Song Review: fromis_9 – Feel Good (Special Code)

A long hiatus can be devastating for a group, but can also spur a musical transformation that allows them to reach new heights. Last time we heard from fromis_9 was all the way back in June 2019, when they released the unrelentingly hyper Fun. I know that song has its fervent supporters (some of which I witnessing during the group’s 2019 KCON performance), but I’ve always found it quite irritating. I’m much more partial to the “sophisticated” side of fromis_9’s discography. Many of their b-sides have been quite good, and new single Feel Good draws from a similar energy.

There’s no denying that “retro” is popular right now in K-pop, and Feel Good draws from many sounds of the past. It’s not a full-on pastiche, but its groovy, synth-laced instrumental hits a disco-charged sweet spot. The girls’ performance feels more subdued than usual, hinging on airy vocals rather than the more effusive aegyo that drove so many of their previous title tracks. This evolution makes sense, as the group has now entered their third year. Fromis_9 are still fun — maybe even with a big exclamation point attached! — but in a more subtle way.

Maybe it’s the title, but the first thing that Feel Good reminded me of is Twice’s Feel Special. The two songs share an uplifting energy, achieved by similar methods. In Feel Good’s case, the instrumental is heavily indebted to rhythm guitar, which gives the track a sprightly spirit. The melodies are tight and effective all the way through, though the track is at its best when it cruises into its ebullient post-chorus chant. The actual chorus is not quite as exciting, but the entire track is so tautly constructed that it hardly matters. It bounces along with an amiable charm, and that’s more than enough to keep the groove going.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8


16 thoughts on “Song Review: fromis_9 – Feel Good (Special Code)

  1. This is twice now – following ‘Love Bomb’ – that Fromis has deployed some pretty killer harmonies in the chorus. It’s not something I’d really expect from the group, but… it works! Not that their instrumentals sound particularly cheap (the opposite, actually), but the layering makes everything sound a little richer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am one of those on the Fun! Bandwagon. (oddly enough, giving my usually stance about aegyo on helium)

    There is not much that is original in this song, but it is a lot of uncomplicated fun. Entertaining.

    I have a soft spot for these kind of releases. The thing about these smaller groups is that it is easier to enjoy their simple uncomplicated fun songs, because when you first click the play button, there are no expectations of anything really but listening to a song.

    Very good…. Great?

    As with most of pop music, if this was released by a bigger group, like Twice, it would be instant much bigger hit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For me it began with promise then the vocals took me to a nose dive by the time the very kpop rap second verse kicks in I strait up closed it.


  4. I don’t really know what I was expecting from them but it wasn’t this-and I mean that in a good way. I really like that they managed to take a more mature route as a group without going dark or girl crush (sometimes girl crush concepts can be just as juvenile as aegyo concepts and seems like a way to force a grown up sound without actually having to try to make them sound mature). The song is more subdued than some of their previous releases like Love Bomb or Fun!(both of which I adore) and I think it really fits the group and their vocals.
    My only criticism is that it doesn’t really hold my attention for very long. It gives me summer beach drive vibes which is good and all but it’s more a background song than one that commands a lot of attention and demands me to listen to it.
    8.75 for me but if I listen to it more it’ll probably drop to an 8.25

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Collapsedome did the arrangement of Feel Special even though JYP has the written/produced by credit – so no surprise these are similar.
    I believe this is Justin Reinstein’s (co-writer/producer) first title track so that’s very cool.

    I love the driving guitar on this! Wish the chorus was a little more spectacular but it’s really fun and enjoyable nonetheless.


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