Song Review: FTIsland – Unthinkable

FTIsland - Unthinkable FTIsland don’t get enough credit for being as enduring a force as they are. Sure, they’re not the five-member powerhouse they once were, but with over fourteen years of idol life behind them, they’re one of K-pop’s longest-running groups. With age comes the threat of monotony. How does a band in their fifteenth year keep their sound fresh? New single Unthinkable (말이안돼) doesn’t answer that question, but it’s a solid rock ballad that’s sure to please fans.

Interestingly, this song was composed by a team of Western songwriters rather than the band itself. You’d think this would blunt the power of its sentiment, but vocalist Lee Hongki has a way of fueling even the most generic material with his expressive voice. FTIsland can rock with the best of them, but I’ve always loved their ballads. Hongki’s tone is so addictive, and you can’t go wrong when it’s given ample spotlight.

With that said, Unthinkable feels overly short. This is a common theme in today’s streaming age, and isn’t always a bad thing. I definitely subscribe to the idea of “all killer, no filler.” However, ballads like this need time to build. Unthinkable feels like it’s missing a crescendo. Hongki ensures that each chorus feels like its own mini climax, and there’s a well-placed power note during Unthinkable‘s final third. But as I listen to the song, I keep waiting for it to expand and really soar for the rafters. Instead, we’re left with a perfectly pleasant ballad. The melodies are nice – if familiar – and the band drives them forward with plenty of heft despite a stripped-down arrangement. You can’t go wrong with an FTIsland song of this nature. But, you could go just a little more right.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8


4 thoughts on “Song Review: FTIsland – Unthinkable

  1. i actually really like this?? like im genuinely awestruck

    this reminds me of their song ‘wind’, if youre doing a rock ballad you might as well go all the way! sure this song can be dismissed as cheesy emotional bombast by some people, but if you have a vocalist like hongki you can definitely pull this off. arguably almost any other krock band simply cannot do so (sorry lucy, i love you all but sangyeop is nowhere near hongki’s prowess.) hongki has the PIPES fr


  2. I like this – it’s pretty but has som meat on its bones. I don’t think it’ll hit five stars, but maybe four after a few more listens. I’m a whole sucker for strings and piano.


    • I like the EP too – I think “Bones” is the standout for me. I haven’t listened to their five-member content and frankly have no interest in doing so given the Burning Sun connection, but I’d keep my eye out for more from these three.


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