What to do when you’ve been in the industry for sixteen years? FTIsland are elder statesmen of K-pop, respected for their consistency and longevity. It’s been a good six or seven years since their music has excited me, but I respect their dedication. New single Sage sounds much like you’d expect it to — an emotive rock ballad fueled by Lee Hongki’s always-solid vocal.
Sage is neither here nor there for me. The band have recorded many ballads in this style, and if I’m in the mood to hear one there are much stronger choices. At the same time, those who can’t get enough of this sound will likely find themselves entranced. The track swells with a hearty chorus and chant-along refrain designed for the full stadium experience. The guitar chugs along nicely, building to a dramatic finale that feels like the aural equivalent of fireworks shot into the sky. It’s all very solid, but nothing we haven’t heard dozens of times before.