Published on April 2nd, 2015 | by deejaymich2
FTISLAND: Rediscovering their rock roots
“We fought for nine years with our company for this album” – Hongki.
Primadonnas may have waited more than a year for this album, but I Will, FTISLAND‘s fifth studio album, is something that the band has been waiting nine years for. As a neutral, if you really want to find out what exactly the band is capable of, this is the album for you.
I Will, albeit being very different from FTISLAND’s previous domestic albums, will not sound unfamiliar to fans who have been following their Japanese releases as well. The band has made no secret about liking the music they make in Japan more because it’s more ‘their style’. This time, even though it is still the music the band likes to do, it is apparent that I Will means a lot more to them because it is the first album where they are involved in lyric writing and composition in every single track.
This album does not only show the passion FTISLAND has in their music, but it also showcases their talent in lyrical and music composition. Most representative of this is their title track ‘PRAY’, which portrays someone who is lost and is trying to find their way back.
Coupled with a simple but intense music video, ‘PRAY’ is probably FTISLAND’s most meaningful song to date. In the video, the members are trapped in a transparent box, which signifies them being bound within a space, and being scrutinized and ridiculed by others from the outside, referring to always being the in the public eye and criticisms like not being a ‘real’ rock band, and being doubted on their abilities to play their instruments live, a problem the young idol band faced when they were in their first few years. They were also trapped in a way that they could not play the music that they wanted, and always had to conform to playing ‘mainstream’ music. During the climax of the song, the walls of the box are being detonated, and the ‘onlookers’ are being blown back, signifying that the band is finally free from the factors that have been restricting their creative control of their own music.
Of course, the album has its share of songs about relationship and love. ‘Do You Know Why?’ is song depicting the pain of a breakup, while ‘Hey Girl’ is happier sweet love song – ‘the most beautiful in my life’. ‘Please’ is a sad piece written by leader Jonghun, depicting the end of a love story he once had. The words ‘don’t go’ are repeated, even though the girl’s whereabouts are unknown. Heartbreaking.
Still, the tracks that stand out to me in this album are the inspirational tracks. ‘To The Light’ was previously released as a Japanese single, and it basically says ‘I need to protect myself, I need to believe in me, I need to overcome everything‘. ‘Light’ is the most tame out of all the tracks, and it might even seem out of place after all the aggressiveness, but I think it is a great closing song because the album ends off just like how it starts – after the climax of the piece, it ends off with a piano cadence, with the last chord being a major third, invoking hope. And if you put the album on loop, it kind of links back to the introduction track quite smoothly, which I thought was brilliant.
Speaking from an objective point of view, it is easy to see why this album has been getting so many good reviews – one could even say they brought rock back into the mainstream scene. As a fan, I’m just glad that the band has been given an opportunity to show what they can do.
It is safe to say that ‘PRAY’ or any of the other songs in this album are unlikely to reach the commercial success of previous singles like ‘Love Sick’, ‘Love Love Love‘ or ‘Barae (I Hope)‘, but hey, after all these years of helping FNC Entertainment to grow, they deserve to be able to make the music they love.