11:46 am - 10/10/2019

TWICE Opens Up About How Their New Album Is More Personal Than Ever



Some excerpts:
- “You make me feel special, no matter how the world brings me down, even when hurtful words stab me,” the group sings in the chorus of “Feel Special.” Nayeon says that Park Jinyoung, founder of JYP Entertainment, wrote those lyrics after a dinner with group members during which they shared their feelings about grappling with the pressures of fame. “He expressed that into the lyrics,” she explains. “This title track has our stories.” In other songs of the album, TWICE members participated heavily in songwriting — with one track, “21:29,” being the first on which all nine members wrote the words together, as a message of appreciation to their fans.

- TWICE members say that seeing the reaction to the company’s statement about Mina’s health condition was a relief. “We were also feeling similar anxieties as Mina did, all members were feeling that,” Nayeon says. “As I saw the positive response, I thought that TWICE doesn’t have to be in a rush when it comes to activities.” She wants Mina to be healthy before she returns. Dahyun shares the sentiment. “Physical health and mental health are the most important things that members should take care of,” the rapper adds.


For better formatting, additional links and pics, check out the interview on the original source TIME

A thread of melancholy runs through K-pop group TWICE’s latest music video. “Feel Special” is, visually, as dazzling as any other release from the act that has established itself as an icon of bright, cheery pop — the nine members dance with flair in sparkling dresses on a golden stage. But the joyful lines that have become a trademark of the group since they formed in 2015 — refrains like “cheer up baby” and “let’s dance the night away” — have evolved into something more somber. In the opening lines of the title track from their new album of the same name, one member sings in Korean, there are “days when I suddenly feel all alone, when I feel like I don’t belong anywhere.”

Up until this point, TWICE’s viral hits have largely been optimistic, oftentimes generic confessions of love. “This time, we are trying to show our real heart to the listeners as individuals,” vocalist Sana tells TIME in an interview. Sana, joined by group leader Jihyo, oldest member Nayeon and rapper Dahyun, recently spoke to TIME on the phone, via a translator, to discuss the group’s new direction.

By now, TWICE’s nine members — Jihyo, Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung and Tzuyu — have grown accustomed to setting and breaking their own records. Feel Special has already reached the highest first-week album sales for a K-pop girl group, adding to TWICE’s six million-plus albums sold worldwide. At the start of their career four years ago, the group’s music video “Like OOH-AHH” became the first K-pop debut track to reach 100 million views on YouTube. Since then, TWICE has gained hundreds of millions of views on the platform. BTS, Blackpink and soloist Psy are the only K-pop acts with music videos that have more YouTube views. But TWICE’s online impact reaches far beyond the video site. On Twitter, member Momo’s name trended ahead of the Apple event in the U.S. when, on the same day the tech giant introduced the iPhone 11, TWICE dropped her individual teaser clip for the “Feel Special” video. The occasion demonstrated that even a dose of new information — in this case, Momo’s hairstyle change — can spark a tweetstorm among TWICE’s fans, who are referred to as “Once.”

And yet, a cloud looms above their recent milestones. Mina, one of the group’s main dancers, has been sitting out of the promotional activities for Feel Special. A few months ago, JYP Entertainment announced that she would not be participating in TWICE’s world tour because she was “struggling with sudden anxiety and insecurity toward performing on stage.” Shortly after, the company posted an additional note explaining that her condition was confirmed as anxiety disorder. The statement was one of the first times a K-pop label shared the specific health-related diagnosis of a member — especially one regarding mental health. As Mina’s hiatus continues, the group’s music has taken a turn to reflect more of TWICE’s personal hardships.

“You make me feel special, no matter how the world brings me down, even when hurtful words stab me,” the group sings in the chorus of “Feel Special.” Nayeon says that Park Jinyoung, founder of JYP Entertainment, wrote those lyrics after a dinner with group members during which they shared their feelings about grappling with the pressures of fame. “He expressed that into the lyrics,” she explains. “This title track has our stories.” In other songs of the album, TWICE members participated heavily in songwriting — with one track, “21:29,” being the first on which all nine members wrote the words together, as a message of appreciation to their fans.


The success of a rapidly growing fanbase is accompanied by a new set of challenges. “Since we were getting a lot of love from fans, that means we have to try to meet their expectations,” Nayeon says. “This was mentally giving the members a very hard time.” These expectations come from not only fans, but the general public in South Korea — TWICE has become a household name with hit songs recognized across generations. “The most detailed example of meeting this expectation is shown as one member is resting now because she is also struggling,” Jihyo says, referring to Mina’s absence.

As a group that consistently drops new music at least three times a year, TWICE is a more prolific act than most K-pop groups. Only a few weeks after releasing Feel Special, TWICE shared news about an upcoming Japanese album scheduled for November. In the Korean music scene, these packed schedules often mean there is little time for idols to rest. While many Western artists are accustomed to album cycles that allow for some downtime in between, breaks are not common for the most popular K-pop acts. Earlier this summer, BTS made headlines for announcing “an official and extended period of rest and relaxation” for the first time since their debut in 2013. The break ended a month later.

Artists sitting out of performance obligations is not unprecedented, but their absences have typically been explained by more ambiguous notes like “health reasons.” JYP Entertainment’s statement about Mina’s hiatus was lauded for its openness, and TWICE’s fans offered messages of support to the group during the stretch of the world tour that she did not attend.

“This was the first concert without Mina, only eight members participated,” Jihyo says about the period spanning from July to August. “I really felt a lot of emptiness.” At the stops in cities from Los Angeles to Singapore, fans coordinated turning their light sticks to Mina’s official color — mint green — during one of the ballad performances. The effort resulted in a sea of uniform, glowing lights among thousands. “When I saw the Candy Bongs [TWICE’s light sticks] were all lighted as Mina’s official color, I felt Once were saying that they will be waiting for Mina as we were waiting in the same way,” Sana says.

TWICE members say that seeing the reaction to the company’s statement about Mina’s health condition was a relief. “We were also feeling similar anxieties as Mina did, all members were feeling that,” Nayeon says. “As I saw the positive response, I thought that TWICE doesn’t have to be in a rush when it comes to activities.” She wants Mina to be healthy before she returns. Dahyun shares the sentiment. “Physical health and mental health are the most important things that members should take care of,” the rapper adds.

While Mina participated in the recording process of the latest album, she is continuing her hiatus from public appearances and sitting out the rigorous promotional activities that follow a K-pop release — oftentimes including daily performances with live audiences. The part she recorded for “Feel Special” seems to echo the statements about her emotions toward performing — “I just wanted to hide, didn’t wanna face the world, as if everything has lost meaning,” she sings. But the members of TWICE say the song does not end there. “After Mina’s part, the next part — ‘then you appeared before me…from nobody to somebody, I become a very special me’ — that’s the important part,” Dahyun explains. The key message to listeners is the shift from feeling insignificant to finding purpose.

As TWICE receives more recognition outside of South Korea, the members hope their impact extends beyond the stage. “Not only limited to releasing albums or doing performances, we want to deliver the message,” Nayeon says. “We want to give people positive energy and we also want to comfort people.” During this year’s world tour, they recognized the progress of becoming a more international K-pop group. “From the time we debuted, it was mostly domestic fans,” Sana says. “We can see how fans’ nationalities are expanding.”

They are open to shaking up the norm to connect with Once around the world. “We have debuted in Japan and Korea, but we also really want to make songs in other languages for global fans if there is an opportunity,” Nayeon says.

When TWICE’s debut was first announced in 2015, Park Jinyoung said the name refers to the nine-member ensemble making an impact “once through the ears and once through the eyes.” With the increased emphasis on their music’s messaging, the group is moving beyond the senses, now eager to touch hearts.


source: katxmoon, Time
pikapika217 10th-Oct-2019 09:56 am (UTC)
“As I saw the positive response, I thought that TWICE doesn’t have to be in a rush when it comes to activities.”

Hint hint JYP!!
yoonjeonghan 10th-Oct-2019 10:09 am (UTC)
i really enjoyed this comeback. the message is really nice.

i hope they get more rest between comebacks now. they need it, it's been nearly 4 years of non-stop promotion
babyjenkski 10th-Oct-2019 10:29 am (UTC)
I agree that they need proper rest. I was surprised when I saw video of one of their recent performance where they really looked so tired and Tzuyu's legs sort of gave up while performing.
magicpineapple 10th-Oct-2019 11:34 am (UTC)
Which performance?
babyjenkski 10th-Oct-2019 11:52 am (UTC)
This one:



Around 14:45 into the video. I can see them smiling but they look really tired.
aures 10th-Oct-2019 10:27 am (UTC)
i didn't read the full article yet but i did not really enjoy their latest comeback, the message was great and all that but the girls just seemed so sad and numb, i couldn't enjoy it much despite the slightly better styling they got

i know this has been said a million times but i want them to have a proper rest so they can smile again maybe or at least have the energy to try
unclbee 10th-Oct-2019 10:59 am (UTC)
Trad : They're on top already, let them rest
suggestivepeach 10th-Oct-2019 01:18 pm (UTC)

:(

That bit about Mina and the candy bongs made me sad. I’m glad the article touched upon them veering into maturer themes now and also their songwriting.

Unfortunately, the members said their schedule in 2020 will be just as packed so I don’t hold out hope for them getting an extended break like Bts did.

dior_chic 10th-Oct-2019 01:26 pm (UTC)
*sigh* they just never learn.

But even if they are voicing their concerns, I’m sure it’s in the back of the company’s mind is the message ‘we got to make as much money as we can since girl groups are only valued for a short time’. I know Twice members in interviews talk about how they see a long career ahead of them, but I don’t think these kpop companies care about long term with girl groups since youth is always valued.

Edited at 2019-10-10 01:26 pm (UTC)
lizanka23 10th-Oct-2019 04:52 pm (UTC)
if JYP let the girls develop their songwriting skills more and be more involved in their music then the girls could have longevity in the industry, so they'll have their own creative vision for the group and not just perform what they're given. even giving them some solo work to branch out could attract new fans. that way they could be like SNSD, able to do solo stuff when they're older but still have a big fandom, so when they do reunite they will still have a lot of fans waiting for their reunion. Brown eyed girls are still together after all these years and are making a comeback, and the Spice Girls constantly have reunion tours, so it's possible for older girl groups to still exist but i agree in k-pop it's usually considered something younger women do and then they become solo artists

Edited at 2019-10-10 04:55 pm (UTC)
suggestivepeach 10th-Oct-2019 05:58 pm (UTC)

I think Twice has a lot of potential to be a really long lasting girl group! Other than the fact that they all just get along and work together really well, judging from interviews they’ve done they seem to know that they’re better as a group. This is something I’ve noticed in another really solid girl group: Little Mix. The girls from LM don’t seem to have solo aspirations either.

Also! Chaeyoung participated in the production and lyrics for a song on their upcoming Japanese album, and other members have expressed interest in composing and production as well, so I can definitely see them being even more involved with their music.

Forgive my long comment, I just wanted to express some thoughts on the trajectory of Twice’s career lol.

lizanka23 11th-Oct-2019 03:54 am (UTC)
yeah they really do get along well and are participating more in the songwriting but i guess i meant i wish that they would be able to participate even more and actually produce or even come up with album concepts. because this time even though the lyrics came from a conversation with the girls they were still written by JYP and not the girls directly. Little Mix get to participate in the songwriting of their music and pick the artists they collab with as well as the visuals of the their albums and MVs.

i feel like this will give twice longevity bc they can rely less on others and have more of their own voice, so it will make them more irreplaceable but at the same time i understand it's more difficult for 9 members to agree on a album concept or song lyric compared to just the 4 members of little mix. i guess that's why i tend to stan groups that are 7 members or less except for loona because their company did an awesome job highlighting the individuality of each member through solo releases
suggestivepeach 13th-Oct-2019 08:40 am (UTC)

Do the Loona girls choose their concepts? I didn’t know that. And yes, ofc Twice COULD be participating even more but how many groups in general (regardless of how many members) have that much say over what they do? My reply was mostly just me just being content with the amount of creative input they have right now, with Chaeyoung producing and their mini albums now being mostly songs they wrote, and also being optimistic of the bigger amount of input they’ll hopefully get in the future <3

kenziekinz09 10th-Oct-2019 06:59 pm (UTC)
Not to be that person but there have only been 2 Spice Girls reunion tours, 12 years apart lmao.
lizanka23 11th-Oct-2019 02:23 am (UTC)
oops it felt more often. it feels like they announce one like every couple of years but i don't pay close attention. i just look at ohnotheydidnt's front page
dior_chic 10th-Oct-2019 01:19 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed the article, thank you for posting! It’s worth a full read.

I’m glad the girls are vocal that they are all dealing with physical and mental stressors that come with being overworked and hopefully JYPE gives them more rest in 2020. I don’t see why they can’t take a few months off early in 2020 (and I mean a literal break - no random performances at award shows or festivals) and make a comeback in May or June. But I have no say ofc

They’ve always had international fans but I do think it’s cool to see their global influence keeps growing :) I like how the article brought up their songs focus more on general topics on love but this song is very specific on real feelings the girls are dealing with. And the fans are responding positively - I love a ‘feel good’ track but this has an emotional pull that makes the song really special (couldn’t help myself lol) and fans are appreciating the song has a personal touch. If Twice were to continue down this path, that would be some incredible growth.

kenziekinz09 10th-Oct-2019 07:04 pm (UTC)
I know right now it’s looking like their 2020 schedule is going to be as busy as 2019, but 2019 still hasn’t been as packed as 2018. I’m trying to be positive here :(
JYP Is obviously aware that the girls are struggling but they don’t want to want to give them the break they deserve. Idk if they’re still salty about SNSD overtaking WG back in 2009/2010 but the girls shouldn’t have to suffer for past mistakes, even more so now that ITZY is doing well.
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