take-a-fourth: Baby Love, 돈키호테의 노래 (Don Quixote’s Song)
01. 사랑 사랑 사랑 (Love Love Love) 02. 굳은 살이 박혀버려.. (Calluses Being Stuck..) 03. Baby Love 04. 미친 듯이 너 하나만 (Being Crazy Looking Only At You) 05. 돈키호테의 노래 (Don Quixote’s Song)
It’s been over a year since their last Korean album (stints in Japan as is quite a common case nowadays), but at last, here they are!.
사랑 사랑 사랑 (Love Love Love) is one theatrical track, and I give props to HongKi and the quality of his voice that’s really central in F.T Island pulling off the song. I’m unsure of whether the marching feature that underlies the song is going to put some people off, but I think it’s creative and artsy. But there’s always Seunghyun’s rapping, which is one of the highlights of the song. It’s an interesting choice for the title track, but really, F.T Island can do whatever they want, which is to say, I don’t want them to be constrained by what’s going to sell in kpop these days.
Now for the other tracks. 굳은 살이 박혀버려.. (Calluses Being Stuck..) and 미친 듯이 너 하나만 (Being Crazy Looking Only At You) are the two slower songs in the mini-album, and also happen to be the ones that evoke ambivalence for me. I’ve decided I want to like them both, but there’ll always be these elements that are noticeably off about them. I get the musicality of the subdued singing in the verses of 굳은 살이 박혀버려.. (Calluses Being Stuck..), but Hongki is just indiscernible there. Otherwise it’s a good mid-tempo rock song, one where Hongki is actually good about controlling his voice; and I like that transition from the bridge to the last chorus. 미친 듯이 너 하나만 (Being Crazy Looking Only At You) is again good and bad. Here I just found the vocals during the chorus too much, ruining a song of great composition (that’s great guitar playing in the end and I love the piano minor chords playing throughout the song) and that is actually quite catchy.
The other two songs are good. Baby Love has great acoustic guitar and piano accompaniment and a fast catchy chorus (the song’s groupable with C.N Blue’s Sweet Holiday in how much I like it as well as in having that sweet sound). 돈키호테의 노래 (Don Quixote’s Song), another fast song, has an Avril Lavign or Green Day feel to it (at least in the beginning), and here HongKi is amazing in the chorus.
HongKi’s been criticized for the over-indulgence in his voice on more than one occasion, and for the most part, he’s been good in this album. But I’ll repeat it just the same, it semi-ruined 미친 듯이 너 하나만 (Being Crazy Looking Only At You) for me. If he could have just cut-off one second of singing those long notes (I know they’re supposed to be long! but just not too much), the song would have been perfect. As for the album as a whole, my first impressions are that it isn’t going to be one of their more pivotal albums sound-reinvention-wise (except for maybe the title track) or in terms of chart-topping (though I really have no idea how the greater Korean masses would react to the artsy sound of the title track). But I like the album: it’s sophisticated, it’s a great and varied mix of songs, and you can just tell that they are true musicians and artists–definitely worth your listen.