After adhering to the one release a year schedule for the first four years of their career, ONF blitzed fans with a total of 3 incredible projects throughout 2021. Both ‘Beautiful, Beautiful’ and its repackage ‘City of ONF’ alongside August’s ‘Popping’ were all very strong records, each melding the groups youthfulness and funk laced electro pop sound with new, unique elements and soundscapes to push the groups already potent sound into exhilarating directions. Beautiful Beautful, Ugly Dance and Popping all remain some of the years strongest most assured singles and with the incredible Goosebumps, the boys have put a cap on the first half of their career in stunning fashion.
Right from its dark, brooding, bass driven verse, Goosebumps is as musically true to its name as any song called Goosebumps can possibly be. I adore how weighty the entire package feels right from minute 1, commanding the listeners attention whilst still maintaining a melody that feels brisk and light on its feet. This kind of pulsing electro funk sound that the boys have heavily leaned into this year and as such, their output has become something of a phenomenon within K-blog circles. Such a cohesive sound can only really be achieved when you have a great partnership between group and producer, something the ONF-Hwang Hyun combination has absolutely nailed. I love how the track feels like a callback to the 2013 SHINee sound but still retains the aloof sound that ONF have become known for.
But Goosebumps primary talking point is its multiple different choruses. This is a first not just in the groups excellent discography but a first I’ve heard in recent K-pop (edit: Bim Bam Bum also did it). And while the initial chorus switch might prove a little confusing, both books are incredibly potent. I’m more partial to the slinky, more sultry second hook though the first chorus’ punchy nature is equally as addicting. But personally, the track comes into its own during its explosive bridge, which harshly transitions from an ascending vocal section into a brilliant collage of chants and vocals which just excuse so much character. This is a MOMENT, and one that solidifies the track as an instant classic. Much like most of the groups work this year.
ONF could have easily gone out with a fan ballad or service song but true to form, they went out with an absolute bang and a song that easily stands toe to toe with the strongest in their discography. It’s sad knowing we won’t be hearing from them in for the next two years but after what they gave us in 2021, I’m more than satiated. See you on the flip side boys.
Final Rating: 9.25/ 10