TWICE kick off their latest single, “Set Me Free,” in a bold way: “I want it all and I’m never gonna settle.” It’s certainly a fitting statement for a girl group that appears dedicated to having it all.
In 2023 alone, TWICE have placed on the Billboard Hot 100 with their second English single “Moonlight Sunrise,” announced their fifth world tour—making them the first Korean girl group (and second Korean group overall) to headline the SoFi and MetLife Stadiums—lit up the iconic Empire State Building in New York City with their official colors of neon magenta and apricot, broke a personal record by receiving 1.7 million pre-orders for their twelfth mini album, broke a U.S. record for most single-week sales by a Korean female act, and made history as the first Korean girl group to be honored at the Billboard Women in Music ceremony, where they took the Breakthrough Artist award.
We’re only in March, but if TWICE have any say in the matter, they will only continue to add to their impressive list of accomplishments before 2023 is over.
On March 1, the nine-member group was honored as the Breakthrough Artist at the Billboard Women in Music Awards, a ceremony dedicated to recognizing “today’s most influential female powerhouses who are shaping the music landscape.”
“Breakthrough” couldn’t be a better word to describe TWICE, who smashed their way into the K-pop scene with their 2016 single “Cheer Up,” which shot to the top of the Gaon Chart and won them several Song of the Year awards. Their success continued into the Japanese market with “TT” and their subsequent Japanese album #Twice. Recent releases have seen them earn American chart placements, with two entries on the Billboard Hot 100 for English-language singles “The Feels” and “Moonlight Sunrise.” These Billboard placements make them one of the few K-pop acts to gain entries onto the Hot 100, alongside groups like BTS, Blackpink, the Wonder Girls, and NewJeans. Newest release Ready to Be also hit number 2 on the Billboard 200 chart with 153,000 copies sold, earning TWICE the achievement for the highest single-week sales in the U.S. by a Korean female act.
While presenting their Breakthrough Artist award, self-proclaimed ONCE Sabrina Carpenter shared that she hoped the award would bring them further exposure in the United States. However, she cheekily noted that they already seemed to be doing “pretty well.” Carpenter highlighted TWICE’s many Billboard accomplishments that got them to this point: three Top Ten albums on the Billboard 200 charts, fifteen Top Ten albums on the World Albums Chart, and over two billion U.S. song streams.
While accepting the award, TWICE thanked their fans for getting them to where they are. The nine also looked to the future, with member Tzuyu saying, “This accomplishment will forever motivate us to challenge ourselves to break more barriers.”
Not So Shy-Shy-Shy Anymore
Along with a growing list of accomplishments, TWICE are making sure to continue to grow as a group. Their latest mini album Ready To Be is their highest-selling album yet, and it’s a clear next step for them in their sonic and lyrical evolution. TWICE started their careers singing, “I’m so shy-shy-shy” in their smash hit “Cheer Up,” but now they’re the ones coyly asking, “Are you shy? / I wonder why” in their Latin-infused b-side “Wallflower,”
Other tracks on Ready To Be follow suit: the title track “Set Me Free” is an explosive (literally, if you watch the music video) song about confessing love to someone. “Got the Thrills” is an upbeat track that feels as electric as the chemistry TWICE sings about. Dive bar rock-inspired “Blame It On Me” boldly taunts the listener, “It’s not my fault you fell for me,” and the catchy “Crazy Stupid Love” describes a TWICE who are over a back-and-forth toxic relationship.
The past few years have shown TWICE experimenting with different genres, like bossa nova in “Alcohol-Free” and city pop in their Japanese release “Doughnut.” The nine also explore different themes such as toxic love-hate relationships in “Cry For Me” and seduction in “I Can’t Stop Me.” However, recent releases Between 1&2 and Ready To Be have shown less experimentation, choosing to hone in on what TWICE do best. They’re still the same bright, poppy group who sings about love, but these recent albums portray mature women talking about various experiences with love—good or bad—through sultrier beats, more forward language, and self-written lyrics.
The songs on Ready To Be are bright, bold, and anthemic. As TWICE grow as artists, they continue to write and compose songs on their albums. Ready To Be features two songs, “Blame It On Me” and “Crazy Stupid Love,” with lyrics written by lead rapper Dahyun. The six tracks on the album clearly have been written with the large audiences of their upcoming world tour in mind, but this music also is representative of the confidence and shine the nine women of TWICE have come to embody.
TWICE have a lot on the agenda in the next few months. Starting in April, they will kick off their fifth world tour with two nights at the KSPO Dome in Seoul and continue through Australia, Japan, and the United States, with more stops to be announced. Following a sold out tour last year, TWICE was the first K-pop girl group to perform in an American stadium. The “Ready To Be” tour is even larger, making TWICE the first Korean girl group to play both the SoFi Stadium in California and MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, as well as the second Korean group ever to play these stadiums after BTS. This new world tour also includes the group’s first shows in Australia, with one in Sydney and the other in Melbourne.
As TWICE move into their eighth year as a group, they’ve begun to branch out from full nine-member activities following 2021’s Formula of Love. 2021 included the release of three subunit songs “Push & Pull,” “HELLO,” and “1,3,2,” while 2022 saw their first solo member debut with Nayeon’s IM NAYEONand viral sensation “Pop!” In addition, post-tour will show TWICE’s first official subunit debut. MiSaMo, a fan-favorite subunit consisting of Japanese members Mina, Sana, and Momo, will debut on July 26, 2023. In preparation, they released the OST “Bouquet” for the Japanese drama Liaison: Kodomo no Kokoro Shinryosho.
It’s been eight years of hard work to get to where they are now, but TWICE haven’t shown any signs of slowing down in their careers. If anything, they’re picking up speed. They’ve fully come into who they are as a group. In between solo and group activities, they are proudly showing that color to the world. Like their colors at the top of the Empire State Building, TWICE will continue to shine brightly for everyone to see. In a fast-paced industry that has decidedly moved on to the next generation, TWICE have confidently proven that they aren’t going anywhere.
To keep up with their activities, give them a follow on their Instagram, Twitter, or Spotify.
Want more TWICE? Check out our coverage of Dahyun at New York Fashion Week here.