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ALBUM REVIEW: TWICE confidently embraces their maturity with ‘Formula Of Love: O+T=<3’

By Hannah Mallorca Published Nov 23, 2021 7:44 pm

Formula of Love: O+T=<3 came at the perfect time of TWICE’s career. The girl group recently marked their sixth year in the industry—and their third full-length album proved they’re still going strong. 

TWICE has been flirting with the concept of love throughout its career. From the heart-fluttering courtship stage in Cheer Up, the confused inner monologues in What is Love, to the heartbroken, damaged woman in Cry For Me. Formula of Love: O+T=<3 feels like a culmination of the concept of love and more. 

I remember falling completely for TWICE during TT where they talked about being torn by their love for someone. Fast forward to the present, it’s heartwarming to witness Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, and Tzuyu maturing into a more confident version of themselves—this album is proof.

So, does love have the right formula? 

Formula of Love: O+T=<3 is the third full-length album of TWICE (following 2020’s Eyes Wide Open). This year has been jampacked for the group where they’ve released new music in South Korea, Japan, and the United States. 

The album includes 17 tracks in total, with songs from three sub-units, where they’re able to show off their charismatic side in different ways. 

TWICE’s idea of love is best explained on the album’s opening track Scientist with its catchy chorus lines “Love ain’t a science, don’t need no license / The more you sit there thinking, it’s a minus.” It’s a more subdued listen compared to their previous title tracks, yet it shows off their range as artists.

Next is Moonlight which talks about dancing and kissing a lover when the mood is “right.” This track feels like you’re being hypnotized into its funky instrumental and 80’s-inspired glory—which makes Icon’s presence just as powerful. I mean, Momo’s “Damn, I got it. / I’m iconic” is the cherry on top of an already perfect sundae. Both English-language tracks contain TWICE’s signature flavor but this time, it’s more mature.

TWICE flirts with their inner dangerous woman with the fourth track Cruel. With lyrics penned by Dahyun, it talks about turning the tables on someone while still maintaining innocence. It’s a more mature take on a previous song Scandal, included in their Taste Of Love mini-album—coincidentally, written by the same member. 

The girl group channeled their inner Spice Girls with Real You as the ‘90s-inspired track talks about seeing through a “fake” and “pretentious” guy. While Jihyo’s penned lyrics seemed nice to outsiders, it’s actually a demand to be real.

F.I.L.A (Fall In Love Again) is perhaps my favorite track from the album which reminds me of the Disco era in the ‘70s. This track is a triple whammy of TWICE’s lyricist prowess since it talks about the frustrating feeling of push and pull romances, masked by its hypnotic melody. 

The seventh track Last Waltz is a subdued callback to their 2020 title track I Can’t Stop Me, without losing its seductive, sensual, and tempting charm. This time, you can sense TWICE embracing the femme fatale territory as it talks about taking a lover “to the end of ecstasy.” Thankfully, the Hip Hop-inspired Espresso feels like the perfect shot of caffeine to wake listeners up. 

Rewind enters the album’s slow territory as it feels like entering into someone’s heartbroken thoughts which feel hauntingly familiar and painful. On the other hand, listening to Cactus is a more straightforward glimpse into pain and despair, which is a job well done for composer and lyricist Jihyo. Meanwhile, Candy feels like signature sugary sweet TWICE but this time, as more mature and confident women. 

TWICE’s first sub-units

The album also features TWICE being divided into three different sub-units—which is something they should be doing in their future full-length releases from now on. 

Push & Pull featuring Sana, Jihyo, and Dahyun is feminine and girly as it talks about winning the chase of love. The groovy track is sensual, as it shows off their abilities to have fans wrapped up in their fingers. 

Momo, Chaeyoung, and Nayeon’s Hello is the most surprising track of the album since it’s more Hip Hop-focused. Even so, it totally works to their advantage since the three of them are known as the group’s concept chameleons.

Meanwhile, the experimental 1,3,2 featuring Mina, Tzuyu, and Jeongyeon show off their vocal abilities at their best. If there’s a song that will shut down anyone who doubts if TWICE can sing, this is the one. 

All in all, Formula of Love: O+T=<3 is a satisfying album from start to finish. It's a culmination of the girl group's concept that while there's no right formula to love, it doesn't hurt to lose yourself into the pain and bliss of its journey.

It’s a masterful testament to TWICE’s growth as they take fans on a rollercoaster ride of feels—while we sit back and savor the ride. 

Listen to Formula of Love: O+T=<3 below: