[mini-album review] F.T. Island’s Beautiful Journey

This review was supposed posted earlier, as a collaboration between my younger sister Ela and me (because she knows F.T. Island a lot better than I do, or at the very least she’s a little more familiar with their discography) but she got a little lazy and thus I am forever alone. It was supposed to be posted last week too, but apparently I can only write when I’m procrastinating for something important (in this case, my History paper huhuhu) so here we go.

After releasing a couple of singles in Japan, the boys of Five Treasure Island are back on home turf with their new ep Beautiful Journey a good year after their last full-length album. The comeback song Love Love Love (everybody clap, clap, clap /bricked) composed by Lee Do Hoon and Lee Sang Ho marks a return to F.T. Island’s earlier, more melancholy and dramatic style.

1. Love Love Love – This song is very reminiscent of F.T. Island’s earlier work. Their style wasn’t really my cup of tea back then, but I think I’ve started to appreciate them a little bit more now. What I like about the song is the build-up: it starts out really slow, sort of quietly melancholic, and it gets stronger as the meaning gets stronger as well. I don’t really like the sort of speak-singing that Seunghyun does for the verses, but it works with the song reasonably well.

2. Calluses Being Stuck – Beyootiful. It’s probably my least favorite but it’s still a really good ballad and the guitar solo fits in really well.

3. Baby Love – A lot more cheerful than their first two tracks but I’m still sensing some continuity even if the mood is different.  They did have more upbeat, cute stuff in their previous album so I’m not surprised that they pulled this off well. Again, not a favorite probably because Hongki’s voice sounds a little…nasal? Unpleasant? I don’t know.

4. Crazily Looking at You – Again, beyoootiful. This is my favorite ballad off the EP. Wonderful work by Jaejin here on the supporting vocals. I mean, it’s just a tiny vocal contribution but sometimes the value of a song comes in the attention to little details like that.

5. Don Quixote’s Song – This song is by Jonghun, FTI’s lead guitarist and my favorite member (because he is the most good-looking. Yeah, I’m shallow), which may or may not have contributed to its status as my favorite off the album. I don’t know, it just sounds so fun! I wish that they chose this song to promote instead of Love Love Love because doesn’t only sound fun to listen to but fun to perform as well.

General Comments: FTI’s strength really lies in Hongki’s ability to put emotional depth and intensity into all of the songs that he has to perform. I think compared to your regular, run-of-the-mill idols, idol bands like FTI and to a certain extent CN Blue (as well as balladeers) have a harder job to do: because they don’t have the luxury of having choreography to distract from a possible lack of emotional attachment to the song, they have to do a fair bit of acting as well. They have to be into the song or else it falls flat performance-wise, and Hongki is always into the song.

I don’t normally care to look for the lyrics when I listen to songs in a language I can’t understand but it’s that ability of Hongki’s that leaves me wanting to do more than just to take the song at face value. My one comment is that I wish they would have used Jaejin more. I think he’s really shaping up to be a decent vocalist, and his unique tone meshes very well with Hongki’s singing.

I think I’d give this album a 4, maybe a 4.5/5


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