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It has been over two years since we least heard from FT ISLAND through their Korean promotions of Quit and Zapping, their 7th mini-album since debut. Since their last comeback, Choi Jong Hoon left the group following the Burning Sun Scandal and Son Seung Hyun left the group to pursue his acting career. Lee Hong Gi, Lee Jae Jin and Choi Min Hwan (who also became a dad) remains as part of FT ISLAND and enlisted into the military throughout 2019 and were released earlier in the year. The band has since reformed, and on Friday released their 8th mini-album, Lock Up, which is lead by the single Unthinkable.
As soon as I started listening to Unthinkable, I knew it was up there with the rest of FT ISLAND rock ballad hits. It is a short song, spanning for just about three minutes. While I would have liked Unthinkable to be longer, that doesn’t stop the nostalgia! The song starts off as a simple ballad, with piano and Hong Gi’s raspy vocals. The piano brought on a suspenseful vibe. Not one that is dramatic, but rather you could tell from a mile away that the song was going to buildup. Hong Gi’s vocals gave off that sense of familiarity and nostalgia that I mentioned before, but was also captivating. He gets even more captivating once the chorus hits and this vocals become more powerful, with the piano experiencing an uptick in its momentum as well. Up until now, we have only heard piano. From the second verse onwards, the band instrumentation comes into play with the piano before Unthinkable settles for a rock ballad sound in the second chorus and beyond. And with that trajectory, Lee Hong Gi’s vocals also build with the music. I really enjoyed the emotions he puts behind this vocals as well, which further captivates and definitely gives the song its ‘icing on the cake’. The song wraps up with just the piano and the same melody that started off the song, bringing it full circle. As mentioned earlier, I would have liked the song to be longer. There was definitely room to make the song even more powerful, heartfelt and breach its current boundaries. But the three minutes or so we did get from Unthinkable was also quite sufficient enough, especially if you are into rock ballads, a casual listener of FT ISLAND who has stuck around or are Primadonna (FT ISLAND’s fanclub).
To aid in the emotional appeal of the song, the music video brings forth an emotional story about friends and lovers. It isn’t clear who was in the car, but it was revealed at the end of the video that there was a fatal car accident. There are two directions that I think the story could be told. The first theory I have is that all four people in the video (Lee Hong Gi, Lee Jae Jin, Choi Min Hwan and the female actress) were in the car. The car crashed and Lee Hong Gi survives. He stumbles home, which was shot in a manner to make it look cold and empty, and this signifies that his friends and lover had died in the car crash. He is visited by the members and the female character, though these are only memories. He is shocked at first at their presence, but ends up smiling at these memories. However details in the last moments of the music video poses a second theory, which is that Lee Hong Gi’s character dies in the car crash alone and the other three people are not aware. Lee Hong Gi’s walks home and has final memories of his lover and friends that bring some warmth into the cold afterlife. The reason why this theory came about because there was only one seatbelt engaged in the car, which meant there was still only one person in the car (i.e. the driver, who was most likely Lee Hong Gi). I think the second theory is the most plausible, but the first theory felt more obvious at first. Regardless of whichever story I go with, the music video was definitely a heartfelt one.
Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9/10