Is it possible to be captivated with the same person—or in this case, girl group—more than once? Twice has got us smitten again and again

TWICETAGRAM From left: Jihyo, Momo, Nayeon, Tzuyu, Mina, Jeongyeon, Dahyun (seated), Sana, and Chaeyoung in Twice x Bench collection

If there’s a South Korean girl group capable of bewitching people many times over, it would be Twice.

“Once through the ears and once through the eyes,” JYP Entertainment CEO and founder Park Jinyoung said, explaining the origin of the name referring to the impact of the nine-member act.

Each member is a unique beauty, an incredibly well-rounded individual. You have the serious leader Jihyo, sexy-songstress Nayeon, fierce rapper Chaeyoung, cutey rapper Dahyun, Bifauxnen Jeongyeon, shy hottie Mina, ethereal enchantress Tzuyu, dance machine Momo, and the ever-charming Sana.

Match their distinct personalities with their vibrant sound, bold dance moves, colorful style, and music videos and you have a love spell that captures the hearts of all. Take it from this writer, a recently converted Once (Twice fan), who fell head over heels with the girls after just watching the video of “Alcohol Free,” the title track from the mini-album Taste of Love. So yes, you’ll love what you hear and what you see.

All members of the family adore Twice. Men, for obvious reasons, Mom thinks they’re the girls her son could never bring home, sister idolizes them, and then there’s your girlfriend who may like them more than you do.

To get a better grasp of the allure of Twice, watch them perform. Best start with “Cheer up,” a multi-awarded song, which charted number one in Gaon Digital Chart and brought them domestic fame, and work your way up to the “Perfect World,” their latest music video as of writing. The captivating and powerful title track about breakup is from their latest Japanese album of the same name set to release on July 28. Think anime opening with real girls more waifu material than your 2D fantasies dissing you. You’re no masochist, but you enjoy the hate.

Twice formed under the reality television program Sixteen in 2015. They officially debuted on October 20 the same year. Since then, the girls and their music have grown a lot. Starting out with chipper demeanor, ebullient singles, and signature cute concept from their “What is Love,” “Likey,” and “Heart Shaker,” transitioning to more sophisticated songs “Fancy,” “Feel Special,” and “Breakthrough,” and now mature themes, as seen in the Taste of Love album, which is about adult yearning, burning passion, and serendipitous encounters. Their youthful image has taken an edgier turn.

It’s easy to understand how these girls are currently among the most prominent K-Pop groups around the world. For one, we could let the numbers speak for itself. When Twice launched their 10th mini-album the Taste of Love last month, they scored their first no. 1 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart, having sold 43,000 copies in the US based on MRC Data. It also emerged at the top of the World Albums chart. It was dethroned for a while by another K-Pop album, but it is back at the number one spot as of writing. The EP is also ninth in the 10 bestselling albums in the first half of 2021, according Gaon Music Chart. Nearly 523,000 copies have been sold in Korea.

Toward the end of June, I was given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to interview Twice as they held a virtual event in collaboration with local fashion brand Bench. The fashion giant has been partnering with Korean superstars, like Lee Donghae, Choi Siwon, Lee Min Ho, Park Shin Hye, Park Hyung Sik, Park Seo Joon, Ji Chang Wook, Byeon Woo-seok, Hyun Bin, and of course, Twice, tapped as a Global Benchsetter late 2019.

June 27 was a busy day for the girls. The virtual fan meet organized by Bench kicked off at 5:30 p.m. via the Filipino community platform Kumu. Twice was interviewed and given several games to play. They interacted with fans and performed some of their songs. There was a virtual meet-and-greet as well, all of which lasted until nine in the evening. After that, the girls had a press conference and, later, one-on-one interviews with top local media, Manila Bulletin included.

The way Twice handled the event made me admire them even more. It was my first virtual K-Pop event, which in a way is like a meet-and-greet for me, I was so glad it was with them. Because it was the height of the “Alcohol Free” clamor, my questions were heavily based on the Bossa nova beat.

WHAT IS LOVE? The author (right) during the one on nine interview with Twice

I learned a great deal from the girls and, if our conversation didn’t involve a translator and a strict time limit, I would have chatted the night away with them (pun intended). Since “Alcohol Free” is all about romance and summer, I had to ask what each of them must have when on the beach. Nayeon responded so quickly, saying that she needed sunglasses. Dahyun, who wanted to go to Boracay so badly, would need her sunscreen. Tzuyu answered a big hat, throwing her hands up over head.

‘We last met our Filipino Onces two years ago, and it’s been a long time since we’ve seen all our other Onces. So, once COVID ends, we really hope to go see our Philippine Onces in person.’

Their favorite song from Taste of Love is “Alcohol Free.” “It’s a summer song but it has a different vibe from our other summer song ‘Dance the Night Away,’” says Jihyo.

Given the chance to collaborate with any foreign artist, they would perform with Justin Bieber. Chaeyoung might have been holding the microphone at that point, but it was a unanimous choice as they answered in unison.

Twice are known for being extremely dedicated to their music and fans. The girls miss their fans and concerts. They are a huge success now, despite the pandemic, because they always make it a point to connect with their fans, which is why they have been very active in the digital space. “At first, we were worried about what to do and how to cope just like everyone else, but since there is an online platform, we tried to create and do as much content as possible on the internet and social media,” says Mina.

“We last met our Filipino Onces two years ago, and it’s been a long time since we’ve seen all our other Onces. Whenever we visit them to have concerts, they always move us by welcoming us as much as they’ve been waiting for us. Like today, they created these touching videos for us. So, once COVID ends, we really hope to go see our Philippine Onces in person,” says Nayeon.

Bench also has a history of bringing their Korean partners to Philippine shores. Here’s to hoping that the health crisis mellows down soon, so that Twice could come back to the country. And when they do return to the Philippines, get ready to fall in love the same way twice.

Source: Manila Bulletin (