After nearly 7 years of dominating the industry as a group, TWICE have finally begun to venture into the realm of solo activities with oldest member Nayeon taking the first step with the release of her self title mini album. As as someone who has loved TWICE as a group, I always wondered how their solo work would sound and if POP! is any indication, my expectations for future efforts has been raised.
Rather than take an expected girl crush or mid-tempo route, POP! is pure, unadulterated fun, punctuated by blasts of brass and an arrangement that isn’t afraid to go big. It lives up to its name, supplying a continuous thrill ride that doesn’t succumb to any of 2022’s many underwhelming tropes. The verses have a satisfying drive to them and are only furthered by Nayeon herself, who gives a fantastic performance that cements her status as a true solo star. The hook is equally as potent, pulsing a with surprising amount of melodic heft that makes excellent use of Nayeon’s powerful vocals to craft a strong centrepiece. It’s so great to see a fully formed chorus, one not hampered by the need to slow down or replace melody with instrumental. And that alone goes a long way in selling the track.
But as much as I enjoy it, POP! is not perfect. The oft repeated pop hook is fun at first but I think becomes a little overused by the time the track rears its head. I understand its inclusion but I feel that it would have done just as well without it. And then there’s the arrangement. As much as I love it, It kind of feels too overstuffed for its own good. I really like it now but I don’t know how much longevity it will have. This is all speculation and for what I know POP! could have the complete opposite trajectory but because of that I can’t really rate it higher. And though I would have wished it to be a tad bit longer to fully flesh itself out, POP! is a very strong debut effort from Nayeon.
Final Rating: 8.5 / 10