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. 
Music: 7/10 for title track “Feel Special” and 6.8/10 for B-sides
Vocal Quality: 7/10

An album ruined by ambitious rapping.