Two X made their unexpected debut with single album Double Up earlier in the month. Rather than drag out the teasers, the girl group, signed with J. Tune Camp, went for a more sudden debut — a move that was pretty smart, especially considering that it’s already late in the year and they’re trailing behind numerous rookie debuts. The group has five members, ranging between the ages of 20 and 23: leader and main vocalist Ji-you, vocalist Eun, rapper Min-joo, vocalist Su-rin, and maknae and rapper Eun-young. Ji-you is the one with prior experience in Korean entertainment, with a notable feature in one of Rain‘s albums. In addition, Eun-young was a back-up dancer for not just Rain but some YG Entertainment groups as well.
The single album consists of four tracks: “Initium (Intro),” “Double Up,” “Ring Marks,” and “Boom Take Clap.” The title track of the four is “Double Up,” which was released four days before the rest of the single album.
The intro track is entitled, “Initium,” Latin for beginning. The track lasts 34 seconds and is a jazzy tune filled with remixed sounds along with soothing vocals. The group’s name as well as words like “double” are repeatedly mixed in there, and the track overall ends with a whisper of “Two X.” It sounds like a throwback to the nineties and is a fairly simple intro for the single album. But it’s a welcome sound that contrasts much of the dance music that K-pop whips out fairly often.
The title track, “Double Up,” is very airy and makes full use of the lower register that the girls have. The music has a strong beat that instantly classifies the song under the dance music genre that the intro strayed from. The girls clearly have good vocals. Leader Ji-you and Su-rin’s vocals in particular have a more developed sound that in the chorus give a mature impression that contrasts with a lot of the younger and less-experienced vocals that rookie groups tend to have. The repetition of “Double Up” has the potential to be catchy, but it misses the mark, mainly due to the unoriginal beat and melody that makes the song just another one to play at a party. The song is about giving a boy another chance, but warning him that he’d better work for it by giving the girl double the love. In performances, the sass the girls bring is visible, but it’s lacking in the vocals themselves. The song is good, but nothing outstanding.
The third track, “Ring Marks,” is below:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries?index=2&list=PL51B4B6ECB9304353&hl=en_US&w=560&h=315]
This track is a pleasure to the ears. A simple backtrack that is based on piano and moves at a walking tempo allows for both vocalists and rappers to shine. The song begins sounding like any old ballad, but the added beats make the song move along more. The beginning lets both Min-joo and Eun-young shine with their contrasting rap styles. Then the vocalists cut in with soft back-vocals as well. The song is a bit somber at parts, but it still keeps its beauty with an almost hopeful tone recurring every so often. A highlight of the song would definitely be the ten seconds of Min-joo and Eun-young rapping together at 1:40, which definitely isn’t heard often in K-pop. This track clearly shows the potential of the girls, much more so than the title track does.
The final song of the single is “Boom Take Clap.”[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries?index=3&list=PL51B4B6ECB9304353&hl=en_US&w=560&h=315]
This last song finishes the single album with a bang. It’s the power dance song of the song that shows the vocal range as the vocalists tackle higher pitches with no difficulty. The eventual melding of that higher music with the lower dance beats, rap, and autotune is surprising good in the chorus. But the trip to get there isn’t quite so smooth. The sudden change to the almost angelic use of synths with the higher vocals is a bit of a rough transition. The use of heavy drums along with those synthetic sounds in what seems to be time for a dance break is welcome and recharges the song for a proper ending. The repetition of “Boom jjikgo clap, boom jjikgo clap clap” is quite infectious. This song is one of the better songs of the four, to the point where this may have made a better title track to promote because of its energy and better impression. But if the intent with the group’s debut was focus on the vocals, then “Double Up” would have been a better choice.
Double Up is a good introduction to the capabilities of the girls. While some of the music is a little simple or needs work and some of the girls need to up their vocal expression, the group is off to a good start with a strong vocal foundation and plenty of range in music style and music pitch to work with. There are clear strong tracks on this single that unfortunately might not get listened to because of the ordinary title track. There is also good cohesion between the styles of the album that flow well into each other for the most part, leading the single album to receive a 3.6/5.
Seoulmates, did Two X leave an impression on you in this packed year of rookies? Any favorite songs or vocals? I’m excited to hear more of their vocals. Are you? Let us know in the comments!