Artist: FTISLAND (Korean: 에프티 아일랜드, Japanese: エフティー・アイランド) [It is short for Five Treasure Island]
Members: Lead Singer/Visual – Lee Hong Ki, Lead Guitarist/Band Leader/Keyboards/Vocalist – Choi Jung Hun, Bassist/Vocalist – Lee Jae Jin, Rhythm Guitarist/Rapper – Song Seung Hyun, Drummer/Vocalist – Choi Min Hwan
Albums: Korean Albums – 12 & Japanese Albums – 12 [soon to be 13, new one out on May 16th] (includes EPs and Mini Albums for both Korean & Japanese)
Years Active: 2007 – Present
Genre: Rock, Rock Ballad
Rating Out of Five: 5
For the longest time this group, FT Island, and BIGBANG (see their review here: Music Review ~ BIGBANG) were the only Korean music that I listened to but I’ve been slowly been branching out to other groups.
This bands general sound reminds me of Green Day’s earlier stuff but they also really remind me of “A Change of Pace” as well.
The lead singer’s voice, Lee Hong Ki, is a lot like Bryan Adams or Chester from Linkin Park, he has that very natural raspy, huskiness to his voice. I came across Lee Hong Ki in the Korean Drama “You’re Beautiful” and became completely hooked on his voice the minute I heard him sing for the first time. When you hear him sing, you are likely to get goosebumps, as he portrays emotions very well with his voice and it’s just WOW!! My jaw dropped in awe that first time I heard him sing, no lie.
While that is what drew me to this band to begin with, it is, clearly, not the only thing about this band that I like. They are all very talented musicians and singers. The bassist, Lee Jae Jin, does a fair bit of singing too. And singing and playing an instrument that isn’t playing the melody line isn’t the easiest thing to do either. On their newer albums the rest of the band members, even the drummer, are doing a lot more singing, which I think sounds really great. I love harmonies, it sounds so beautiful!!
Another thing that I really like about this band is that they write their own music!! It makes the songs that are sung and performed more meaningful to the listener and it shows that you’re really putting everything you got into the music you make. This is something that I REALLY admire and respect in bands, groups or solo artists. There are a lot of artists that don’t actually do this at all or very much of it, which is disappointing.
I would really like to see them play live, I think that would be a lot of fun and they have a ton of energy and charisma on stage too, especially Lee Hong Ki. He reminds me of the lead singer of Billy Talent, Benjamin Kowalewicz, when he’s singing on stage, very engaged in whatever song he is singing. Not all bands are able to really pull their audience into their performance, this band is able to do that. In the last year or so, Korean music has had the opportunity to have performances in North America so I may be able to see them live yet **smirk**
A lot of the types of songs they do are ballads and have a very mellow feeling to them. Some of their songs even have a little bit of a ska sound to them too, which I really enjoy as well. Fun bass lines make me so very, very happy!
My favourite songs (if I must choose) are Sarang, Sarang, Sarang, Hit the Sands (Eng. Version of NEVERLAND), Severely, Sunshine Girl & Hello Hello. I can put those on repeat all day long and not get tired of them. After getting my piano this past week (squeee~~!) these were part the top ten songs that I wanted to sit down and be able to play right away. That said, I stayed up late for a few nights in a row as I was very determined lol
Picking a favourite album is a very close tie between Beautiful Journey, Return, Five Treasure Island, and NEVERLAND and it’s still really tough to choose. I like all the songs on these albums and that is actually rather rare for me. I have a lot of music and a ton of different styles but it doesn’t happen all that often that I like every single song off of an album.
The teaser for their new MV, STAY, that comes out May 16th on their second full length Japanese album ’20’. I’m looking forward to it and it comes out a few days after my birthday!!
Simply put, I think that anyone can enjoy this band. Even my mother likes them and she doesn’t know either Korean or Japanese at all, she thinks they sound wonderful! And that is really all that matters when it comes to music 😀
You can get a fair bit of their music from the iTunes store, except for the Japanese albums, I wish that wasn’t the case as they would certainly sell well I think. But I am holding out hope for that one day!!