My 1st In-Depth Music Review! AHHHH I’m so excited!! What better way to start it than with a song capturing everyone’s attention now!!!
For the basics, I’ll describe the song, talk about it in detail and give it a review score out of 10 based on a few criteria.
After their last comeback, The Iconic cultural-reset that was “I Can’t Stop Me”, expectations were high as to how Twice could top themselves with such an internationally viral retropop hit. Though it didn’t chart as high as they usually do on the Korean Music Charts, it was nonetheless viral and helped Twice gain more fans internationally. (The MV now has more than 300M views!)
What did they do this time you ask? To tell us not to have expectations and instead just enjoy the music.
Listen and watch the MV here: https://youtu.be/XA2YEHn-A8Q
Now Let’s get to my review!!!
Let’s start with what we know so far. Alcohol-Free is the title track of Twice’s latest album, ‘Taste of Love’. The song is Written and Produced in majority by Park Jinyoung (JYP) himself.
Twice describes the song as latin-genre inspired and the lyrics are about likening falling in love to intoxication (getting drunk). ‘Onces’ (Twice fans) theorize that the song is Twice’s reply to their 2018 Korean hit ‘What is Love’ because that song’s name encourages familiarity to the current album title and because the lyrics of the song may be considered to answer ‘What is Love’.
Let’s get to the positives, Twice have been constantly experimenting with their sound and planning their concept transition since 2018’s ‘Yes or Yes’ & 2019’s ‘Fancy’ from being a cute-concept girlgroup to becoming a full-fledged mature girlgroup with ‘Feel Special’ & ‘I Can’t Stop Me’. ‘More & More’ was more of a callback to their cute-concept days with a taste of a little sexy and maturity but not as full-fledged as ‘Alcohol-Free’.
The MV was fun. It looked like a fun alcohol ad with pretty and sexy girls endorsing alcohol. Kinda reminded me of old Filipino alcohol ads. Nonetheless, the MV was fun and trippy but in a good way. The CGI, the outdoor sets and the effects were excellent and gave the MV a refreshing and summery vibe to it.
‘Alcohol-Free’ is Twice at their full mature stage while still being cute at the same time. The song title itself is a mark of maturity and their full transition is excellent because it is never afraid to look back to the cuteness from where it came from. That is Twice’s strength in their concept. The song is very chill, can be played at cafés on the daily and is a pleasant earworm. Let’s get to the specifics.
The verses are full of clever wordplay as expected from the metaphor of likening intoxication with the feeling of being in love. Dahyun’s zero-point-zero line was memorable. And the piano switch-up at the background during Dahyun’s first line at the second verse was so fun and pleasant.
Next, Everyone’s vocals are stronger than ever. Tzuyu’s vocals have made the most improvement which is why I guess she had more lines this time. Jihyo and Nayeon’s vocals still sound powerful despite the song being chill which gives it the characteristic Twice sound. Momo also sounds comfortable here and less strained. The production of the song overall is clever and fun. Incorporating nice switch-ups and changes in guitar strums and drum beats to indicate vibe changes.
Now onto other things. My honest thoughts on the track going further, It’s solid and good but not as Iconic.
Don’t get me wrong, Twice title tracks are a standard of their own and bring with them virality and they stay stuck in my mind and I sing it for months. But, unlike most of Twice’s title tracks, this one’s a grower and not an instant bop at first listen (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). And I attribute it to a change in less words and more vibes-focus and reliance on the horns in the chorus.
Twice title track choruses are often full of wording in lyrics and have an iconic line and dance that marks itself as the ‘killing point’ or the part everyone can remember forever. That’s what they were good at. Having strong killing points in their choruses.
Though last year’s ‘More & More’ deviates from this formula as well by incorporating dubstep, the chorus proves itself as a ‘killing point’ because of the “You’re gonna say more, more, more, more, more & more…” pre-chorus with a matching iconic multiplying hip dance and the “More & More!” chant in the background of the dubstep makes it stuck in your head instantly. Couple that with an iconic dance break and the Dahyun-Chaeyoung rap verses, More & More still follows the traditional Twice formula to an extent and is an instant bop.
Meanwhile, ‘Alcohol-Free’ attempts the killing point with its chorus mentioning Alcohol-Free then going with the heavy horns to carry the chorus before following it up with some lines. The MV focuses on the girls dancing in a more chill and vibe-y manner with their hips during the chorus. Though that in itself can be a ‘killing point’, it isn’t as strong as their previous releases.
And though the horns that carry the chorus sound good, they don’t necessarily help in getting the chorus to stick. But, Sana and Momo’s part where they just name a bunch of alcoholic drinks is unexpectedly the line of the after-chorus that is the most memorable and sing-able part of the song. That part is what’s gonna make it stuck in people’s minds.
After giving it a few listens, it gets stuck on your head afterwards (hence why I called it a grower).
Twice took a risk with this song. With all expectations on them being high, they decided to blow them all off and instead present us such an unorthodox and fresh release to follow up ‘I Can’t Stop Me’. That in itself is a mark of them maturing and experimenting with their sound.
But do I think that it was a worthy risk? Well, Yes & No. In the short term, Yes because it’s charting well in Korea and the MV is gaining lots of views (as expected from Twice!) but in the long term, I just don’t see it as a title track everyone will look back on and mark as a memorable moment in Twice’s excellent discography even if it is a turning point and a change that is significant.
I do appreciate Twice and JYP for trying to change things up and experiment but I also feel like they went with a chill song such as Alcohol-Free in an attempt to just re-attract the Korean audience with a safe release and produce a viral dance trend with the dance at the chorus. Which they are all successful at doing TBH.
Nothing wrong with these things though. Just as long as they make good music, that’s all that matters. I’m just voicing my opinion on what I think are the good and bad sides of this (all things come with both good and bad sides).
My Song Score;
Lyrics and Vocal Arrangement: 8/10
Likelihood that it will be in my playlist: 9/10
Total average score: 8.35/10
Additional Comment: BTW I FOUND A FANMADE CITYPOP REMAKE OF THE SONG HERE! IT SOUNDS SO GOOD AND WOULD’VE MADE AN ICONIC REMIX IF IT WERE OFFICIAL! RETRO BEATS AND PRODUCTION TAKE THE SONG TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL! LISTEN HERE; https://youtu.be/o99Xs9C7D8k
Let me know what you think of my review and the song on the comments below!!!