While my face is exponentially generating more wrinkles, Korean entertainment companies are sprouting out new artists—pacifiers included, satisfaction guaranteed. Fml.
At first, I was excited that F.T Island had finally Grown Up, but then again…the fact that I’m also all Grown Up doesn’t change my pedo status. Anyhow, as I dwell in self-pity, these Five Treasure Islands have finally migrated back to dear homeland with a new mini album! (It breaks my heart to send HongKi’s sex voice off to Japan.)
F.T Island stays true to the title of their new mini-album, Grown Up. Their title song “Severly” is a mid-tempo song that sets itself apart from “Hello Hello” in their previous mini album, Return. “Hello Hello” is a weird explosion of staccato beats bouncing like HongKi’s permtastic fantastic elastic hair…
– but “Severly” is a more laidback sentimental song. These guys pretty much nailed it with this title track. It accentuates their development as a talented musical group and the notion of coming to a full circle. For the past years, they’ve released upbeat songs like “Hello Hello”, “Love Love Love”, and “I Hope”. These songs are great cause they are undeniably catchy. I appreciate the effort to venture off into other styles.
But do you still remember from way way wayyyyy back those quality songs like “Bad Woman”, “Missing You”, and “Heaven”? I miss hearing this long absent side of F.T Island. A talented group like them should never fall pray to catchy, lack-of-substance songs. And here we have “Severly” served on a silver platter.
So simple yet so full of soul. No crazy synthesizer. No heavy bass beats. None of that I-am-gonna-get-inside-your-head. Only the piano’s soft accompaniment to the acoustic guitar’s chords and some solid drum beats. I cannot stress how stunning it the cue to the chorus—no instrumental; you get it raw—with HongKi’s deep voice and backing vocals. The chorus can’t get any better. Add in electric guitar and full on backing vocals, and you have yourself an unforgettable melody. It gets even better (yes, it’s possible) when you have pure HongKi and piano in the downplayed chorus near the end. Obviously, after a drumroll and one heavy drum strike (I’m still pissed that the MV took out this part), the chorus in its whole package wraps up this gripping song.
2. “Even Lost Friends”
The key is definitely on the low side, emanating a sorrow ambience of the song. It’s nothing memorable, nonetheless very soothing to the ears and it does play up with the instrumental. You have only mostly the guitar melody in first verse; but with addition of bass plucking, drums and piano in the second verse. Instrumental-wise, it’s a lovely piece.
3. “The Ugliest Person”
You know why the second song isn’t memorable? Cause I forget about its melody after listening to this track—what a heavenly instrumental intro!!! Smart choice to stick this track in the middle cause it portrays a livelier tune in comparison to previous tracks. I will forever be biased towards instrumentals with strings/orchestra throughout the track.
4. “Grown Man”
It’s a new change to hear a softer voice to start off the piece. Obviously when HongKi comes in, his manly husky voice takes the spotlight again. This track is similar to the other ones, so somewhat disappointed.
5. “We Hope to Become Lovers”
This is such a cute duet with mainly Jaejin and HongKi (you can only hear the rest of the band singing if you strain your ears). Light and easygoing. Just brings a smile to your face, you know? Makes you wish that you could sing as beautifully and know how to play a guitar. I admit that I was moving to and fro with the music and snapping my finger along. It’s too enjoyable of a piece to sit still.
The title song is nothing short of spectacular but the mini-album as a whole is lacking. 3/5 songs are a bit on the generic side—that is not too say they aren’t good, in fact they are brilliant. Each track by itself is brilliant (need I stress more?) but when you throw them together, the entire album becomes boring.
An example to illustrate my point:
There are pretty girl A, pretty girl B, pretty girl C, and continue the alphabets as you wish. Here’s the catch, you put pretty girl A-Z together, they are all so damn pretty, not one of them stand out. You catch my drift?
So to play up the album, they should’ve thrown in gripping songs along the line of “Missing You” to give it a little kick/punch. With that being said, “Severly” is still forever-abusing-repeat-button material and I’m thrilled that these guys are back to doing what they do best—performing tragic love songs. So HongKi, your fierce hairwhip has saved you from a 3 stars rating.