Supergroup TWICE are back after a short break with a holiday-themed repackage, “Merry & Happy,” of their October album “twicetagram.” Unfortunately, the title track just might be the dullest we’ve ever heard from TWICE. The only B-side, a Christmas song, is no better. I’m very disappointed considering how much I enjoyed their September comeback, but what can you do. TWICE songs are always a bit of a coin toss in regards to quality, and this time we just happened to land on tails.
Title track “Heart Shaker” could not possibly be more generic. In fact, it almost doesn’t sound like TWICE, mostly because it lacks that salient moment of sing-rapping in the hook, the catchy soundbites that, for better or for worse, usually go viral in TWICE title tracks. Here there’s no “signeul bonae, signal bonae” or “Me likey, likey, likey” to make the song memorable. That would be all right if the melody or even just the instrumental had anything going for it, but it doesn’t. Well, I’m speaking too broadly—there is one moment that made my ears happy, and it was in Tyuzu and Mina’s parts in the prechorus where the bubbly beat sat back on its heels for a second and some background vocals briefly met the melody with dissonance, breathing a single fleeting breath of life into the harmony. Beyond that, though, there’s nothing much on this track for me to talk about.
The new B-side, “Merry & Happy,” for which the repackage album is named, is equally unremarkable. It’s upbeat, with bells and the occasional reference to “let it snow”—nothing new. As K-pop Christmas tracks go, it’s actually not bad, just boring. The only interesting moment is rap line’s bridge (I feel like I say that a lot in relation to TWICE’s music), but as always, it’s over too fast.
The past several TWICE title tracks have been pretty polarizing, as far as I’ve seen; take “Signal” or “Knock Knock”—people either love or hate them, and it seems you never know which side you’ll fall into. It’s been a while since the girls put out a title track on which the K-pop community reached a consensus (was it as far back as the beloved “TT”?) and that doesn’t bode well for the group in the long-term. I guess we’ll have to wait till the girls’ next comeback to see where their career will go next. In the meantime, I’ll be bopping to “Likey” and pretending this holiday comeback never existed.
HEART SHAKER: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? Flip flop.
Take a look at TWICE’s “Heart Shaker” MV below: