Album: Decennium, 8th Album
Release Date: February 16th, 2009
Disclaimer: This is all personal opinion. In fact, this review may be more biased than others because I’ve loved Fly to the Sky since their crimped hair and shiny metallic space pants days. However, even though I LOVE Fly to the Sky (FTTS), I always seem to forget they exist until they release a new album and start promotions in variety and talk shows. So when I heard that a new album was coming out in time for Valentine’s Day, I’m sure I screamed or fainted or peed my pants or something.
First let’s talk about the title of this album: Decennium. I’ll be the first to admit that I thought that decennium was a made up Konglish word. Then I looked it up and felt really stupid. It’s been so long since I heard proper English in Kpop that I assume every bit of English is incorrect. (Exhibit 1: Kara’s if you wanna pretty WTF-ery.) Decennium means “a period of 10 years”, alluding to FTTS’s ten years in the Korean music scene. Surviving that long is hard to do in an industry that generally only focuses on the new and novel and in my personal opinion, with the generally weak initial reception they received, it is a feat that they made it this far. This album seems to seek to explore the past and the possible future of FTTS.
As for the album itself, let me get something out of the way first. The biggest critique of FTTS I hear is that their songs are boring. Well, I’m sure you all will be surprised to hear that this album is…pretty much more of the same. If you didn’t like FTTS before, you won’t like them now. (Though how anyone can not find Hwanhee’s voice sexy is another question…) Now, with that said, with the release of this album, you can see that FTTS is really trying to progress past their SM and even the No Limitation days.
- The album starts with Decennium, a smooth, R&B instrumental, synthesizer mash up in the best traditions of T-Pain. As much as I like the beat of this track, I’m equally turned off by the synthesized voices. I knew that this was a FTTS album, but I was surprised that I couldn’t recognize the voices of Brian and Hwanhee until after a couple of listens. However, if they were aiming for different, they started with a bang.
- The next track Goosok(Confinement) brings it back old school FTTS. Almost a mix of Album one’s “Fly to the Sky” old school hip hop with the smooth R&B ballads of Album seven’s “Miwuhhaejo (Hate me)” this is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The performance of this song in their inkigayo debut only made it better. (Though I hate Brian for having a nicer S-line than I do)
- Close to you with Dynamic Duo sounds like an older Black Eyed Peas song. I kinda feel like clapping along to this song, imagining visions of world peace and happiness, not that there is anything wrong with that. The rest of the song leaves me with so many questions: First, “Hello. It’s me.” What is that? It’s so random and out of place, and I still can’t figure out which Dynamic Duo member or FTTS member said that. Also, the synthesizer makes another appearance, randomly showing up to alter Brian and Hwanee’s syllables into some robotic future shock mess. Also, why did Dynamic Duo only show up for 15 seconds? And what is it with the abrupt ending? I feel unfulfilled. This song was such as waste of possibility. Next song plz.
- This is more like it. Their title song gabuhruh nuh(Go Away You) is powerful in a way I have never heard from FTTS before. Differing from their past singles, there is much less vocal gymnastics from Hwanhee. The control and restraint Hwanhee shows the growth and maturity of his voice. Brian, as always, shows his clear voice. Almost a perfect song. I’m pretty sure I melted in my seat.
- Good Girl is another phenomenal track. The beat, the voices, the off-beat rhythm is so perfectly FTTS, and nothing like I’ve heard from them before. A grown up love song with just enough whimsy. Note: Though the lyrics “you are my good girl” may seem condescending because the English word ‘good’ is used to denote behavior, the Korean translation would be joheun yuhja which refers to a more internal goodness, kindness, gentleness and such.
- Song for you starts off weak, but FTTS does not disappoint. The use of cadence and the interweaving of minor and major chords (all you people that had to take piano lessons know what I’m talking about) make this song fun and sexy. “I sing you a song from my heart” indeed.
- The next track Julgyuhchatgi (Hide and Seek) features Leesang’s Gary. The beat is old school yet fresh but the melody less so. Though I do not really like this song, I have to admit that FTTS is really attempting to branch out and the use of Gary is very well done. However, where in the crap did that synthesizer come from? Ugh. This seems like a “More cowbell” situation where they just throw it in just for the hell of it.
- Sool (Alcohol) is another song that probably makes me kyaa!! silently in my head (and out loud, scaring the crap out of my roomates). It’s little difficult to pin point what it is about this song that I love so much. I think it is just because Hwanhee’s voice was given free rein to do whatever he wants and Brian was a perfect anchor to keep the melody intact. I’m sorry, but I can’t type anymore because my fingers turned all jelly-like.
- …and they ruin it again. Why do they torture me so? Majimak gido (Last Prayer) starts with what sounds like non-regulation sneakers on a gym class floor, then turns into a poor man’s version of Brian McKnight’s “Back at One.” I’m getting whiplash from all the back and forth in this album.
- Ooh. Spanish guitar! Otherwise, Sarangiiegaetji (It must be Love), is boring and overwrought.
- …I’m sorry, but what was that?! I’m a FTTS fan girl as much as the next crazy person holding a lock of Brian’s hair, but I did not need to hear whatever “acting” that was by Brian in NunMoolAh MiYanHae (I’m sorry my tears). Additionally, the story doesn’t even make any sense. First, Brian calls his girl, randomly breaks up with her by yelling at her “You never listen, do you?! I said it’s over!” (Sounding a lot like Tablo in my opinion) because apparently she cheated on him, then he apologies for…breaking up with her? My mind is completely blown. I can’t even focus on the rest of the song because my jaw has fallen off and I have to go find it.
- Oh man. WHY FTTS WHY. OhnEumPyo (Whole Note) is a mid-tempo ballad and so unbelievably boring. REALLY?! You had to end it with this?!!! I’m dying here.
All in all, this album has phenomenial tracks, solid tracks, okay tracks, boring tracks and horrible songs all in one 12 song album. However, they stepped out of alot of the comfort zones established in the last 7 albums, and this experimentation is what created the cacophony of songs and for that, I have to give them their credit.
Album Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5.
Reccomended tracks in PINK
01 . Decennium
02 . 구속 (GooSok/Confinement) (MP3 HERE)
03 . Close to you (Feat. Dynamic Duo)
04 . 가버려 너 (GaBuhRuh Nuh/ Go Away You) (MP3 HERE)
05 . Good girl (MP3 HERE)
06 . Song for you (MP3 HERE)
07 . 즐겨 찾기 (Julgyuhchatg/Hide and Seek) (Feat. Leessang’s Gary’)
08 . 술 (Sool/Alcohol) (Mp3 HERE)
09 . 마지막 기도 (MaJiMak GiDo/ Last Prayer)
10 . 사랑이겠지 (SaRangIieGaetJi/It must be love)
11 . 눈물아 미안해 (NunMoolAh MiYanHae/I’m Sorry My Tears)
12 . 온음표 (OhnEumPyo/ Whole Note)
Album can be downloaded as a batch HERE (Thanks to heygingersnap from bww2 forums)