Both vibrant and lovely, TWICE’s music withstands the test of time. The K-pop girl group’s latest EP Between 1&2 maintains the signature bold, youthful charisma that is the key to TWICE’s unwaning popularity. The record further delivers a more confident and diverse sound, skillfully incorporating Y2K, disco, synth and rock music.
Having been around the K-pop scene for almost seven years, TWICE remains influential and continues to surprise audiences every time it releases music. The EP’s lead single “Talk that Talk” sheds light on TWICE’s secret of longevity, as it perfectly blends colorful, sugary pop with a moving nostalgic tinge.
The song’s 10 second intro strikes immediately. It mixes refreshing, colorful synthesizers with heavy disco beats, taking audiences to the early 2000s — an era of low-rise jeans and crop tops. The group’s balance between synthpop, disco and EDM sounds is so exquisitely executed that, even with this complex mixture of instruments, the listening experience feels light and breezy.
Luckily, “Talk that Talk” does not become a replica of Doja Cat’s “Say So,” though it certainly borrows from her alluring, 1970s funk style. Carefully tailored for TWICE’s nine members, the track augments the sweet and playful appeal of some members’ vocals, while highlighting the powerful vocals of its other members, such as Jihyo on the chorus.
The lyrics of “Talk that Talk” are also brilliant. “Need some hints,” “yes or yes” and “one to ten” are all small references to TWICE’s songs in the past, evoking nostalgic memories for the group’s fans. Written with sincerity, the song is a panoramic record of TWICE’s musical path and a thank-you note to the group’s loyal fans.
If “Talk that Talk” is colorful and candylike, the EP’s next track, “Queen of Hearts,” exudes confidence and girl power. The rock guitars and drums in the background endow TWICE with raw, palpable energy, something that glamorous stages and spotlights cannot give.
Belting lyrics, “Watch me go, rule the world,” the nine members’ vocals feel more powerful than ever. Among the members, Jihyo’s vocals stand out definitively. Singing, “I know deep down I was meant for something bigger, greater,” her high notes shine with explosive impact and unflinching authenticity that immediately thrills listeners.
“Basics” is another unmissable highlight of the EP, vibrating with natural playfulness and fun. With more simplistic musical production, the song slowly charms listeners. The track also highlights the talents of TWICE’s members; while Mina’s clean, capturing vocals shine like an immaculate diamond, Chaeyeong’s rap sways effortlessly with her deep, magnetic voice.
However, the succeeding track “Trouble” is somewhat disappointing. A Dua-Lipa-esque disco, the song is minimally intriguing, with vocals that sound overwhelming rather than powerful. The song that follows, “Brave,” imitates the composition of “Queen of Hearts,” though less impressively.
“Gone” utilizes loud, mind-blowing EDM production, evoking flashbacks to “Bring it Back” and “Go Hard” on TWICE’s second album, Eyes Wide Open. The harmony between EDM and vocals is not so finely established; the two often oppose one another. Luckily, the ballad “When We Were Kids” closes the EP with beautiful melodies and rich emotion.
Despite a few flawed tracks, Between 1&2 still vibrates with kaleidoscopic pop, motivating energy, nostalgia and meaningful fan tributes. With this EP, TWICE is able to maintain a unique charisma that feels authentic, moving and empowering listeners.
Flavoring sugary pop with delicate synthpop and vibrant disco, Between 1&2 finds TWICE just being TWICE, entertaining and inspiring as they’ve always done.