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Mar 15

SONIQUE – “It Feels So Good”

Popular40 comments • 2,676 views

#861, 3rd June 2000

sonique Sonique’s success has a distinct feelgood factor, one of pop’s lottery-winner stories. A singer and DJ who had been on the circuit for over a decade, her closest tilt at fame before this song was lead vocal on a couple of the later S’Express singles. Was it a case of a singer finally getting the right song? Hindsight says yes – except that “It Feels So Good” had been only a modest hit a couple of years before, slipping quickly out of the Top 30. There was nothing in the singer or song’s pedigree to suggest it would hold the top for three weeks in the most volatile year in UK pop history.

My problem is that it’s hard to say the British public got it more right the second time than the first, when they’d given “It Feels So Good” a sniff and largely turned away. If Sonique did win the lottery, then like many a winner it’s hard to pretend she deserved it more than a thousand others. “It Feels So Good” is the biggest song of the year so far: it’s also one of the least engaging. Not because it lacks quality, exactly: its bubbling dance-pop backing is restrained enough that the chorus feels like a release, and the use of strings makes the track feel tastefully upholstered too. But even in the radio edit, the song’s ideas and its emotional range soon run out, and it falls back again and again on that chorus. Diminishing returns set in, and the initial breakout into euphoria dissipates.

You could point to Sonique’s throaty, sultry voice as a quality – and it’s certainly a strong instrument. In fact, more than anything it’s her voice that explains the record’s appeal. It seems to me that Sonique has a kind of strength the UK public respond to very strongly when it turns up on the X-Factor or the Voice: smoky enough to sound sophisticated (her first single was a cover of “You Put A Spell On Me”) but capable of belting where needed. Throw in Sonique’s sympathetic struggles in the biz and you have the very model of a reality pop show heartwarmer – a year before the format got going. Perhaps that solves the mystery, but it certainly doesn’t make “It Feels So Good” more enticing today.

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Comments

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  1. 26
    Billy Hicks on 13 Mar 2015 #

    Best ‘Reach’ memory – a friend’s 24th (that’s 24th) birthday party in September 2011 saw the random appearance of a bouncy castle in their garden, as a sort of ironic throwback to childhood as we all trudged through our twenties.

    A series of fully grown early twenties adults, bouncing on the castle singing this chorus followed.

  2. 27
    The Clapton Pond Regeneration Project on 13 Mar 2015 #

    My friend’s dad is the only person I know who likes this. Works on the oil rigs, cattle farmer, never asked for a present in his life. Doesn’t own any records. No discernible hobbies apart from the farm, so every Christmas and birthday the family just get him something with a picture of a cow on it. Until the day he asked: “could you get me the Sonique album for Christmas?”

  3. 28
    Tom on 13 Mar 2015 #

    I’m pretty glad “Reach” didn’t make it, because I’d be hard pressed to stretch even to a 6 and slating it for being perky Fauxtown gubbins would have felt like kicking a puppy: Edward at #24 is right that it was a big pop moment for many.

  4. 29
    Edward Still on 13 Mar 2015 #

    Yeah I had definitely liked a lot of pop songs before but always with the provisio “I don’t like this sort of thing but….”.

    Reach, more than any other song allowed me to drop the asterisk which is why it retains my permanent allegiance.

  5. 30
    Tommy Mack on 13 Mar 2015 #

    I enjoyed Reach at the time. Actually I enjoyed most of S Club 7. With all the mordant dadrock/sadrock carrion clogging up the airwaves, it was hard to hate on something for being perky even if it was a bit cheap and cheerful. EDIT: Seems to be what others are saying too…

  6. 31
    23 Daves on 13 Mar 2015 #

    This is so strange. “It Feels So Good” sounds completely and utterly different to my memory of it – I remember it as being subtle but vibrant, and having much more depth to it… but when I went back to listen just now, it’s a horribly reedy, cheap sounding record. It’s rare that I pull out the criticism “This has dated badly”, because it’s a bit glib and I’m not always sure what it means by itself – but the production really, really doesn’t work for me now. It also sounds much faster than I remember it. Was there a different mix doing the rounds on the radio I might have been hearing instead?

    Anyway… I’m stunned at how much my opinion of this one has changed. It was something I was looking forward to revisiting. But it clearly does nothing for me these days.

  7. 32
    Inanimate Carbon God on 13 Mar 2015 #

    David Gray, Gabrielle, Chicane featuring Bryan Adams and if I’m being a bit harsh, now this.. I’ve been very kind in recent threads to the safe, the middle-of-the-road, Middle England kind of pop.

    That’s set to change soon. In the second half of 2000, just like the charts, my world was to be thrown into chaos and though I hadn’t quite burned all my bridges, I’d set fire to all the fences I had left to sit on. And like some of the forthcoming charts, there were to be all kinds of alarm bells ringing and wake-up calls if I was going to make it into the future. The 6-7-6-7-6 days are over… hold onto your hats!

  8. 33
    anto on 14 Mar 2015 #

    I really can’t understand all the disdain being heaped on this track. It sounds to me like an adept updating of the kind of tune Ann Peebles might have sung 30 years earlier.

  9. 34
    Chinny Reckon on 15 Mar 2015 #

    @31-

    The original mix had a straight 4/4 house beat and sounded very similar to her cover of ‘I put a spell on you’. There was also the ‘Sonique breakbeat mix’ which had, as the name suggests, a breakbeat. Both of these mixes had corresponding radio edits and airplay was split- I believe the original radio edit got the majority of play on the initial UK release with the breakbeat radio edit getting the majority when it made number one.

  10. 35
    Paulito on 17 Mar 2015 #

    …which begs the question: which version was Tom reviewing? This uncertainty has arisen before and is liable to do so again. Tom, could I ‘umbly suggest that in future such cases you post a link, for the avoidance of confusion? I’m assuming that your review is of the “official”/”A-side” mix, but I dunno which one that was.

  11. 36
    Tom on 17 Mar 2015 #

    Not a bad idea – where there’s doubt I generally do a bit of Spotify research and try and find a version where the video and radio edit seem to agree. Oddly enough with Sonique the track was exactly as I remembered so I guess I only heard one version!

  12. 37
    lockedintheattic on 17 Mar 2015 #

    I think most people only heard the breakbeat mix (the one from the rerelease that hit number one) – just had a listen to the original mix (that only went to 24) and I didn’t recognise it at all

  13. 38
    Chinny Reckon on 28 Mar 2015 #

    @36- You have to be careful in that regard though Tom, I would not be surprised if many sources incorrectly label the ‘Breakbeat mix’ as the Original mix, or incorrectly assume they are one and the same.

  14. 39
    ciaran on 24 Apr 2015 #

    Is that Limahl in the first few seconds of the video?!

    I’m amazed that this has 8 million views on Youtube given the utter blandness of it. More than anything it shows given the rapid turnover of number 1’s at the start of the millennium that anything can pass by and get to the summit.Hard to imagine it being a number 1 at any other time bar 1999 or this. Like the generic dance music cliches of the early 90s rolled into one. 4 is spot on.

  15. 40
    Steve Mannion on 24 Apr 2015 #

    You think this is BLANDance? Wait til we get to the 2010s… (apart from the quite good ones)

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