20151021_seoulbeats_twice_ooh_ahh_1JYP sure wasted no time in debuting the winners of the Mnet survival show Sixteen, in the new girl group Twice. Though the show only wrapped up in July, the nine final competitors are already hitting the K-pop scene with the mini album, The Story Begins and its lead single “Like Ooh-Aah.”

Three months from team finalization to début seems awful short for some, but for many of the members of Twice, début couldn’t come soon enough. JYP originally intended to launch a new girl group in 2014 (of which many of the members of Twice were originally slated for). When debut plans fell through, JYP turned his attentions to Mnet and the chance to cash in on the survival show craze that launched groups like Winner, Monsta X and most recently, iKon.

Though Sixteen received netizen criticism for its perceived ruthlessness, the competition certainly worked to JYP’s benefit, earning the group a solid fanbase prior to debut. Together the members of Twice make up an international bunch of talents with Momo, Sana and Mina hailing from Japan, while Tzuyu is Taiwanese. The team is rounded out with the Korean members Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Dahyun and Chaeyoung and  Jihyo — who trained for a decade before securing her spot in the final line-up.

Now that the competition is over, the ladies have debuted as a collective, cutsey and distinctive team with the zombie-themed MV for “Like Ooh-Ahh.” Just in time for Halloween, too!

The MV continues the story of the individual member teasers: the members of Twice are being followed and approached by persistent zombies. Only instead of being out in public for the MV, the members of Twice have been transported to what appears to be an abandoned school, and they each take on a different high school girl persona. It’s a cliche horror film waiting to happen.

20151021_seoulbeats_twice_ooh_ahh_3There’s a twist to the zombie theme in that the zombies don’t appear to be after the girls’ brains. Instead, they want their attention, much like men looking for a pick-up. The zombies are actually quite a clever metaphor for the soulless suitors who only pursue (and drool over) the members because they’re attractive girls.

People just can’t leave me alone, not for a single moment

I’m so pretty, I make everyone so smitten

But the modest ladies of Twice want more than someone who desires them for their beauty — they want a real love that makes them feel like “Ooh-Ahh.”

I’m waiting for someone who can make me feel

Something like never before

(That’s who I’m waiting for)

I’ll wait no matter how long it takes

I just wanna fall in love

20151021_seoulbeats_twice_ooh_ahh_sanaThere were plenty of opportunities for the MV to go harder on the horror concept, but I guess JYP figured that ten episodes of metaphoric knives in backs was enough gore to last the group a while. Unfortunately, that means yet another K-pop MV that avoids going for the full Zombie Apocalypse; and there are no cuts of the girls dismembering each other limb by limb or of them nom-ing on brains.

Nonetheless, the members of Twice are introduced through a nearly single-take camera pan, while they safely dance their way through the building. The sets are nothing impressive, but the colors do wonders for setting the mood of the individual song segments. The gentle zombies are kept at bay with fences, even when the girls head up to the roof to execute the group choreography at dusk. By the end of the MV, night has arrived but harm has befallen no one. Rather, the girls and zombies band together to do some rendition of the monster mash.

Really, the only thing the MV is missing is a little gore and perhaps a JYP zombie cameo.

Everything about the debut release is bouncy, from the choreography, to the camera pans, to the melody itself. “Like Ooh-Ahh” is three and a half minutes of sugary, catchy bounce. The vocals are appropriately dynamic and sweet enough for the track — so sweet, in fact, that you can actually hear the aegyo bursting from some lines. The sweetness borders on overwhelming; but thankfully, the bridge offers a a slightly more aggressive change of pace that breaks up the song quite well. There are a lot of different genres coming together for “Like Ooh-ahh,” but they blend together quite nicely in the end.  While the track itself isn’t the most stand-out aspect of the début, it does have a stick factor that will make their début memorable enough.

20151021_seoulbeats_twice_ooh_ahh_momoThe greatest strength of this début is that it was executed in a way that showcased (most of) the member’s individual charms, whether they be musical or visual: Sana shines with quirky cuteness Jihyo finally gets her moment to shine in the center; Mina and Momo show-off their flexibility; and each vocal-line member gets ample screen and singing time. The rap line (made up of Dahyun and Chaeyeong) does fall a little short with their only real camera time happening in a blacklit bathroom while they rap a couple of lines, but hopefully we’ll see more of them in the future.

I’m excited to see how the ladies pull off the live performances for “Like Ooh Ahh.” After watching Sixteen, we know that the members are more than capable of dancing and singing live at the same time. Even though the choreography and melody demand a lot of energy, I think we can expect a lot from Twice’s début stages.

In short, I’d say the zombie concept is one of the strongest girl group executions so far, certainly surpassing the let down of 4Minute‘s “What Your Name,” and the brilliant wtf-ery of T-ara‘s “Lovey Dovey.” Sixteen did a great job of introducing us to the ladies of Twice, but “Like Ooh-Ahh” has cemented their likability for me. I have to say, I’m completely charmed.

MV: 3.8/5

Song: 3/5 

Readers, how do you feel about Twice’s début? Did all your favorites make the final line-up?

(YouTube, Star News, Images via JYPE.)