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TWICE, 'MOONLIGHT SUNRISE'

TWICE has always had traces of Atlanta bass in its DNA, but the K-pop girl group fully embraces the regional style on "MOONLIGHT SUNRISE," a new English-language single. Glossy synths and warbled vocals begin the track with a beguiling charm, and then singer Sana arrives to capitalize on the hypnotic mood: "I guarantee I got ya." Such confidence is the prevailing spirit here, with every thwacking kick a sign of TWICE's insistence. The members sing as if on a mission — they want this relationship to move faster — and so when the beat slows down, it becomes a chance to reveal vulnerable confessions.

Given K-pop's history of cribbing from Atlanta bass, "MOONLIGHT SUNRISE" stands out for sounding like its most faithful interpretation (notably, it was co-written by members of American girl group Citizen Queen). It's also one of the most thrilling English songs from a K-pop group ever. Other attempts often sound trite, reducing Korean acts to their most simplistic or mind-numbingly banal. As on their previous single "The Feels," TWICE sounds comfortable in this different register, bringing the bubbly infatuation and poised assurance of past works into a straightforward genre exercise. "This feeling's so hard to explain," sings Chaeyoung. Luckily, TWICE has always been masters at translating the feverish ecstasy of crushing hard.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Joshua Minsoo Kim