon’s vocals to satisfying effect. She sounds every bit the solo superstar here, and that conviction is infectious.
Truthfully, I wish Pop placed even more confidence in its bountiful hooks. The song is perfectly solid without all the “pop! pop!” repetitions. They feel designed for TikTok challenges, and are easily the least interesting element the track has going for it. I’m much more enamored with the resounding chorus, which rushes forward on pure sugary bliss. Nayeon sounds especially great here, as Pop blooms into something more robust than its onomatopoeia title might suggest. The verses carry similar energy, punctuated by stabs of brass that reappear later for a fun countdown bridge. Overall, Pop is an exclamation point of a debut track, launching Nayeon’s solo career with a rousing start.