F.T. Island -- 'Where's the Truth?'
1. Out of Love
2. Take Me Now
5. Becoming You
6. Stand By Me
8. Wonderful Life
9. We Are
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'Where's the Truth,' the latest full-length effort from F.T. Island, was released on July 18. The album is the band's sixth studio album in Korea, about a year after their last Korean studio album 'I Will.'
F.T. Island went full on hard rock with this album, a move that was left-field, as hard rock doesn't really cut it in the Korean mainstream (K-Pop especially) music scene. That's why when I heard those angst-ridden, heavy guitar riffs in the title track "Take Me Now," I was immediately hooked, not to mention taken aback and thoroughly impressed. It's not every day that you hear hard rock in K-Pop. Plus, the song took me back to my high school 'band music' days, when I listened to nothing but...band music. The sounds in 'Where's the Truth' were at times reminiscent of Anberlin and Acceptance, at times of Flyleaf and even bits of Fall Out Boy.
The album is full in equal measures of tracks boiling with anger and tracks drenched in sweet nostalgia. 'Where's the Truth' starts out furious, the guitars thrumming relentlessly away, drums pounding steadily in the background, featuring lots of stadium, anthemic chanting. For the people who are not familiar the hard rock genre or not really in touch with it, this strong start to the album may throw them off a bit. However, I absolutely loved it. Tracks featuring the heavy, hard rock elements, such as "Out of Love," "Take Me Now," and "Lose" are my personal favs. Actually, even if you are not a hard rock fan, the tracks are catchy enough to warrant at least a 'test listen'--who knows, you might end up loving it!
Things slow down halfway through the album, "Mask" being a more mid-tempo, melodic song with a noticeably less moody, lighter chorus. "Becoming You" keeps up this wistful atmosphere, sentimental in its yearning for a love that is long gone. "Stand By Me" winds it down even further, a sorrowful soft rock ballad that almost sounds Bon Jovi-ish.
The album then jolts back to lively and energetic with "Paparazzi" and "Wonderful Life." "Paparazzi" in particular got ahold of my attention immediately. It's a composition of wild, stuttering guitar chords, an electronica/dubstep mixture which left me no short of astounded. When I researched who composed the track, I found that it was none other than Jonghun, the band's guitarist/keyboardist/lyricist/composer. I have to say that "Paparazzi" featured the most innovative and memorable composition out of the entire album; of course, I don't mean to discount the other tracks on the album. "Paparazzi" could have easily served as the title track to the album, but I guess it'll just remain as one of the hidden gems in 'Where the Truth.'
"We Are..." is the gentle close to the album, giving the listener a much-deserved break after that wild ride of an album overflowing with ferocity, power, and most of all, character.
The MV for "Take Me Now" is pretty straightforward, though it does include imagery that makes you wonder what messages F.T. Island intended to deliver. The colors are what stood out the most to me, the cool blues hues and the dark crimson offsetting each other jarringly. The red dues signify the sheer fury felt by the F.T. Island members, building up from the cool blue tones and switching to a deep crimson which later combusts into flame.
It's definitely an artistically shot MV; however, the meaning of the symbolisms may be lost to some of the viewers, as the shots move abruptly back and forth between the members to the scenes of a little girl in a dark hallway holding a bouquet of flowers (which reminded me of 'The Shining' by the way), a gun barrel pointing into a void, a mass of people in matching dresses and gas masks, and a guitar engulfed in flame. I tried to connect all these seemingly random images together, but to no avail. They do make for some cool imagery though!
So would I recommend this album? Yes. It's worth a listen, whether you are an F.T. Island fan from the get go or whether you are just a casual fan. The album will go in my books as one of the better K-Pop albums of the year for its willingness to be different in a scene inundated with much of the same concepts recycled over and over. Swell work, boys!