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TWICE’s Nayeon breaks free from bubbly pop era to embrace unapologetic and bold evolution in ‘NA’ – Album Review

en Bollywood News TWICE’s Nayeon breaks free from bubbly pop era to embrace unapologetic and bold evolution in ‘NA’ – Album Review

She dropped her sophomore album on June 14, 2024. This was her second EP after 2022’S ‘IM Nayeon’.

Singer-songwriter Nayeon, the vocalist known for her vibrant energy and pop persona in TWICE, is carving her own path. In 2022, she stepped out with her debut solo EP, IM Nayeon, showcasing her artistic individuality beyond the group. This wasn't just a sweet-voiced singer; she was a songwriter with a distinct style. Now, Nayeon returns with NA, her sophomore EP released on June 14, 2024. This isn't just another dance-pop record. It's a conscious effort to redefine how fans perceive her. She wants to move beyond the "pretty face" stereotype and showcase a more mature side of her artistry.

TWICE’s Nayeon breaks free from bubbly pop era to embrace unapologetic and bold evolution in ‘NA’ – Album Review

TWICE’s Nayeon breaks free from bubbly pop era to embrace unapologetic and bold evolution in ‘NA’ – Album Review

NA promises a deeper exploration of Nayeon's musical talents across seven tracks. It's a chance to see her evolve as a solo artist, pushing past the boundaries set by her K-pop beginnings. This EP signifies a new chapter in her musical journey, one that embraces artistic growth and challenges perceptions.

1. ABCD
Nayeon said that she is bringing a mature and enhanced image with her new EP and she proved it. ‘ABCD’ brings a mix of early 2000s music with recent musical ideologies as Nayeon sings an anthem-like premonition of the events to come. The song is edgy, sultry and powerful and it stands starkly in contrast to the sweet image that Nayeon presented in her solo debut EP Im Nayeon. In the music video, we see Nayeon bring a retro and modern touch to the visuals. She is seen dancing around open streets and libraries as she croons to the funky pop tunes of ‘ABCD.’

Watch the music video for Nayeon’s latest comeback ‘ABCD’ here:

2. BUTTERFLIES
Butterflies’ is all about the butterflies one gets when they develop romantic feelings for someone. Nayeon ponders about these butterflies as she sings the track entirely in English. The song is different from what Nayeon is known for. There are hip-hop elements in the song and sudden segues too which take some time to grow on the listeners. The song also uses external sound samples like a shutter click to create an immersive listening experience. One would expect a ballad, a dance-pop or perhaps a bubble gum pop song when one thinks of ‘Nayeon’ and ‘Butterflies’ but Nayeon brings a good sonic surprise with this track.

3. HEAVEN (ft SAM KIM)
Nayeon resorts to a smooth R&B rendition with ‘Heaven’. She again sings the song entirely in English, further cementing her identity as a talented multi-lingual singer. She resorts to singing more softly and not stressing a lot about delivering high notes as she delivers a soft rendition. Sam Kim, whom we have loved for delivering beautiful EPs and Korean drama OSTs, makes a wonderful appearance in ‘Heaven.’ His rap verse and appearance in the chorus give a good edge to the song. This duet track feels right out of a K-drama OST!

4. MAGIC (ft JULIE of KISS OF LIFE)
Magic’ is more upbeat and fast-paced than ‘Heaven.’ The flute section throughout the song gives a mystical charm to the song. In this track, Nayeon sings about her charms as a sassy and classy girl who demands attention every time she walks into a room. Julie of Kiss of Life brings in her charm with rap verses. It does not feel like two different people are singing here because their voices complement each other so well. Nayeon throws in popular magical phrases in ‘Magic’.

5. HALLIGALLI (Prod. by LEE CHANHYUK of AKMU)
HalliGalli’ is a funky number, quite different from its predecessors. The song packs an energetic vibe from start to finish. Halligalli is a popular board game. It is quite smart of Nayeon to use the game as a metaphor in this song. She compares the hesitations in love to the nervousness while playing the game. Lee Chanhyuk’s production shines bright in this track. The individuality of these two artists is ever so present without overpowering the other.

TWICE’s Nayeon breaks free from bubbly pop era to embrace unapologetic and bold evolution in ‘NA’ – Album Review

6. SOMETHING
Something’ continues the energy that we see in ‘HalliGalli’ but presents a new facet to the narration so far. Here we see that Nayeon sings about the feelings and emotions that one has while dating, but there is a demand for the other person to show something new, something different. There is a sense of urgency and a need to pace things up in the lyrics and it is reflected quite well in the music too.

7. COUNT IT
After a roller coaster of confessions and romantic expressions, there is a sense of calmness and rest with ‘Count It.’ Nayeon resorts to a low register singing and displays her softer vocal skills with refined finesses. This song employs simpler yet enchanting R&B tunes which capture the listener’s attention. The music composition sets the groundwork and Nayeon’s vocals ensnare the listeners in this soft and endearing confession song.

Nayeon’s sophomore solo EP, NA, is a clear departure from her debut, IM Nayeon. While the first EP brimmed with infectious pop anthems and vibrant energy, NA showcases a more mature and multifaceted Nayeon. Sure, the core themes of self-love and romance remain, but they're laced with a deeper understanding and a sharper narrative edge. This evolution is evident not just in the songwriting but also in Nayeon's vocal delivery. She seamlessly shifts gears throughout the EP, adapting her voice to perfectly complement each track's unique composition. The impression is undeniable: these songs were crafted for her, and her alone.

Nayeon's signature strength - forging connections with other artists - shines through once again. The three featured artists on NA seamlessly blend with her vocal style and musical direction. This collaborative spirit adds another layer of intrigue to the EP. Furthermore, Nayeon effortlessly switches between English and Korean throughout the tracks, solidifying her linguistic versatility as a singer.

But what truly elevates NA is the evolution it represents. Nayeon sheds the skin of a bubbly pop princess and embraces a more nuanced artistry. Each song feels like a brushstroke, painting a richer, more complete picture of who Nayeon is as a solo artist.

What do you think of Nayeon’s second EP NA? Tell us in the comments or connect with us over our social media.

Also Read: TWICE celebrate love and self-awareness in new introspective EP With YOU-th – Album Review


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