A Beginner’s Guide To Flawless K-Pop Girl Group TWICE

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It can be hard to get your bearings in K-Pop, so we’re helping out with intros to some of the biggest acts.

Within the highly-saturated South Korean music market, K-Pop groups are a dime a dozen. Largely dominated by male acts, the sitting queens, Girls’ Generation, have reigned K-Pop for almost a decade and the odds just don’t stack up in general for other girl groups, of whom very few are able to break into the industry’s radar. This, however, hasn’t proved the case for TWICE, who have taken K-Pop by storm since their debut.

JYP Entertainment, home to the now defunct girl-group staple Wonder Girls, had been without a new girl group for five years before announcing that they had formed a new one through a reality competition show called Sixteen in 2015. At the end, Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, and Tzuyu had made the cut and debuted later that year under the TWICE moniker with the dance-pop track “Like Ooh Ahh.” Having garnered a strong fan base through Sixteen, plus by including three Japanese members and a Chinese one that helped appeal to K-Pop’s two biggest markets, TWICE’s debut was one of the most impactful since 2NE1, racking up 50 million views on YouTube within five months.

While the cutesy girl group concept wasn’t dead before TWICE came into the picture, it was less preferred over the “girl crush” concept of groups like MAMAMOO or the sexy and fierce ones like SISTAR and 2NE1. In many cases, girl groups with cute stylings would have to reinvent themselves as sexy ones to stay relevant, few truly managing to stay afloat with more innocent images. That all changed when TWICE came out with their second single, the smash hit “Cheer Up.” Another dance-pop track, “Cheer Up” practically made the sexy and empowering girl-group concept obsolete with its cute cheerleader vibe, the iconic “sha sha sha” line, and lyrics about playing hard to get, but also apologizing for giving the dude a hard time. The track was so successful that it won Song of the Year in two major Korean music awards shows and was the best performing Korean single of 2016.

After seeing girl groups mature in the last few years with performances reclaiming pole dancing and using lots of vagina innuendos in music videos, K-Pop girl groups went back to the wholesome, prim and proper image that put Girls’ Generation on top. TWICE, with sweet and approachable personas, catchy hooks, and memorable and easy to mimic handsy choreographies with singles like “TT,” “Knock Knock,” and their most recent “Signal,” were at the forefront of this generational shift. It doesn’t hurt that the members are all cute as hell as well, which is why they are brand ambassadors and models for all kinds of products in Korea.

In two short years and five mere singles, TWICE is already a force to be reckoned with and they are showing no signs of stopping anytime soon.

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