As K-pop’s cheery princesses celebrate their fifth anniversary, we list down five tracks that you need to hear to get started with TWICE.

When thinking about K-pop, the “bubblegum” image of the genre is almost too strong to escape. At the height of the so-called second generation, innocent, peppy, and sweet became the dominant image for girl-groups. As a result, what we saw was an influx of the same “cute” concepts, so much so that at some point, a lot of fans wondered when we will all have enough.

When TWICE debuted five years ago in 2015, it was natural for us to roll our eyes. After all, we’d seen the evolution of this strawberry-scented, colorful extravaganza of K-pop. TWICE, however, brought happiness back to the genre.

As their music evolved and the nine members expanded as performers, it became clear that TWICE believed in using their music as a conduit to bring cheer to their listeners. This, of course, was further clarified in the group’s lighthearted discography and kitschy music videos, to the point that they’ve now become synonymous with “color-pop.”

They must have done something right because in just a few short years, TWICE has become one of the biggest girl-groups around the world. From their stunning numbers, which follow the likes of BTS and BLACKPINK closely, to their rapid global expansion, to the memes that the members have inspired, TWICE are well on their way to being counted on K-pop’s essentials lists.

As the group celebrates its fifth anniversary ahead of a new release, here are five tracks to get into TWICE.

‘Cheer Up’ (2016)


Few acts get introduced to the world with something as catchy as ‘Cheer Up’. Coming less than a year after their debut, ‘Cheer Up’ set the perfect precedent for the sound that TWICE eventually perfected over the course of their careers: peppy, cheerful, and making you want to dance.

Whether it was the memorable ‘Shy, shy, shy‘ step or the chorus that took everything up a notch, ‘Cheer Up’ became the blueprint for the TWICE we grew to love, before they outgrew even that mold and surprised us.

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‘TT’ (2016)


‘TT’ is one of the songs that you knew before you heard it. How could you not, when everyone and their mother performed the signature crying emoji step on every variety show, award show, and V-live? (Case in point: EXO having the time of their lives being TWICE fanboys here.)

Coming just in time for Halloween, ‘TT’ turned the spooky concept on its head by marrying it with TWICE’s gorgeous smiles and Halloween cosplay. Add to that the playful lyrics talking about the push-and-pull of the game of attraction, the pointed choreography, and the addictive chorus, we were going ‘TT’ before we knew it.

‘What Is Love?’ (2018)


One of the best things about TWICE is how they incorporate elements of pop-culture into their music. Just like ‘TT’, ‘What Is Love?’ stands as a testimony to their receptiveness to concepts where they can be anyone and everyone at once. While ‘TT’ brought them to the darker side of the spectrum, ‘What Is Love?’ was the perfect way to usher in summer 2018, both in theme and in style.

Throughout the song, the girls attempt to understand what love looks, sounds and feels like. Aptly, we see the members display different definitions of it, alluding to classic scenes from movies like Ghost, Pulp Fiction, and La La Land.

While we don’t know whether we understood the feeling any better after this, but we were all ready to experiment with our own summer love by the time the song ended.

‘Fancy’ (2019)


Right about the time people might have started to wonder: ‘Is bubblegum-pop becoming TWICE’s trademark?’, the group switched things up with what is probably the most surprising and mature track of their career, ‘Fancy’. Gone were the starry-eyed girls unsure of their feelings.

TWICE in ‘Fancy’ knew what they wanted and were not shy to ask for it. As they mastered the ‘dangerous’ game of attraction, they laid out all their cards with confidence and asked the objects of their affection to choose, before their love ‘melted’. I mean, what am I gonna do? Say no?

‘Turtle’ (2017)


Raising a glass to TWICE’s B-sides is this one. Aptly titled ‘Turtle’, this one deals with the pacing of love, where we sometimes fall faster than our partners, but are more than willing to wait for them to catch up. As the members talk about their hearts being ‘faster than yours’, references to the classic ‘The Tortoise and The Hare’ are not lost on us.

Apart from the sweet spin on a classic children’s story, ‘Turtle’ finds a spot on this list because of being — and this is purely subjective — one of TWICE’s acoustic bests. Stripped away from the snares and beats, it lets the group’s vocals shine, letting us revel in the glory of TWICE.