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TWICE are one of K-pop’s premier girl groups, denizens of the sunniest dance pop imaginable and also (possibly) a bellwether of the industry’s shifting priorities. Based in Seoul, the nine-member ensemble was created by JYP Entertainment in 2015 in the singing-competition television show Sixteen. That show revealed some of the pressures of K-pop training programs: Jihyo, TWICE’s leader (who joined JYP at age eight), was consistently told to lose weight on the show, and she confessed in a later documentary that she had often wanted to quit. But part of K-pop’s appeal has been its bright attitude, and TWICE toed that line easily when they debuted with the EP The Story Begins in late 2015. Subsequent releases continued to offer slices of relentlessly upbeat pop music, bolstered by their colorful outfits and bubbly energy. Their first LP, 2017’s twicetagram, topped many Asian charts, and, aided by having members who hail from Japan and Taiwan as well as Korea, they pushed into the Japanese market in 2018 with BDZ. They have serious songwriting firepower behind them, including MNEK, Zara Larsson, Justin Tranter, and Julia Michaels, who have written for the likes of Britney Spears, Selena Gomez, and Justin Bieber. But TWICE have endured some pain: In 2019, the dancer Mina took a break from performing, citing an anxiety disorder. JYP took the unprecedented step of announcing that diagnosis, and since that time, the group has become more outspoken about the importance of both physical and mental health—an unusual move in K-pop’s famously appearance-driven but intense industry. In 2020, they released the EP MORE & MORE, evincing a new sense of empowerment (“MAKE ME GO”) without sacrificing their enchanting playfulness.

Seoul, South Korea
October 20, 2015
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