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TWICE’s ‘Ready To Be’ Is An Ode To Love And Maturity

The last 2-3 years of musical projects from TWICE may have felt like a transition period as they begin to mesh their bright and colorful image with cheeky messages on love and growing up. In their twelfth EP, Ready To Be (released last Friday, March 10), the top-selling South Korean girl group from JYP Entertainment — consisting of Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, Tzuyu — has solidified their image as grown women in the pop industry. Their English pre-release single “Moonlight Sunrise” that dropped in January was only a glimpse of what was to come in the new seven-track project.

Ready To Be opens up with the group’s lead single “Set Me Free” — a disco-heavy pop track penned by GALACTIKA and produced by Lindgren. The first track off the mini-album suits its place in the EP, as the song can easily feel like you’re listening to the opening credits of a 1970s action-packed thriller. It’s not until we get into the bridge where modern meets nostalgia as TWICE’s rap-line of Dahyun, Momo, but Chaeyoung go back-to-back for a couple of lines. Blending in old and new genres is no stranger to TWICE’s signature sound. It’s something that they’ve perfectly formulated over the years alongside their production team. However, the message for “Set Me Free,” and its English version, are loud and clear: love freely and break from the chains that may bind and hold you back from doing so. Carrying a theme such as that makes “Set Me Free” a strong lead single and confirms both TWICE’s maturity as artists and their message.

If “Set Me Free” cemented TWICE’s newfound image of bringing sophisticated pop with mature themes, Ready To Be’s second track, “Moonlight Sunrise” (also known as the pre-release English single), was a teaser to the group’s grown era. As we’ve mentioned before, the song’s flirtatious lyrics (“I’ve got the moonlight, tequila sunrise, come take a shot on me, I got ya”) on top of a bed of Miami-bass is an invitation to the new side of TWICE. After all, the English single was the first project from the group after breaking K-pop’s seven-year curse and renewing their contracts last year.

“Got The Thrills” plays as the third track off of Ready To Be and can be easily taken as the sequel to “Talk That Talk” with its similar synths and progressions sprinkled throughout. Produced by JYP Entertainment’s in-house producer collapsedone (“What Is Love?” “Knock Knock,” “Feel Special”), TWICE highlights the adrenaline-rushing feelings of falling in love in a metaphorical sonic journey of thrills — “An insatiable thirst, risky eye contact / Even if it’s dangerous gotta gotta gotta get the thrills.”

The excitement springing from “Got The Thrills” transitions into a powerful rock and blues anthem penned by member Dahyun called “Blame It On Me.” Filled with a loud strum of the electric guitar and a consistent chord progression throughout, the song rages on the themes of a one-sided obsession with a subtle touch of lust. It’s an ode to unrequited love and the consequences of not being reciprocated.

As the thematic message of love can get complicated, TWICE’s “Wallflower” takes on a “drunk in love” approach in its messaging. With lyrics confidently suggesting an intimate night and sharing a dance with one another, TWICE allures the listener into their thoughts, eventually seducing them into their world in this lustful earworm.

And if you can’t deal with the complicated moments of love, sometimes it’s best to just leave it be. That’s exactly what the second penned track from Dahyun is saying in her rock pop song “Crazy Stupid Love.” While it may be considered a sad break-up song, it’s also a song filled with raging emotions of not wanting to deal with trivial lies and toxicity love can carry. Listing “Crazy Stupid Love” as the last [Korean-sung] track off the album (besides the English version of “Set Me Free”) is a great way to generalize how love is such a complex experience for young adults that, sometimes, we realize that maybe love, or specifically companionship, isn’t for all of us.

TWICE’s Ready To Be is out now and available on all streaming platforms.