Clad in astronaut helmets, rocking neon shades and cooly sipping glasses of Cristal, Far East Movement parties hard and well. With members Kev Nish, J-Splif, DJ Virman and Prohgress, Far East Movement (FM) stages flashy performances in clubs, bars and private venues, and has even opened tours for top artists such as Lady Gaga.
Their latest album, “Free Wired,” was released on Oct. 12 under major record label subsidiary Cherrytree Records and pays homage to the electronic hop genre of the 80s. The tracks include a number of collaborations with well-known acts in the industry along with up-and-coming rookies.
“She Owns the Night” features Mohombi, a fellow labelmate, and brings back ornery memories of shaggy-haired, teen-idol rock bands. Sounding as if it’s been drenched in a mouthwash censor, the bland lyrics and the KOST 103.5 quality does injustice to the group.
“Don’t Look Now” sadly also fails to inspire from the techno-laced beats to the far from innovative lyrics. Only the baritone rap stands out and offers the least bit of variety.
Thankfully, “2Gether,” a collaboration between FM and Roger Sanchez and featuring Kanobby, maintains that same electro-dancing element. “Fighting for Air” also has the potential to command an audience’s attention. Mixed with compassion and wooing, the strikingly meaningful lines take the song to a whole new level.
Two other songs, “White Flag” and “Rocketeer,” featuring Ryan Tedder of One Republic, are much more promising. “White Flag” incorporates quirky comparisons such as “melt your heart like Reese’s Pieces.” Tedder’s sweet, heart-breaking voice nicely contrasts with the rugged rhymes of FM.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Very recently, their popularity exploded with their hit single, “Like a G6” featuring The Cataracs and Dev, which is a reference to a pricey jet. The song landed at number two on the Billboard Top 100 and stole the title for the number one download on iTunes.
Looped phrases such as “slizzard” and “sober girls around me, they be acting like they drunk” demonstrate their flow of creativity.
So, are they talented? I guess. Refreshing? Definitely – in a unique way. Plus, they come out very clear and strong and, with their swagger, young listeners will be eating up their work.
They also offer up their background, showcasing the Korean-American culture of the club-hopping nightlife of Los Angeles. Although borrowing the tried-and-true sex, booze and money combo, these artists represent a new age in the second-generation Asian culture and definitely pave the way for future Asian-American artists.
FM started out as close friends who performed rap as a hobby before entering the music scene officially from their 2005 debut. In their first hit “Round Round” from the film “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” and numerous joint efforts with Youtube celebrities, they’ve gained a gradual following over the years.
In 2009, their hit single “Girls on the Dance Floor” received sizable airplay on the radio, resulting in FM spreading its name to a broader audience.
Starting out independently and selling over 20,000 albums, their exploding rise to fame has opened new doors, though some may argue at a cost. Their record deal has given the band a chance to enter into the mainstream scene with their catchy words founded upon a distinct, fresh sound. However, this shift in style has some critics crying out that their deviation from their hip-hop roots would classify FM as sellouts.
Still, get ready to “put your hands up” and give their signature pose, three fingers up. With a popularity of this magnitude, FM, through its energetic and fresh sound, will be an act we will have to watch out for.