REVIEW Album Review: TWICE - "Feel Special"

meltrosz

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K-Album: TWICE's "Feel Special"
Review written by: meltrosz




"Feel Special" is the eighth extended play (EP) by South Korean girl group TWICE. It is the second extended play released by the group this year. The album broke several personal records of the group including the highest first-day sales and the first of their releases to top the U.S. iTunes Top Album chart. It has also sold more than 154,000 copies on Hanteo and recorded more than 13 million streams on Spotify in its first week.








"Feel Special" is the eponymous title track of the album. It was composed by 'The Asiansoul' J.Y. Park himself together with "Zimzalabim" composers Ollipop and Hayley Aitken. When the credits were revealed, it was met with mixed reactions from fans due to the "poor" performance of JYP-composed TWICE songs on the charts as well as the negative feedback "Zimzalabim" received. Personally, I was looking forward to this song since the previous JYP-composed songs, "What is Love?" and "Signal", are two of my top three favorite TWICE tracks. However, it did not live up to its predecessors' quality. It's not something I'll skip when it comes up on my playlist, but it's not something I'll add there either.


The intro to the song sounded very promising. It bears a small resemblance to the intro of "Fancy" - a similarity that can also be seen in the opening choreography of both songs. The opening line was beautifully sung by Chaeyoung. It is as if she had poured out all of her energy she had bottled up due to her being deprived of lines in their previous title tracks. Ironically, this would end up being her only section in the song. The pre-chorus was the best part of the song. It was catchy and built hype for the chorus. Like many TWICE songs before it, this song's refrain was catchy and an earworm. However, it is nowhere near the quality of their previous title tracks' choruses in catchiness. What really ruined the song, though, was the rap part. It was completely unnecessary, but for some reason, there's an unspoken rule that all K-Pop songs need a rap part. The rapping style did not make it sound any better either. Pausing at every syllable made it sound very awkward and grating to the ears. Nevertheless, what makes "Feel Special" truly special are the lyrics. For the first time in their title tracks, the universe is no longer a utopia full of rainbows and unicorns. They admit that there is darkness in the world. They accept that they aren't perfect, that they can't always be happy, that they are humans as well. And all they need - what we all need - is someone to make us feel special.

Rating: 7/10





The verses of "Rainbow" are very reminiscent of the bright and cheerful B-sides of TWICE. But unlike those B-sides, this song uses a chorus more like their current style of sound. It is right in between the two styles of TWICE, and it was able to merge them well. If you like the group's cutesy B-sides, then maybe you'll like this one. However, just like "Feel Special" (and a few other tracks on the album), "Rainbow" also suffers from an unnecessary rap section. Although Chaeyoung was able to deliver it much better than Dahyun's rap in "Feel Special", the entire section was still completely unnecessary and only ruined the song. Personally, I do not like most of the cutesy B-sides of TWICE, so this was a nightmare for me. The only saving grace of this song for me is the chorus.
Rating: 4/10


"Get Loud" is undoubtedly one of the best tracks on this album and can even be the title track. The key of the song is in a comfortable range for the members' vocals so you will rarely hear them strain their voice in this song. The rhythm of the song is also very good. Most of all, unlike many of the tracks on the album, this one does not suffer from an unnecessary rap section. The group's main rappers were in charge of the song's pre-chorus which turned out very well. Chaeyoung had a little bit of rap towards the end, but it fits perfectly with the tone of the song. Unlike the two previous tracks, "Get Loud" was not hesitating whether it should be cutesy for the first half then bass-centric the next. "Get Loud" knew who she was right in the beginning until the end and never changed her identity. Unfortunately, the song doesn't have a catchy chorus. But who needs one when the whole song gets stuck in your head?
Rating: 8/10
See H+ lyrics by @Vivi here


Like "Rainbow", "Trick It" is also a mixture of TWICE's cutesy style as well as their bass-centric style. However, "Trick It" does both styles better than "Rainbow". The melody for the verses is mellow and soothing to listen to. The chorus is very catchy with a good beat. Unfortunately, "Trick It" also possesses an unpleasant rap piece. The section was even placed in the middle of the melodious verses, which ruined the whole experience right from the start. If you ignore the two rap sections, the song will be a whole lot better.
Rating: 5/10





After Momo's success in writing (the lyrics) for "Hot", one of my favorite tracks from their previous album, I started looking forward to her future works. When I saw that she would be writing (lyrics) for this album, I was excited to listen to her song "Love Foolish". I was not disappointed. Like "Get Loud", there is no hint of the cheerful TWICE in "Love Foolish". From start to finish, it stayed true to being a bass dominant track, similar to "Hot". Unfortunately, this song also had an inessential rap section. However, unlike the previous tracks, the rap section for "Love Foolish" fits the tempo a little better so it did not stick out like a sore thumb. The song was close to being as good as "Get Loud", but unlike the former, this song had some high notes where the members had to strain their voice which was distracting in my listening experience. Nevertheless, I can confidently put "Love Foolish" at the top of my favorite tracks for this album.
Rating: 7/10


When I first heard "21:29", I honestly did not like it. The distortion in the intro was very distracting. It also did not have as much of an impact as a ballad unlike "One In A Million" or "Be As One". However, when I sat down and closely listened to it again, I discovered that it was a great song. The distortion in the intro was still awful, but once the verse started, I was sold. The opening line, "this is for you", instantly gave me chills. It is not an emotional ballad like their previous fan songs, but more of a pop ballad like the OSTs used in Korean dramas. It will not make you cry from sad vocals or a slow instrumental. It will make you cry because even if you cannot understand the lyrics, you can feel the warmth and happiness in the music and the singing - as if the artists are looking back on happy memories. Furthermore, unlike some of their previous ballads, this song does not try to be ambitious with the vocals. The key fits exactly where the members are comfortable singing, making this all the more pleasant-sounding compared to their previous fan songs. Thankfully, the producers did not decide to put a rap section in this song and ruin this masterpiece.
Rating: 8/10


"Breakthrough" is undoubtedly one of their best title tracks ever. Although translated to Korean (which made it awkward for those who are used to the Japanese version), it is still definitely one of the best tracks on this album. Even when compared to the other bass dominant songs on the album like "Get Loud", "Breakthrough" is still unique and holds its edge over the other tracks. The song proves that TWICE does not need to be cutesy or half cutesy, half swag to succeed. Even if they put out a bass-centric song, as long as it's good, people will still like it. The only unfortunate thing about this song is that the original Japanese lyrics sounded much better than the translated version. Nevertheless, I look forward to the day when TWICE can make another song like this in their Korean title tracks.
Rating: 9/10





Overall, the album was full of potentially good tracks that were ruined by weird rap sections. It also felt like a so-called "gift" album like "The Year of 'Yes'" rather than a true album. It's like it was released to capitalize on Mina's situation and fans' emotions, in one way or another. What's interesting about the album is that for the first time ever, almost all of the B-sides had a TWICE member writing the lyrics for it. One of the songs even had all of the members working together to write the lyrics. However, musically, I consider "Get Loud", "Love Foolish", "21:29", and "Breakthrough" to be the only good tracks on the album. Coincidentally, except for "21:29", all the songs are the bass-centric ones. I think what's ruining TWICE's music is their hesitation to either stay in pop or convert to a bass dominate genre. They sit on the fence and try to mix both styles in one song. Although I don't think there's anything wrong with this goal, if they want to succeed in mixing two styles in one, they would have to be more experimental rather than keep playing safe like they've been doing.




__________________

Artistic Creativity: 6/10. There weren't that many variations between tracks, but all of the members wrote lyrics for most of the songs.
Music: 7/10 for title track "Feel Special" and 6.8/10 for B-sides
Vocal Quality: 7/10


6.6/10. An album ruined by ambitious rapping.
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roseychu

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Very well written, I appreciate the review! Keep writing, you're doing great!
 
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Elessar

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I agree that Rainbow and Trick It are the weakest songs on the album. Get Loud, Love Foolish and 21:29 *chef kiss* Feel Special is a great title track, although I expected more, some onces did a better work with the teasers than JYP and co with the final song. Skip Breakthoug Kr. Ver y'all, stream the superior and only accepted version, the best and the only one we recognize.

Do you really think that IGBAS is Twice's best b-side? No words... please say sike... :teehee:
 

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Pretty weird to see you complain about the Rapping in several songs, but then seeing you not having any problems with "Breakthrough" rapping, which I consider to be one of their worst rap parts in any of their songs and easily the prime example for unnecessary and uninspired rapping part on this album and/or on a song.

Because of the way it sounds and is written, it feels, even more so than in other songs, completely out of place and ruins the song. I also strongly disagree with "Breakthrough" being unique, as the melody and chord progression is quite usual and can be especially found in J-Pop. A song like "Love Foolish" in that regard is a lot more interesting musically.
 
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Vivi

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this is such a great review, and I can tell how much thought and effort you put into reviewing each end every song. I found myself agreeing with a lot of what you wrote. it's not a bad ep by any means, but it's far from being their best and i'm honestly really meh over some of the songs. get loud is so good though, easily the highlight of the album!
 
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Mina

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Well written review! I actually agree with you. Unfortunately in most songs the rap ruins it. It’s not Dahyun’s or Chaeng’s fault; it’s the producer’s. “Get Loud” and “Love Foolish” are the best songs on the album imo. Although I do think this album is good, it’s nothing compared to their previous releases.
 

ByulHarangBona

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Personally for me, I feel that the rapping in Breakthrough is the worst. It's feel uninspired and unnecessary. The song itself will do better without the rapping.
I don't mind the cute side of Twice so Rainbow while not their best track on the album isn't that bad to me. They released far worse B-side in the past [I'm Gonna Be a Star come to mind]
My personal favourite will be 21:29. The line "This is for you" hit me emotionally. I can feel Twice really meaning it for their fans. It's now one of my favourite B-Side by Twice along with like Like A Fool

Overall, I don't necessary agree with your review. I feel that it is on par with Fancy You album, but that's just my personal opinion.
 

Galaxy

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This review actually made me listen to the whole album, and I'm a person who mostly listens to boy groups and who had never checked anything Twice except for title tracks before today. There is at least one song I'm going to add to my playlist (Get Loud), so as far as I'm concerned, it's a win.

While I don't necessarily agree with everything that was said (there are things I liked in songs that were criticised in the article, and the other way round), it needs to be understood that a review is based on research but also on the opinion of its writer. It's entirely alright to disagree with it, and to answer it in the comments, as long as it's done with respect. The aim of a reviewer, at least on this forum, isn't to "trash" anything and even less without any reason. However life is not all rainbows and butterflies and everyone has their own taste and expectations. A writer isn't under the obligation to praise every single song that gets released. The team is open to debate, we use to answer readers' comments - so anyone is free to write something in reaction to an article and disagree with the points that were made. Now, if the comments section could only spark useful debate (which is the case in some of the comments) instead of hatred against the writer (which I spot a couple of times here, and it won't be tolerated), it would be very much appreciated.

Anyway, I enjoyed this review a lot and I want to thank you again for writing it.
 
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BlueNose

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thanks for reviewing ~
Feel Special is probably one of my favorite twice albums, idk where i'd rank it, but id put it higher than most of their albums. I liked every song and they all fit well together cohesively. I kinda thought the vocal mixing couldve been better tho. The instrumentals and their vocals didnt feel together as well as they shouldve to me, but it doesnt really kill my interest in the songs, and i dont know anyone else who had the same issue

Even as a stan, i dont really care for twice's raps (aside from a few), but i either mentally ignore them or grow to like them the more i listen to the song. usually i end up liking them, breakthrough's kinda their worst, but nothing we can do about it

I do think twice felt a bit on the fence of what they want to be musically since 2019 started, but i view it more as a transition stage and trying new things. like puberty ig. Even if i'm not always 100% happy, I appreciate the effort. Not all efforts will come out perfectly, but it seems like jyp intend to go forward with this new concept of twice's and if u dont succeed, you try and try again

Maybe Get Loud or Foolish Love are my favorites. but i also like rainbow and trick it. the girls all did the lyrics for 21:29 so it holds a special place in my heart over other fan ballads. Feel Special grew on me a lot
Breakthrough easily one of my fav twice titles ever. probably top3
 

carol danvers

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I'm smh at some of the comments in this thread, not every fan is going to like whatever their fave puts out and for some reason, k-pop fandoms really struggle with that concept. Anyway.

I went to listen to the album 'cause I didn't have the chance to before and I actually kind of agree with your lowest scores, the godawful rap parts in both Rainbow and Trick It ruined the songs for me, I don't know why JYP insists in having the girls rap when none have the skills to do so, I'd rather have Chaeng as a sub vocalist instead tbh. And maybe give Dahyun some singing lessons because rapping ain't it.

Overall, I feel the album as a whole deserves more than a 6.6 but I can see where you're coming from. I do like the musical direction TWICE has been taking for their latest albums tho, since the cutesy songs were getting tired and didn't fit the girls anymore imo. Get Lout and Love Foolish are definitely the standouts of this album.
 
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yooamygirls

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I actually enjoy this album quite a bit (I was eh about it at first but it's growing on me slowly), but think you made some valid points! We do have a difference of opinion on some songs but that's completely valid! Nice review melt! :shablob:
 

twiceeejihyoooo

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I disagree with you. FS is a really good and meaningful song, the rap adds to the chorus and makes the song catchier. It's a really good album, almost, if not on par with Fancy You. Trick it deserves at least a solid 7-8/10 imo. Rainbow is my least favourite track on the album, but deserves a lot more than a 4/10. It's still a good song. Personally, I really like the rap in Trick It, the Rainbow one doesn't really bother me.

Also just putting it out there, people (person tbh) in the follow-up posts who are using the original post to question Chae and Dahyun's skills, you need to gtfo. Chaeyoung is a very talented rapper (and vocalist too) imo. I prefer Chae's rap to Dahyun of course, I like Dahyun's singing voice better, that I agree with but "give Dahyun singing lessons'? This ain't it. She doesn't have the most diverse range, but her singing is fine thank you very much. And she's not even a bad rapper, she's just not as strong as Chae. Don't use this post as an excuse to spout your crap.
 
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ウィスキー23

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LOL. You really know how to stir the pot, melted. :JudgyDubu:

Back to the review, I agree that Rainbow is one of the weaker songs on the album, and is one that I skip regularly. Get Loud is definitely one of the more polished b-sides, but for me 21:29 ranks at the top, while I find Trick It to be interesting enough to rank higher than most. BT KR tends to get skipped over for BT JP version.

I'm not a big rap fan, but I don't find the raps on FS songs to be particular offensive, especially FS for its slightly different trap rap. I'm surprised you reacted to them so strongly, since you tolerate Signal so well. :yoosmile: Your dislike of the raps are not a reflection of Chaeng's / Dubu's abilities, and Twice songs have always favored light raps anyway, so it's not much of a change over their usual stuff. In fact, most of the reactions I've seen liked the raps, and wanted more. But I guess it all boils down to taste.

As for your characterization of this album as an attempt to capitalize on Mina's situation, I beg to differ. Obviously her absence has an impact on their activities, and even the girls mentioned that FS was born out of a discussion with JYP about their concerns and their dreams. As someone noted earlier, they are still in their transitional stage into Twice 2.0, so there will be experiments on where they are heading next musically. But besides being transitional, in my view FS is also a bit of pause, a taking of a stock of where they are.

FS is a song about appreciating their team members and the people around them who support them. 21:29 is a song for Onces. With Mina not around for this comeback, I'm personally quite happy that they didn't make any major or ground-shaking moves musically during her absence. (edit: I'd rather they wait for Mina to come back so that she's part of any major musical changes as OT9) In that sense, I think this album was less about musical brilliance and artistic direction, but more a simple expression of their feelings at this important juncture in their career. What the girls said during the FS Twice TV eps pretty much point to that. And as a Once, seeing the girls being more dorky and even more expressive of their love for each other and for our fandom during this comeback, that's more than enough for me.
 
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meltrosz

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Do you really think that IGBAS is Twice's best b-side? No words... please say sike... :teehee:
Hot is their best b side :yagotit:
I'm surprised you reacted to them so strongly, since you tolerate Signal so well. :yoosmile:
I guess i never really considered it a rap 🤷 it's more of an intro/outro to me. and even if it is, i still like it. just because a song starts with a rap and not a verse doesn't mean the song's bad. plus signal's verses and chorus are perfect. :wow:
In that sense, I think this album was less about musical brilliance and artistic direction, but more a simple expression of their feelings at this important juncture in their career
i know that as well. but tis a review. :sadpepe: i have to look/listen to the songs objectively. and i did give credit to the symbolism of feel special and 21:29. tbh i think it would've been awesome if all songs were about "feeling special" and this would be a concept album