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Twice’s ‘The Feels:’ JYP, We’re Back!

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K-pop record label JYP has returned to the American market for the first time in nine years. Their girl group TWICE entered the Western market with their first original English single, “The Feels,” a song about the feelings of young love, on Sept. 30. 

The nine member South Korean-based girl group consists of Jihyo, Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, Momo, Mina, Sana and Tzuyu.  

The melody of “The Feels” is enjoyable because of its upbeat tone, expertly capturing the anticipation and melodrama that comes with young romance. In addition, its fast pace, danceable beats and English lyrics make it a great starting point into the fandom or K-pop in general. Since the song was made for an English-oriented radio audience, it panders to a demographic who would otherwise be unaware of similar foreign artists like them.  

Due to their signature style and the way that it was adapted for Westerners, TWICE’s attempt contrasts with most other K-pop groups who try to aim for an American audience. Other major groups usually alter their style when singing English songs. For instance, BTS’ English tracks are usually happy, dance-oriented songs, such as “Dynamite” and “Butter.” In comparison, their Korean tracks include songs about death, such as “Butterfly,” or the COVID-19 pandemic with “Life Goes On.” The same concept of altering the group’s style based on the language can be applied to MONSTA X, who produces edgy Korean music such as “Alligator,” juxtaposed by sexy R&B English songs such as “One Day.” With so many groups trying to cater to a Western audience, and usually having to change their style to do it, it is comforting to know that TWICE can stay true to their roots and provide a consistent style no matter what language they sing in. 

Photo provided by Youtube/Republic Records/JYP Entertainment

The music video, released in conjunction with the single, adds to the youthful mood as it depicts the members preparing for and performing at a prom. The music video reflects how the group has changed since their formation in 2015. It is more mature than their early hits’ videos such as “Heart Shaker” and “Likey,” but still manages to remain bright and idealistic. This change in tone can be seen in the member’s clothing, which is not as bright and simplistic as the previously mentioned music videos. However, despite the lack of flashy clothes, the environments shown in the video are colorful, helping the members stand out and making their movements easy to follow. This focus on optimism and young love puts the group in stark contrast to their contemporaries. For instance, other groups, such as fellow labelmates ITZY and YG’s BLACKPINK, do more edgy and darker concepts.  While some may criticize this decision to go with a happy music video while others focus on being as dark and edgy as possible, others may find it beneficial. After all, it does give the group a relatively unique attitude that few are willing to do in this era. It also helps appeal to those who do not like the bleaker music videos other groups put out.  

With its music video gaining 15.5 million views within its first 24 hours on Youtube, Twice’s first original English single was a relative success. In order to promote the song, the group revealed the #GetTheFeelsWithTWICE Dance Challenge and performed it on various talk shows, including “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” and “Good Morning America.” At the end of the video, a poster indicated that the group will release their next album in November, with a world tour to follow. It is currently at No. 83 on the Billboard Hot 100.    

Other English-based songs in TWICE’s catalogue include translations of their Korean hits “More and More,” “I Can’t Stop Me,” and “Cry For Me.” They also released a cover of the Jackson 5 song “I Want You Back” and “What You Waiting For,” an original English song that was not released as a single. 

Their Korean and Japanese discographies include songs such as “Like OOH-AHH” and “Perfect World.” People who want to access these songs in a convenient way can buy the three installments of the #Twice series, a group of albums containing five of their hit songs sung in both Korean and Japanese. The high number of singles on these records make them a better value for money compared to their studio albums, which only contain one or two singles apiece. However, their more recent Korean singles, as well as their entire Japanese output, are not part of this series. Their newer music can be found in the studio albums; check out the compilations for their older songs.  

Photo provided by JYP Entertainment

Overall, TWICE’s “The Feels” delivers a bubbly, high-energy track tailor-made for the American market. Hopefully, this song will finally give their record company the success in America that it has been craving for after over a decade of trying.

Bailey Kanthatham is an Entertainment Contributing Writer. He can be reached at bkanthat@uci.edu.