Flamenco K-pop? Sure, why not.
Brad Shoup: A breathless flamenco rip that lurches into pop-rock. Lee Hong Ki’s cadence for “lonely, lonely” recalls “Lovefool,” but everywhere else, he, the group and the track are far too eager to impress.
Iain Forrester: It’s great to hear something from the Korean charts that’s a bit different from our normal beat but still really good. “I Wish” has one of those brazen, explosive choruses which come commonly to popular J-Rock and to the poppier end of Western rock. Where a lot of the J-Rock stuff I’ve heard especially seems to go wrong is by having the same high tempo and volume running through the whole song to the point where it becomes wearying. FT Island instead go for delicate verses with flamenco flourishes and build up a contrast that enhances both.
Jonathan Bogart: Flamenco-plus-emo as a metaphor for disappointed longing is a pretty good use of K-pop’s method of treating all of world history as a well-stocked closet for playing dress-up in. Not that this is original with K-pop; an argument could be made that, historically, the vibrancy of any given pop scene can be measured by the amount of appropriation going on.
Anthony Easton: I love how this speeds up around 48 seconds, and the little Sergio Leone quality in the beginning is smart, if overdone. It has potential.
Will Adams: Ah, the descending 5-6 harmonic sequence. Or, in less obnoxious music theory terms, the chord progression from “I Will Survive.” While that progression never fails to delight me, there’s an awkward key change between the verse and the chorus that seems to do little else than point out that “I Wish” is two disparate and unappetizing sounds – Casio flamenco preset and Fall Out Boy cover band – stapled together.
Edward Okulicz: Half of this song is dotted with enough obvious musical signifiers to make the idea of loneliness obvious even if you don’t have a clue what it means (you also need to navigate around the fact that it sounds like Cake’s cover version of “I Will Survive”). But then the chorus just seems incongruously perky that it doesn’t make any sense for the word “lonely” to be yelped in the middle of it.
Alfred Soto: That flamenco flourish at the onset heralds the worst sort of collision: accelerated schlocked-up Katy Perry chorus for a breathy voice.
Patrick St. Michel: The Spanish-tinged sections are lovely, especially when the horns slide into the mix. The chorus, meanwhile, hits a power-pop sweet spot, especially when they sing the word “lonely.” The two sewn together, though, sounds a little too disjointed. There are probably two better songs hiding in “I Wish,” but all we get is one so-so one.