Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

Twice – Yes or Yes

We’ll go with yeah, sure…


Maxwell Cavaseno: Folks, it’s been hell. I honestly deserve better, but what did I get for my constant pronouncements of fealty? A tepid (while competent) attempt at lite-EDM pop that choked under its own poise in “Dance The Night Away,” and then a revolting hunk of regressive kid-friendly evangelical faux-Brill Building bullshit from JYP’s botox-frozen brain in “BDZ.” Swapping out him for new producer David Amber, Twice on “Yes or Yes” still have a lot of classic girl-group homages, along with weird disco licks on the chorus buried in the mix as well as that odd dive into vague reggae vibes on the second verse and final chorus. The blend is tamely poppy, but it manages to provide a sense of ambition that’s been lacking in their non-Black Eyed Pilseung produced singles. What’s most fascinating, however, is how Twice portray themselves as eager, unabashed and unashamed. Given their usual sense of childish formality and rules, I’d like to say this could be a breakthrough for the group, but I’d be happy with them keeping JYP locked in a coffin far, far away.

Alfred Soto: In its DNA I hear “Spice Up Your Life,” Amerie, the Kylie of “Love at First Sight,” and who knows what else — its platinum sheen provides endless fascination. Not recommended as hangover music.

Iain Mew: Musically it’s the most richly layered their razzle-dazzle has got yet, but the lyrics kill it. Twice’s best songs have made use of slightly disturbing undercurrents, but the fake-it-until-you-think-you’ve-made-it approach going from being inwards into being directed full force at another person really puts it in a bad new light. It comes across as the methods of a con artist at best.

Katie Gill: I’m so shameless! I’m so daring! I’m not gonna let you say no…but sung with patented Twice hyper-cuteness. This works for songs like “What Is Love,” “Signal,” or “Likey,” where the focus is on first loves, trying to get a guy to pay attention to you, or the heart-throbbing excitement of being in love. It just doesn’t work for this “I’m gonna get you good” mentality. The song is adorable, even if it isn’t lead single material. The problem is that Twice simply can’t sell it.

Taylor Alatorre: A little bit of female entitlement never hurt anyone, right? Well, opinions differ on that. I had more fun reading about this song’s potential violations of consent norms than actually listening to it. It would be one thing if this were the gender-swapped version of “Blurred Lines,” but it’s really just the magical girl transformation of something All Time Low or Mayday Parade would’ve released in 2009 (yes, that’s a good thing). For now I’ll choose “yes,” but if the rest of the song had kept up the gliding confidence of the chorus instead of falling back on electro-reggae and using gang vocals as proxies for excitement, I might have chosen “yes” instead.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Producer David Amber worked on Twice’s “Heart Shaker” with Avenue 52, and the result was a frustratingly straightforward song that felt disposable after the unabashedly adventurous “Likey.” He returns on his own for “Yes or Yes,” but his sterile hooks have remained despite the ambitious production. Part of it seems to be a Twice problem, as their kitchen sink-style songs are often beholden to catchphrase choruses that focus more on clarity than effective delivery. Still, it’s 2018, any K-pop song that aims for something musically interesting warrants multiple listens, and indeed, the chorus has grown on me. While there’s been controversy surrounding this song’s alleged promotion of rape culture, the context of Twice’s discography thus far points to “Yes or Yes” being a hopeful bit of tongue-in-cheek self-confidence. That said, if there’s a David Amber-produced, girl group teen pop song about asserting your love that deserves enthusiastic support, it’s “Love Bomb.”

Alex Clifton: At its best, “Yes or Yes” sounds like something you would have danced to on DDR 13 years ago. It is overwhelmingly relentless after a while, though, and I say this as someone who loves aggressively bubblegum pop. I think part of the problem is the setup of two “choices” being the same–it takes any dramatic tension out of the song. Mostly, though, I wish Red Velvet had been given a whack at this song to make it slightly more threatening a la “Peek-A-Boo.” I know that’s a big ask–this is teen pop, after all. I don’t mean to make the argument that teen pop can’t be fun and sugary and upbeat. But I would love to see Twice take a break from being the smiliest girls in K-pop and go for something a little different.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: “Yes or Yes” never quite finds a groove, flitting between ska rhythms, power pop hooks, and four-on-the-floor beats with a deeply reckless abandon. It’s fortunate that at least two-thirds of that equation works out decently for Twice (jury’s still out for the ska), but the track’s constant shifting ends up feeling a bit threadbare, albeit fun, by the time it ends.

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: This is Twice as effective, as streamlined and as hook-heavy as it can get, and as it always should be. That said, that spoken intro (and its evident tone deafness) is not gonna age well. It almost ruins the entire thing, but “Yes or Yes” is just so beautifully constructed — funky session playing, in-your-face synths, a two-part chorus with a catchy refrain at the end — it easily overcomes that hiccup. It’s a total display of imperial power. 

Reader average: [6.36] (11 votes)

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4 Responses to “Twice – Yes or Yes”

  1. Song starts out really strong with Jeongyeon and Mina’s parts but the chorus just doesn’t hit the spot

  2. got too caught up to blurb this, tho i’m not sure if i would’ve had a whole lot to say about it beyond “it’s good.”

    one thing i wanted to think on maybe is how the vocal distribution for Twice songs at this point is so established as a template, and i’m having a tough time trying to figure out if that is ultimately good in the sense they figured out the best role for everyone or stagnating the development of the group’s music because it’s so predictable once you figure it out. there is a Dahyun bias being considered here perhaps because she’s always paired with Chaeyeon to contrast the Singers with more dialogue-y performance. she’s really great at it (“What Is Love?” is even funnier putting the video in the convo) and i think that’s the role for her, tho i guess it would also be nice to see her do something else in a similar route of when they switched everyone’s lines for “Likey” for a TV performance. that felt fresh to have someone fill in for what was reserved for Momo – i think another person who has a certain function in a song – and idk i guess idol songs as a whole follow this construct of dropping certain pieces in certain places to do a specific thing, but it’d be nice to hear people in different roles sometimes too.

  3. Bless Joshua for the Love Bomb shoutout. Fromis_9 coming for the crown in 2019

  4. fromis_9 are one of my favorite groups of the year! my pick for best girl group rookies of the year.

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