FT Island and Lee Hongki's Crisis as a Popular Singer
FT Island's Lee Hongki released his mini album 'FM302' on November 28, while it is his first ever solo album since he debuted in 2007 as a member of FT Island. Through the rock ballad title track 'Insensible', Lee Hongki shows his outstanding vocal performance. Have you all listened to the song?
However, the result is below expectations. Hongki, who is regarded as one of the most popular kpop idol, couldn't get top ranking on various online music charts with the song. It's autumn and many ballad songs are gaining popularity, including Lim Chang Jung's 'Love again' and 4Men's 'Hug me', but Hongki's song is clearly an exception.
Since its debut in 2007, FT Island has been on a roll. It was a success of the strategy. FT Island was about the only idol rock band in the kpop scene and could win a great popularity. The same applied to CNBLUE. Jung Yonghwa promoted his team by appearing in various dramas just like Hongki did and they could become the representative kpop stars.
By the way, some looked on FT Island with jaundiced eyes, saying it's not rock bands but pretty idols. It seems that this made the band members have a strong desire to prove their musicality. The band started to focus on writing their own songs. FT Island wrote all the songs of its 5th full album 'I Will' that was released in March 2015, while, yeah, Hongki took part in writing all the tracks of his first solo album too.
In this way, they showed off their musicality and proved competitiveness as good musicians. Hongki's album includes various music genres such as ballad, pop, and EDM, and there are few young kpop singers who can sing such various genres of music perfectly. But, you know, you win some you lose some. Popular appeal of FT Island's songs kept on reducing. That's why I'm talking about FT Island' and Hongki's "Crisis" as a popular singer.
When FT Island debuted, its company FNC Entertainment did all the things for them. The company chose the title track and told the members how to appeal to the public. But after the members started to improve their participation in their albums, the company's influence became weaker. In short, the company can't control FT Island any more.
For example, the FT Island members fought with the company before releasing their 5th full album because the company was opposed to choosing 'Pray' as the title track. Of course, it is not necessarily blamable that the FT Island members are self-assertive and want to do their own music. However, look what happened. The band has failed to gain popularity with 'Pray' because the song is a hard rock music which is unfamiliar to Korean music fans.
Nevertheless, I'm sure FT Island still has a chance to change matters because it has talented and passionate members. I went to the band's concert held in August 2015 and it was great. The members electrified audience by showing high quality performance. What FT Island needs now is to keep balance between rock band and idol group. I know the members never want to be called as an idol, but they need to pay more attention to the popular appeal of their songs if they want to have a long run as a popular singer.