Released: 8th June 1998
Writers: Richard ‘Biff’ Stannard / Julian Gallagher / Five
Peak position: #3
Chart run: 3-5-8-14-13-20-18-18-23-27-33-47-68
Five’s third single – Got The Feelin’ – consolidated their growing popularity in the UK and became one of the group’s biggest-selling hits just as they were on the cusp of conquering the American charts.
Got The Feelin’ marks a pivotal moment in Five’s career as the group prepared to release their debut album, 5ive. After a launch which lauded them as a boyband counterpart to the Spice Girls (though that comparison arose primarily from both being put together by Bob and Chris Herbert), Five scored two top-ten singles in the UK with Slam Dunk (Da Funk) and When The Lights Go Out. The group’s profile left little reason to doubt Got The Feelin’ would be another hit for the group, but it – and 5ive – would give a clearer indication of their longer-term potential. However, the album’s ambition was also much broader; executive produced by Denniz PoP and featuring contributions from Cheiron (Max Martin, Kristian Lundin), Five had one eye on the success of Backstreet Boys in America. Indeed, When The Lights Go Out would soon gain traction on the Billboard Hot 100…
In the meantime, however, Got The Feelin’ introduced arguably the group’s biggest strength: an ability to switch up their sound and dabble credibly with other genres. The track is a pure summer jam with a hazily familiar: “Na na na na na nah, na na na na na na-a-ah, na na na na na nah…” refrain and head-nodding beat that has all the casual swagger of the early ‘90 R&B about it. Got The Feelin’ also allows J and Abs to showcase their rapping as more than a gimmick. The predictable rhyming of the verses (“Now everybody’s moving, everybody’s grooving, getting down with Five when we come your way, move it to the left now, you shake it to the right because you know we gotta keep this party pumping through the night, check me out now”) exudes an effortless sense of cool due to the confident machismo with which it’s delivered by J.
The pre-chorus, meanwhile, has a slightly more playful urgency from Abs: “A-yo! Seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, I’m on the microphone, got you hot like the sun, so a one, two, three, now I’m waiting on the four, kick down the door and turn it up a little more”, adding a degree of dynamism albeit with smooth: “Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh” backing vocals to maintain the kicked back tone of Got The Feelin’. And that principle underpins the chorus itself, which flows with singalong ease: “If you got the feelin’, jump up to the ceiling, ah we’re getting down tonight; one if you gonna, two if you wanna, three ‘cos everything’s alright. If you got the feelin’, less of the dreaming, ah, we’re getting down tonight; it’s just round the corner, tell me if you wanna, Five will make you feel alright”. Though the hooks may not be so loud and brash this time, they’re no less catchy; the free-flowing melody exudes warmth and is an undemanding – gratifying – earworm from start to finish.
So assuredly executed is Got The Feelin’ that few elements are added after the second verse. The refrain and chorus are repeated atop a strummy guitar riff while the beat drops to a handclap, then layered together – along with some: “Woo!” ab-libs – for the final 40 seconds. Yet, the track never feels lacking in substance; Got The Feelin’ works so well because of its willingness to bask in the halcyon glow of the mood and atmosphere created. In hindsight, the less-is-more approach taken here feels apt for this juncture of Five’s career, where everything was about to fall into place. As their rebellious, larger-than-life reputation grew, so did the music; subsequent singles understandably shifted away from material like Got The Feelin’, and part of its enduring charm is as a distinctive throwback to the point just before that happened.
The accompanying music video – filmed in LA – is, in essence, a late-’90s snapshot of the summery tropes exuded by Got The Feelin’. It starts with Five’s logo (and a text introduction to the song) and them cruising down the streets in an open-top car driven by J. Though the vehicle doesn’t go to the extreme of bouncing on hydraulics, it’s barely noticeable given the group compensate by enthusiastically waving their arms around and sliding from side to side. They arrive at – where else – a pool party (styling out a minor continuity error where J’s top changes from blue to grey as it got lost between filming locations) and excitedly, if somewhat over-exaggeratedly, ogle women in swimsuits before performing an energetically choreographed routine and jumping – fully clothed, of course – into the pool.
Got The Feelin’s sun-drenched visuals complement the song perfectly and also show how Five were aiming to put a bit of a spin on the archetypal boyband formula. There’s a ‘lads’ energy in how they come across, even in the dancing, and while wearing white t-shirts in a swimming pool is titillating, the video avoids any gratuitous semi-nudity that would usually accompany a concept like this. If anything, the group are wearing far too many clothes given the setting; it’s a clear example of how they accepted there was a demographic towards which they would be marketed by virtue of being a boyband, yet also sought to broaden their appeal beyond that.
Got The Feelin’ continued what soon felt like an inevitable ascent towards the top of the charts for Five. It became the group’s first top-three single, peaking at #3, and – timed to coincide with the start of the summer – lingered in the top 20 for eight weeks. The track eventually sold 375,000 copies to become the 34th biggest hit of 1998; somewhat surprisingly, those sales are enough to make Got The Feelin’ Five’s second highest-selling single behind Keep On Movin’ (421,700 copies). It’s not that the song is undeserving of the success it enjoyed; if anything, though, it probably highlights that many of the group’s better-known singles probably should have been bigger — in sales terms, at least — than they actually were.
There couldn’t have been a better time for Five to land their biggest hit at that point; Got The Feelin’ was followed a few weeks later by 5ive, which entered the chart at #1. Sales may have been reasonably modest (29,700 copies), but it nonetheless represented a significant achievement. For all that pop acts routinely topped the singles charts during the late-’90s, comparatively few translated that to do the same with an album, and even less with their debut. It’s one of the moments – along with the success of Got The Feelin’ and When The Lights Go Out peaking at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 shortly thereafter – that firmly established Five as more than ‘just another boyband’.
The group’s ensuing schedule, juggling album campaigns (with different singles) in the UK and America, pulled them into a promotional whirlwind that, in some respects, helped further define a raucous, chaotic identity that trademarked the following three years.