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Between 1&2 Verónica A. Bastardo , September 8th, 2022 08:13

Fun in k-pop is back this season with bubblegum pop-rap and y2k style from TWICE

In a sea of elegant pretty women, badass girl-crush concepts and a whole bunch of trumpets and explosions, TWICE are keeping it fun. A mix of their safe sound of bubblegum-pop with a twist of dancehall and bits of rock-pop, they deliver a refreshing seven track EP where –finally – this season we can listen to a bit of what kpop is all about: quirky but stylish sounds, vocal power and a bunch of addictive hooks.

Between 1 & 2 is straight up teasing pop fun. The flirty cute traits of TWICE’s members flourish with seductively amusing vocal interpretation and a perfect visual representation. The main track, ‘Talk That Talk’ embodies the conceptual direction of the album. It isn’t just a catchy song; it makes nine members shine in each of their parts, combining crazy sharp high notes, flirty raps, and dreamy sounds over the beat of a 00s pop x R&B sound embracing the y2k style both visually and musically.

Following trends isn’t the bad thing that snob music listeners want us to believe – so long as you own it. For example, ‘Queen of Hearts’, an English language track, follows rock-pop female empowerment with glimmers of punk that singers like Hayley Williams and Avril Lavigne cemented in the early 00s. TWICE takes this sound to make their own version of punk, making a dissonant combination of pinky-sweet style with overly girly adorable voices (like TWICE members Sana’s and Momo’s), plus raw emotional strength and impact through Jihyo’s accentuated thick high notes.

I’m sure that dance-pop track ‘Basics’ could be another fan’s favourite since it’s the sound TWICE created for themselves, all magical echoed sounds and fast rhythmic hi-hats. However, songs like ‘Brave’, with the Avicii folktronica style reminiscent of the 2010 era, and 2008-ish dance club bop ‘Trouble’, are the actual gems on the list since for me. I mean, any song that sounds like a cliché teenage party from a Disney movie in 2010 has to be considered the perfect pop song.

‘When We Were kids’ is the perfect way to wrap up Between 1&2. Most TWICE members were born back in the mid to late 90s, so the album takes a nostalgic turn, leaning towards a Mariah Carey x Boyz II Men kind of sound. Soul and electronic pop unite to create this ethereal wash of paint through soft reverberated voices and electronic chimes. The fast pace of the years and the yearning of younger, more innocent days is illustrated through the acceleration of the clap beats, incorporation of trebles and the drop of a digital wind sound typical of EDM.

Production-wise, Between 1 & 2 was thought to be a bop in the Korean industry, a radio sensation in anglo countries and the go-to energy boost in your personal playlist. Why? A short Korean title track for the show promotions, an english pop-rock b-side perfect for the current trends in the Western market, and a tracklist with the right amount of pop hooks, power-up house beats, a showoff of vocal range from the members and visual concepts to enhance the experience beyond the sound. While many are trying to embrace the y2k pop era, TWICE already have it down to a tee.