Photo: Courtesy of DB K Pop
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Following their last album “Fancy You,” which made the K-Pop sensation become the best selling girl group from South Korea and surpass the legendary group, Girls’ Generation, TWICE returns with their eighth album “Feel Special.” 

After months of controversy within the group — Mina’s diagnosis with anxiety and Sana causing public outrage, regarding her comments about the abdication of Japanese Emperor Akihito —  “Feel Special” feels personal for TWICE. 

The album follows TWICE’s recent trend of branching out from their infectious bubblegum pop that propelled them to stardom. “Fancy You” featured music with closer ties to EDM and disco.

The titular track of their new album “Feel Special” overlays a dance-heavy beat with empowering and inspiring lyrics, especially with the addictive chorus of “You make me feel special.” 

Each of the nine members gets a chance to shine in the song, from members Chaeyoung starting the song to Dahyun’s rap break. The lyrics, which were written by legendary record producer J.Y. Park, with the help of the girl group, talk about how even if the world gets the members down, you make them “feel special.”

The song seems dedicated to aforementioned member, Mina, who was diagnosed with anxiety. Mina’s verse in the middle of the song has her talking about how she “just wanted to hide, didn’t want to face the world” and “as if her life lost meaning” before member Tzuyu says “everything’s alright,” as the song transitions into the chorus. 

Following the title track, the six other tracks in the seven track mini-album follow a similar message: loving yourself, feeling special, and not letting the world get you down. The second track “RAINBOW,” with lyrics written by center and member Nayeon, tells you to “open a new road behind the clouds” and that “you can go anywhere you want, wherever you want.”

“GET LOUD,” written by main vocalist Jihyo, issues a warning to haters and seems targeted towards tabloid magazine Dispatch, which specializes in reporting on the private lives of celebrities in South Korea.  

“TRICK IT,” by main rapper, Dahyun, features a hypnotizing hook sung by members Jihyo and Nayeon, over a bass heavy beat with hard hitting synths.

“LOVE FOOLISH,” written by main dancer, Momo, features similarly heavy synths, drawing inspiration from disco and house, while singing about how love makes you foolish.

“21:29,” which was written by all of the members of TWICE, is directed towards their fans, who call themselves “ONCE.” In a sharp contrast to the other six songs on the mini-album, the song is much softer while still keeping the electronic and house instruments featured on the other songs on the album. The ballad talks about loving and thanking their fans for supporting them and serves as a break in an otherwise instrumentally heavy album. 

The final song of the album, “BREAKTHROUGH,” is the Korean version of their fifth Japanese single. Despite this, the song fits perfectly with the rest of the songs on the album, with lyrics talking about not giving up and breaking through to achieve your goals, over an earworm of a  synth-pop beat. 

While the album is full of positive vibes and energy, the instruments do get a bit repetitive. Nearly all of the songs on this mini-album feature extremely similar sounds and synths — even “21:29,” despite being more of a ballad than a pop song, still uses the same instruments as the other tracks.

Evenso, the tracks on the album are phenomenal, but using more instruments and sounds on tracks like “21:29” could’ve done this album wonders. 

TWICE is back. And they’re showing that they won’t stick to the cutesy pop that put them on the map. With powerful and wholesome lyrics, combined with bangers of a beat, TWICE really does make you feel special. 

You can listen to their album on Spotify here.

8/10

 

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