[Review] TWICE pull bait-and-switch with “BDZ”, but chant-along hook is a redeeming quality

As popular as it has been, TWICE’s Japanese material has left a lot to be desired thus far. Pursuing a hyper cutesy motif, it’s only seemed to accentuate the group’s most cloying instincts. But the teasers for “BDZ” — the lead single from their first full J-pop album — seemed to promise something more mature. Many fans have been clamoring for TWICE to pursue a sound closer to K-pop’s “girl crush” concept, and “BDZ” begins to dip its feet in those waters.

That said, this is still TWICE we’re talking about. There’s a pervasive lightness surrounding “BDZ”, even as the instrumental slows the tempo to a more restrained pace and the arrangement focuses on a smoother vocal technique. The song’s verses have a more straightforward appeal than most TWICE singles, with little focus on personality-driven aegyo. The song was written by JYP himself, and it feels like something he would’ve churned out years ago for a group like miss A. This sense of nostalgia is instantly comforting, even if “BDZ” doesn’t ever break new ground.

The song’s chant-along hook misses the quirky energy that has fueled the best of TWICE’s music, but it’s an undeniably catchy bit of pop. Its sing-song melody isn’t remotely demanding, but has a nice, simple swing to it that fits surprisingly well with TWICE’s aesthetic. This is supported by the pleasant thump of an electro r&b beat that rarely modulates but remains ingratiating throughout. “BDZ” is easily the strongest Japanese track TWICE has released yet, though it would be even stronger if it built to the kind of iconic moments the group has made their name on.

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