One of the most shocking – and pleasant – surprises of the 2020 MAMA awards ceremony was when girl-group TWICE did a live performance of a completely new song titled “Cry For Me”. The girls, garbed in dark elegant clothing and emitting cold expressions, transfixed audiences with their edgier and significantly darker concept. Fans, gobsmacked and excited, asked the important question to the group’s company JYP: “Where is the song?” For it is highly unconventional in K-Pop – where teasers are a massive marketing tool – to premiere a song in full that people were not aware even existed until that moment.
Now, 11 days after their iconic performance, “Cry For Me” has been officially released and it is glorious to behold.
TWICE’s music has progressively matured over the years and they have done many interesting concepts but never before have they so fully embraced the darkness. Starting off with moody strings, the song quickly descends into electronic drums, spidery guitar strums and ominous melodies. Lyrically, the song is a complete-180 from TWICE’s oeuvre, detailing the co-dependence one can develop on a toxic relationship. There is sadness, there is anger – especially when Jeongyeon sings “Bad boy, bad boy / Yeah you really make me a mad girl, mad girl” – and a desire that the person causing such emotional anguish cries for them in kind. The song becomes more urgent in the pre-chorus and chorus, increasing the tempo and adding resonant synths and plucked violin to create their most epic yet ominous track to date. Although you can absolutely dance to this track, you’ll want to do it alone while wearing the sharpest pair of stilettos you can find.
“Cry For Me” is truly a big moment of reinvention for TWICE, who keep proving their versatility with each new comeback. They are the group who once asked “What is love?” and now, years later, confront the reality that love can be manipulative and poison the mind. It is a cautionary tale against letting anyone have that sort of power over you.
According to their Twitter this single is a pre-release but what it’s preceding – whether a repackage of Eyes Wide Open or perhaps an entirely new album – is currently unknown. But in the meantime, let’s enjoy “Cry For Me” until the answers are revealed.