When considering some of the best English language K-pop tracks of the past few years, TWICE’ wonderfully catchy The Feels ranks near the very top, delivering a cavalcade of classic pop hooks whilst still retaining the classic TWICE sound that we all know and love. Moonlight Sunrise, similarly to its predecessor, comes as an English pre-release single for the groups upcoming project. And while it does carry a chic, atmospheric soundscape akin to much of the groups more recent work, it feels more akin to a solid b-side than notable single.
Opening with a surprisingly groovy instrumental and evocative vocal performance, Moonlight Sunrise knows how to create an atmosphere, generating its intended aesthetic rather well from the opening few seconds alone. It’s all very 2019 in execution, a soundscape that I happen to enjoy quite abit. The instrumentation and arrangement heavily recall sounds in the vein of Produce X 101’s excellent Boyness, though doesn’t possess quite the punch of that track. But while the production itself is a little restrained, the girls give a suitably strong performance, one that elevates even the tracks more potentially boring moments. The chorus is similarly potent, tracing a rather hum drum yet nonetheless addictive repetition of the title over a skittering drum beat that does well to stand as a centrepiece.
However, the one thing that’s really holding Moonlight Sunrise from ranking amongst the groups best singles is the production. It feels oddly compressed and tinny, devoid of the kind of clear character or polish present in the groups past efforts. This leads to a less than satisfying listening experience that prevents me from really getting into the track. The arrangement also rids the song of any notable peaks, instead giving Moonlight Sunrise a sense of monotony that it fails to really recover from despite some addictive hooks and a great performance. And while this doesn’t necessarily make Moonlight Sunrise a disappointing pre-release, it does make me hope that the eventual single carries a greater sense of polish present in efforts like last years excellent Talk that Talk.
Final Rating: 7.75 / 10