In a show of solidary, all eligible members of ONF are set to begin their mandatory enlistment later this month. This announcement was a shock to the system – especially coming on the heels of their strongest year yet. But, I guess the move makes sense. The members haven’t pursued many solo works and enlisting together ensures a speedier return. It’ll be a rough year-and-a-half without new music, but the guys are jolting us with one more megawatt comeback before we move into 2022.
Given the same situation, other groups may opt for a treacly fan-service ballad, but ONF and their producers are having none of that. As usual, Goosebumps comes courtesy of the Monotree team, with chief architect Hwang Hyun arranging the track. His touch is felt in every curve of this dynamic electro stomper. The instrumental is crisp and exciting, pulling elements from ONF’s various 2021 releases and fusing them to brilliant effect. The track is anchored by a rugged synth loop, but this backbone is pulled and twisted as needed. It’s strong and confident, even when it slows to accommodate a subdued pre-chorus.
Structurally, Goosebumps is more daring than expected. It’s a multiple chorus affair, with “chorus one” relying on a simple, chanted repetition of the title. From here, the song unveils a stronger hook. I much prefer this melodic “chorus two,” which teases the edges of the groove to bring the funk. From here, Goosebumps climbs into an ever-ascending volley of group chants, climaxing with a throwdown of aggressive vocals. It’s an odd turn, and I’m still not sure if the approach totally works. But, the entire thing is delivered with so much unbridled energy that it’s almost critic-proof. What a way for ONF to send-off a fantastic year!