What better way to start our summer than with K-Pop Queens TWICE who are here with their new mini-album ‘Taste Of Love‘! This tenth EP addition to their discography takes us through the saccharine feelings of being in love and its different facets, a solace in this hot weather. Jeongyeon also returns from her health hiatus to complete the nonet.
‘Taste Of Love’ is a fresh, hearty ensemble, fulfilling the summer love daydreams while fitting perfectly the tropical mood. The album features the group’s ongoing discovery of new sounds and trends. They venture into newer retro genres like they previously did in ‘Eyes Wide Open’. Released on 11th June 2021, it features a total of seven tracks, including ‘Cry For Me (English version)’ that is only available in the physical album. Title track ‘Alcohol-Free‘ was pre-released on 9th June 2021. The album also has an enhanced version released exclusively on Spotify where the members delve into the creative process behind the making of the album.
“If the fifth mini-album ‘What is Love?’ contains a curious and fluttering image of what love is, in this tenth mini-album ‘Taste of Love,’ we can say that we have found the answer to love. I think that’s the way TWICE has grown, as well.” – Jihyo in ‘Taste Of Love’ press release.
Taste Of Love
Setting the vibe for the upcoming tracks, ‘Alcohol-Free‘ starts the album with the pleasant plucking of Latin guitar strings. The laidback melodic grooves of Bossa Nova take over to give the ornate and vibrant feels of summer. The song expresses the lovestruck feelings as the singer gets drunk in love with the one they are infatuated with. There’s no need for alcohol to get intoxicated, rather the lover alone is enough to have the same effect as the drinks like Champagne and Piña colada.
“I am alcohol-free but I get drunk / Though I did not drink at all / It happens whenever I’m with you / Because of the way you look at me / You are my champagne, my wine I drink with my eyes / My tequila, margarita / Mojito with lime / Sweet mimosa, piña colada / I’m drunk in you.”
The girls have shown yet another performance of smooth vocals as they take on the playful lyrics on the bouncy salsa beats. The frisky chorus that features an expansive collection of summer drinks, serves as a beguiling earworm when is done by honeyed vocals of Sana and Momo. Chaeyeong’s rhymed rap during the bridge is also very catchy, embodying the very lyrics she sings, “makes the world bright and sunny”. The song arrangement is slightly prosaic but overall it makes up for a flattering summertime chant. As it was pre-released, the music video for the track is also very refreshing and colorful, giving the Latin vibes as the members perform the lively choreography with the tropical backdrop.
The subsequent track ‘First Time’ stays laidback but brings the edgy, contemporary R&B feels. Based on the lush electronic beats, the song brings out the unchained luxuriant energy suited for weekend nights. It conveys the fluttering emotions of experiencing the first moments with our first loves that make everyone a nervous wreck. The lyrics are penned in a soft, sensual way to delicately portray the sensitive feelings that no matter how repetitive, always feel new.
“I don’t know about you / But I get butterflies / I’m getting this feeling of trembling hands for the / First time, first time / When I’m loving you / I’m always satisfied / Every moment I spend with you is like / First time.”
Perhaps the most striking feature of the song is the peerless falsetto that is hit by members in their parts. Jihyo and Nayeon take on the chorus with their bewitching notes and Mina puts an exceptional performance during the ad-libs, vocalising a stunning falsetto. Special mention to the appealing 2nd post-chorus verse and the bridge for getting stuck in your mind, playing like a loop in just the first listen. Like the song name, the members too, have shown their new facets with this track for the first time and it doesn’t get any better.
The track becomes even more special as it’s composed and co-written by Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall and Jihyo. It was also teased on TWICE’s SNS accounts by Jihyo and Jeongyeon before the official comeback date making ONCEs too hyped to wait for its release.
Hitting more to the retro tunes, ‘Scandal’ mixes the Disco-Funk with House piano notes to give the newtro feels. The provocative lyrics don’t shy away from asking what one needs for the dangerous nights, the one that burns red for that special someone. The depiction is so lively and invigorating that the song may even make you want to bust a move.
“I need somebody / Yes, you, I’m ready / You got me, the look in your eyes, oh I / You too, close your eyes / Oh, I’m feeling so high / It’s a little dangerous tonight / Just the way I like.”
The start of the song is enough to hook you up for the next two minutes when Chaeyoung whispers, “Baby, we’re a scandal / Way too hot to handle“. The filtered rhythm fuels the track that flashes a head-bopping arrangement. The vocal prominence is also commendable seeing how it progresses from whispers to more strapping styles throughout the song. Penned by Dahyun, the track slightly gives the 80s soundscape. It’s an instant favorite that will surely make it into your playlist.
‘Conversation’ is a song that seems like a paradox – the listeners are not really asked to have a heart-to-heart. The lyrics are written by Sana who wants to convey how words are futile when lovers are deeply attracted to each other. They don’t need to exchange words to relay their feelings to each other, just a look with the eyes is enough. Every slight action is a reminder and the feelings can’t be forgotten no matter how hard they try.
“Feel my fast heartbeat / Come closer into my world, into my world / I close my eyes trying to forget / But the scent of you is being painted, now smudging / Let’s have a little less conversation.”
Set up on alluring subtle House beats, the song has a very sultry feel to it, especially with the chorus that Jeongyeon, Nayeon, Jihyo, Momo, and Tzuyu have taken turns on. The chorus also has a catchy chant with an attractive vocal layering and it is really admirable that everyone who sung it, succeeded in making the part their own. The song however falls short at only a sliver more than two minutes. Nevertheless, its instrumentation is very lush and hence makes for a pleasant listen.
Baby Blue Love
The perfect fit for those summer nights when you just want to lose yourself to the rhythm, ‘Baby Blue Love’ presents trendy City Pop with an alternative R&B hook to enchant the listeners. Lyrics are penned by Nayeon who has craftily expressed her love for the baby blue color. The standing out point of this track has to be Jihyo’s ad-libs that carry the whole song forward on the sparkling and trippy bass line. We would’ve loved to hear Sana’s silvery voice more in this song because her “Jump jump, it’s time, tell me I’m curious about the next,” landed straight into our hearts.
The song brings forth the vibrant energy of summer once again. It has the context of dance laid through and through where the members ask the listeners to join them on the dance floor. Lose the worries of the searing weather and don’t stop moving to the beat until the memory of the night is engraved deep in your mind. This track is one of the fan-favorite B-Sides from the album.
“I love the way it feels so cool / And when we dance so close, oh babe / I’m lovin’ this deep summer night / You’re taking me to the hot sun / Hey boy, play the track / Cuz you give me heart attack / You’re my baby blue love / And get my body rockin’ / So I can melt in this season all night.”
With ‘SOS’ we come to the climax to this short, honeyed album ‘Taste Of Love’. The mood is still vivacious unlike the conclusions of few other K-Pop albums and we are not complaining. The listeners are welcomed for this last track with the buoyant voices of the girls who have realized the bottomless trouble they have gotten themselves into. They have fallen head over heels in love and no one can save them except the one they love. It’s ironic how the reason for their distress is also the cure for the same.
“You know, I just can’t stop it / When my heart skyrockets for you / I know it’s gonna hurt / But I’m already into you / SOS / Oh baby, you gotta, you gotta save me again / SOS, I like ya like that.”
Synth-pop and Funk pop shine in this track for the effervescent retro-esque ending. The whispery layering in the chorus is a very ingenious choice. It gives the song a more misty rhythmical soundscape. The girls, as always are phenomenal vocalists along with Chaeyeong and Dahyun who have a small rap verse.
Dahyun has provided her words as the lyrics for this song. It was teased earlier by Nayeon and Mina on TWICE’s SNS accounts.
Cry For Me (English version)
English version of ‘Cry For Me’ is only available in the physical album. However, the Korean version is still available to fans on all streaming services. The track first came to light when TWICE performed it at the 2020 MAMA stage and later was released as a digital single. It remains one of their best works yet. OneRepublic’s vocalist Ryan Tedder and Heize are credited for the lyrics of the English version of this dark Electropop elegy. This concept was much awaited from TWICE and they delivered their best.
Starting with the dramatic orchestration, the instrumentals are immaculate. The track progresses to the gloomy feels on trap beats. It gives the heavy imagery of a red, ruinous Victorian goth aesthetic. The eerie bridge, sung by Mina, Tzuyu, and Nayeon is hauntingly beautiful. The poetic lyrics poignantly express the melancholic and chained feelings after a breakup and while the singers are damaged and heartbroken, their ex seems to have no regrets. They continue to wish they’d cry for them or at least show some remorse.
“If love is a game / Don’t want to play / You poison my veins / Then take it all away / I’m chasin’ that taste / I want your kiss, yeah, yeah, yeah / I want you to cry, cry for me / Can you at least pretend?”
With 6 years of working, TWICE continues to grow, gradually working with more genres and concepts and it rightly is depicted through ‘Taste Of Love’. The album aptly takes us through the heart-stirring feelings of love – giddiness, nervousness and desire. It makes you reminisce the good memories with your loved one or wish for one. TWICE has come out of their bubble pop image and diversified beautifully, just as expected from the ‘Nation’s Girl Group’!