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Pop-rock FTIsland have Hope & Brown Eyed Girls say Abracadabra

I mentioned pop-rock group FT 아일랜드 (FT Island) back in January (check out that post if you want to know a little bit more about them!), when it was announced that guitarist 원빈 (Wonbin) was leaving them and that his spot would be filled by 승현 (Seunghyun). I was curious to see how things would go with the new member, as well as being quite sad, since I’d followed FT Island since they were preparing to debut and 원빈 had always been there. It was definitely going to be a change.

But it’s turned out to be a change that I really, really like. 승현 fits in with the rest of the group really well, and he even looks like he belongs there.

The change also didn’t see FT Island’s music changing in any ways that it wasn’t already - I feel that it has matured, and shifted focus slightly, but I think that was something that was going to happen regardless of what the line-up was.

The group have recently released their third album, Cross & Change. It is by far my favourite of any of their releases, and I think they are going to have something really great going on if they continue in this direction. The sound is a little more mature than their previous albums, while still keeping their trademark style.

The first single from Cross & Change is the upbeat 바래 (Barae).

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It is everything that FT Island are - fun, colourful and feel-good.

브라운 아이드 걸스 (Brown Eyed Girls) also released something new recently. They’re a four member girl group, consisting of 제아 (Jea), 나르샤 (Narsha), 미료 (Miryo) and 가인 (Ga-in). They debuted in 2006 with their first album Your Story, and have just released their third album Sound G. With the new release also comes a rather radical change in their image, aimed at making them seem more outgoing - probably to give them a better shot at grabbing attention, since they will be up against plenty of competition from girl groups like 2NE1, 4minute, 소녀시대 (Girls Generation), and 카라 (Kara).

Abracadabra is the first single off Sound G:

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What do you think? I think it’s kind of catchy but nothing too special. I do like the MV though.

But I think this song is quite far away from the style that they originally started with. When they debuted, they had a soulful R&B type of sound, with the usual pop and hip hop infleunces to it. Now it’s electronic pop. Changing your style to better fit the current trends is simply what needs to be done if you’re a pop group and trying to survive - but I’ve always been of the opinion that the trick is to never completely let go of your own style, to find ways to make the current trends fit your style in a way that you are still instantly recognisable amongst everyone else. I’m not so sure that they’ve successfully done that, but then again I am not a Brown Eyed Girls fan so maybe I’m wrong!

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