[Review] TWICE’s “Scientist” a bit of a failed lab experiment

TWICE maturing their sound was something I was always leery of since it didn’t appear to play to their strengths as a group, but not only did the transition go smoothly, efforts like “I Can’t Stop Me” and “Cry For Me” were among their best work.

On ‘Taste Of Love‘, I thought they made a mistake by using “Alcohol-Free” as the title over superior b-sides, and I think they’ve done the same on ‘Formula Of Love: O+T=<3‘ with “Scientist“.

The best part about “Scientist” is the title itself, as I imagine somebody Googling “TWICE Scientist” wanting pop music and instead getting some nerdy twins in lab coats or something.

TWICE are infinitely more interesting to look at in their music video than that at least, but the music itself is a bit of a letdown. Don’t get me wrong, “Scientist” is smooth and composed well, briskly coasting along on the synth-heavy instrumental, and for the most part it’s perfectly fine. It even stands out vocally due to the girls being allowed to operate more into their comfort zone than being forced to strain higher and higher.

That said, “Scientist” as a pop hit is reliant on the chorus to come through, and it certainly sets up for something livelier, something to really attach the listener to the song. But that moment just never comes. The chorus sort of just exists instead of bringing energy or jolting the listener a bit, and so it lacks that TWICE flavor in terms of having a hook for people to latch onto. Instead it sort of coasts on by, seemingly with the intent on being satisfied with its own soundscape instead of reaching for the extra gear. The rest of the song is strong enough to be complimentary, but it’s certainly not enough to carry appeal on its own, and that’s unfortunately what it seems to be asked to do.

So that’s back-to-back Korean singles from TWICE that haven’t captured my attention, and normally this would cause me to change course on my feelings of a group’s general trajectory. But to the contrary, I actually think TWICE’s transition is going remarkably well, mostly because there’s more than enough hits stashed away as b-sides. So JYP Entertainment isn’t doing TWICE any favors with their title track selections, because they’re doing some of their best work yet people who don’t listen to the whole of their discography will never know, and “Scientist” unfortunately only furthers that problem.

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