Rock is not a typical genre in the k-pop idol world, especially that which could be safely described as “heavy” or “hard.” After releasing a more standard brand of radio-rock for many years, FTIsland were given leeway last year to record material more closely aligned to their personal preferences. This resulted in a heavier sound in that year’s Pray, but Take Me Now (테이크 미 나우) goes further (and better).
The track bursts in with a full-throttled guitar riff before its pulverizing drum beat completely takes over. It all feels doom and gloom for a few seconds, then Hongki’s voice comes in, filtered so that it seems almost buried in the mix. I love how the drums pulse in and out during these verses, adding a surprisingly heavy punctuation to each couplet. I’m not usually a fan of this particular genre, but the way it’s arranged here gives an awesome sense of drama and dynamism. This is especially evident as the music pulls back to give the vocals space during a quieter bridge, then crashes in with renewed vigor for the song’s anthemic chorus. The song is sung almost entirely in English, which gives it a definite international flavor. In fact, I think the guys could easily get away with releasing this as an American single and no one would know the difference. It’s certainly miles ahead of most of what passes for mainstream rock these days in the States!
Take Me Now probably won’t appeal as heavily to those who don’t have an ingrained love for rock music, but I do think its melody and production are strong enough that it should have at least some appeal to a community more often exposed to hip-hop and dance music. It’s laced with a palpable sense of passion and feels like a big musical moment for the band, finally harnessing their full potential and continuing the resurgence they kicked off last year.