“I know I want it / ‘cause I deserve it,” TWICE emphasized at the very beginning of their last album, More & More, which dropped just over four months ago. This unwavering, machine-like drive—one that’s established them as one of the most renowned K-pop groups to date—resurfaces almost immediately at the top of Eyes wide open, released this morning. “I can’t stop me,” all nine members echo each other on the title track, almost nonsensically in sync. And if you don’t catch their drift they’ll repeat it—melodies are layered in an acoustic amalgamation of sorts, becoming intoxicating.
This presence has become somewhat standard for TWICE over the past few years; which is, of course, by design. Even their name is a reference to the allure—as Park Jin-young puts it, TWICE beguiles you “once through the eyes, once through the ears”. And they’ll do it synchronously, with every movement precisely choreographed.
Which is fine, because, for Western audiences more accustomed to whisper-tones on the charts, the maximalist approach is somewhat of an indulgence. Something about TWICE evokes sensationalism, refusing geographic constraints—their video “Like OOH-AHH” became the first K-pop debut to surpass 100 million views on Youtube, now averaging around 200-400 million per video, and they’ve sold millions of albums since. This past year, one member, Momo, trended ahead of Apple’s launch of the iPhone 11, which coincided with the release of “Feel Special”. There’s quite a fervor to it.
But TWICE doesn’t seem too concerned with the particulars. Despite their image, and the general hype, they’re incredibly grounded individuals. Still, critics (mostly in the US) look to diagnose a social neurosis, claiming groups of the sort to be “Factory Girls” and overly algorithmic. Though it only goes to show they’re looking—staring awkwardly, squinting, and then rushing to unravel a cultish endeavor. Their eyes are, certainly, wide open.
And that’s quite alright, because, perhaps in a cultish manner, TWICE has amassed some millions of followers (termed ONCE) which have become an independent force of their own. With the release of Eyes wide open, there’s no signs of stopping any time soon—and the critics will just have to look on.
A few weeks before the release we spoke to all nine members of TWICE—Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, and Tzuyu—about the iconography.
V Magazine: You guys just finished your first American tour last year. What was it like to perform in the United States?
NAYEON: Thanks to the tour, I was able to visit the cities I’ve always wanted to go to, and we received such positive energy from our fans there. The tour was full of memorable experiences. I still think about them these days, especially since we cannot visit or go for concerts abroad like we used to.
JIHYO: I remember being extremely excited about our first American tour….
Read More: All Eyes On TWICE – V Magazine