Album review: “Formula of Love: O+T = <3” delivers formula for K-Pop fans


Jalen Williams, Radical Reviwer

On Nov. 10, the South Korean girl group, TWICE, released their third full-length album, “Formula of Love: O+T=<3”, which focuses on the different aspects of love and how one might approach it. While the theme of the album might be cliche’ and some of the songs don’t progress the album much, the harmonizing of the girls’ voices, the catchy choruses and variety of genres make this album a good addition for K-Pop fans.

The members of the group, Momo, Mina, Tzuyu, Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Sana, Dahyun, Chaeyoung and Jihyo, were brought together after being on a reality show called “Sixteen,” which was based around girls securing their spots in this group. They were tested in various ways such as their dancing, singing, personality and performance abilities. The producers who chose the girls seem to have gotten the formula right as the group later went on to become sensations throughout South Korea, the United States and other regions as well.

TWICE’s “Formula of Love” consists of 15 tracks with a bonus remix of their leading song on the album, “SCIENTIST.” “SCIENTIST” sets the focal theme for the album, being that love shouldn’t be complicated and should be led by what your heart wants. However, “SCIENTIST (R3HAB Remix)” doesn’t add much more than a more EDM sound by adding a bass drop to the song, making the extra version pretty unnecessary.

The best three-track run on the album includes “MOONLIGHT,” “ICON” and “CRUEL,” with “MOONLIGHT” and “ICON” being two of the only three English tracks in the album. “MOONLIGHT” is a romantic, dream pop song about staring into one’s partner’s eyes and wanting nothing else more than them, with some of the best harmonization and synchronous singing I’ve heard. “ICON” is the funkiest, aggressive track of the three. It is about their rise to stardom and not going anywhere or falling off from where they are in the industry. “CRUEL,” which is my favorite second to only “MOONLIGHT,” is a groovy, dance track and is a direct flip of night-themed track preceding it, yet it still has a meaningful message.

Beyond those tracks, the album begins to lose its appeal. “REAL YOU” is a weaker track contains a chorus that is not that interesting eevn though it is catchy and “F.I.L.A (Fall In Love Again)” seems like a continuation of “REAL YOU” with different lyrics. Nayeon and Jihyo on the chorus going back and forth with each other does help “F.I.L.A (Fall In Love Again)” sound good, but it also gets repetitive.

“LAST WALTZ” & “ESPRESSO” are two of the darker tracks on the album which helps keep the album fresh with a variety of genres and moods. “REWIND” & “CACTUS” continue to mix things up since “REWIND” is super laid back and reminds me of Lo-Fi music I would listen to to calm down or just ease my mind when thinking. “CACTUS” fits as more of a country-pop track that’s laid back about the insecurity of being alone. “1, 3, 2” sounded more like a dance hall and “PUSH & PULL” sounds more electro/EDM based.

“HELLO” is the least attractive track. The sound of the track is just not pleasing to the ears as their voices contrast too much from the bass of the track. The last chorus of the song with the bridge with all three members singing in unison is the highlight of the track with Nayeon being the standout singer. Even though “HELLO” isn’t the best, it’s great to see the versatility and it helps groups evolve as a whole to be their person and standouts.

The last track “The Feels”, which is the lead single and most popular one from the album to date, is great but feels as if it’s missing something or an outside voice that varies from what the group has together. It’s one of the weakest on the album next to “CANDY”, which is the last English song on the album. It is more of a seductive-pop song that doesn’t keep up with the core theme of the album.

TWICE’s “Formula of Love: O+T=<3” album is going on to sell around 58,000 units in the U.S. earning the group a number 2 debut spot on Billboard’s Weekly 200 Chart, which is a huge accomplishment for an international group. This album feels like a 7/10 with lots of replayability.