K-POP / KOREAN CULTURE / REVIEWS

[Review] C.N Blue’s Korean Debut – Bluetory

After floating down from the Vampire Weekendhigh I was in yesterday, settling with C.N Blue‘s new mini album, Bluetory, might have been a challenge.  However, the influx of relief C.N Blue has spewed into Korean music today is quite fulfilling.

Tracklist – Bluetory:

  1. 외톨이야 (Im a Loner)
  2. Love Revolution
  3. Y, Why
  4. Now or Never
  5. 그럴 겁니다… 잊을 겁니다… (I Will… Forget You…)

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The first and last songs are my personal favorite; they compliment the album like croutons to a salad.  And let me tell you, that first song is something else.  It’s very reminiscent of Maroon 5, and although I’m not a big fan of them anymore, C.N Blue is pretty much Maroon 5 gone Korean.  And as true as that may be, I like them. Most of the album is relaxing.  You can bust it out when you’re alone, reading or something.

Bands like these don’t necessarily focus on impressing with their voices, but more or less the melodic sound and configuration of their music.  The track on Bluetory that has one of the nicest melodies is I Will…Forget You…

Say you don’t like it!  Oh, and if you recognize this song, it’s because they have already released it in an English version.  It’s just as amazing, in my opinion.  Jung Yong Hwa‘s voice is raw and smooth and it’s nice to hear real music like this amid the ear-shattering k-pop.

C.N Blue is made up of Jong Hyun –  guitarist, vocalist / Jeong Sin – bassist / Min Hyuk – drummer / and Yong Hwa – leader, guitarist, vocalist.  And although I mentioned C.N Blue is not aiming to impress with their voices, I actually have to acknowledge the talented vocalists in this group – cuz they’re pretty good.

Going back to the first track, Yong Hwa and Jong Hyun’s voices play well with each other because both are relatively close in pitch.  They sound like one unit and one voice when you listen to I’m a Loner, and not a forced combination of completely distinct voices.  Which makes for cleaner harmonies.

C.N Blue aren’t a rookie in this business ; they’ve previously released their own Japanese material and are just now crossing over to Korean territory.  It’s no shocker they sound as good as they do here.  Bluetory is lyrically confident and it’s a classic rock (mini) album.  The opening track I’m a Lonerdemonstrates their impressive versatility – cramming  hypnotic melodies and rap into almost 4 minutes of nonchalant charm.  It’s really commercial and it was the perfect choice for a debut single.  Love Revolution keeps the momentum rolling as an up-tempo track that develops a mellowed atmosphere.  With fun phrasing and continuous drums from beginning to end, along with cheering crowds, it sounds like a live recording to me, as if they pulled it from a live show, which gives the album a snap of authenticity.

As are most collections, Bluetory has it’s slow rollers –  that being Y, Whywhich brings things down to a simmer with a rather Western-ish sounding rock-ballad.  If I ever heard this song in English, it would definitely qualify for air-play here in the States. OH WAIT!  There IS an English version – click here for that little treat.  Three songs actually, were remade into Korean from their previous Japanese mini-album, Now or Never.  Wise decision.

If I had to choose one least favorite song on Bluetory, it’d probably be Now or Never‘ just because it sounds pretty generic to me.  It isn’t bad, but not eyebrow-raising either.  While I Will Forget You, perhaps the best song on the album, is meaningful and beautifully composed.

C.N Blue’s Bluetory is certainly worth listening to, regardless of genre preference, because it’s essentially a great Korean album.

And speaking of worthy albums, SO IS Vampire Weekend‘s Contra – holy crap, that album is a stairway to heaven and it will probably be my next review.  Go listen to it, like, now so you know what the crap I’m talking about.

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14 thoughts on “[Review] C.N Blue’s Korean Debut – Bluetory

  1. It makes me even happier to hear that its vocalists can compose. In the case of this album, I think Jung Yong-hwa (lead vocalist and guitarist) composed the music and lyrics to Y, Why as well as the lyrics to Love, Revolution. I also hope they do venture into doing other styles of music.

    While I like how 외톨이야 sounds, I did hope to see another version based more off of one of the teasers of their MV featuring Lee Jong-hyun. Certainly, considerably less relaxing in comparison, but I guess we’d have to wait for the rest of Korea to like it… In an interview translated by javabeans over at dramabeans, Jung Yong-hwa did say that he and his bandmates would like to be able to perform various kinds of music styles within and outside his band’s usual genre (I was surprised to hear in another interview that his favorite song was Ruben Studdard’s cover of Luther Vandross’s rendition of “Superstar”)–

    “I’m well-rounded in my music tastes. Band-wise, I like a refreshing style such as Bon Jovi, while I like the vocals of Placebo or The Calling, and I have a lot of interest in R&B and hip-hop as well.”

    –so perhaps I can hope…

    • I know what you’re talking about – I believe it was the first teaser, it previewed 외톨이야 but it sounded way more hardcore than the actual song. I still like it, though, and I hope they manage to stick around because they’re good.
      Thanks for commenting! :)

      • Yes, I’m really hoping these boys are riding on fame because of their music and not just because of Jung Yong-hwa’s drama role. And no problem — thanks for the thoughtful review!

        I’d like to think that the teasers weren’t just to show how versatile C.N. Blue can be in regards to music style, but also to foreshadow Korea what other styles they can expect in its future releases.

        “C.N Blue is pretty much Maroon 5 gone Korean. […] …simmer with a rather Western-ish sounding rock-ballad. If I ever heard this song in English, it would definitely qualify for air-play here in the States.”
        There’s definitely Western-influenced rock creeping into most of their songs and upon reflect, not a shabby way of introducing other styles of music to Korea. As you’ve mentioned earlier, one of reasons why “I’m a Loner” is great as their main song is because it contains a variety of different styles in one song, several of which are more or less uncommon in Korea while others are in vein of popularity. If C.N. Blue’s influence lasts (they seem to be faring VERY well on the music charts) and they retain their styles, perhaps it is (hopefully) not entirely out of question to expect an expansion of music tastes among the general populace. For instance, in a radio show, the MCs asked each member one of their favorite musicians and/or bands, but only truly seemed to recognize Eric Clapton (Lee Jong-hyun) and vaguely remember hearing Mister Big (Lee Jung-shin) while blanking out on Bon Jovi (Jung Yong-hwa) and Two Ton Shoe (Kang Min-hyuk). I expect that there were many netizens who were curious enough to look these bands up and give their music a shot…

        While I doubt these boys will ever see airtime in the States (not because they lack talent, but because many talented artists have tried to cross over and met with failure), I do agree with you that Y, Why… could definitely qualify for it.

      • Yeah I agree, Jung Yong-hwa’s drama has nothing to do with the band. That’s why I didn’t care to mention it.
        The good thing is that this band is doing really well, I’m just hoping big agencies don’t bust out random bands just for show and attempt to keep up with trends, as the girl bands of last year for example, because I believe music is all about innovation, not imitation.

  2. ETA: I also agree with you on the last track. I would also say that Lee Jong-hyun’s (guitarist and the other vocalist) voice fits in with the melody very well and the harmonizing between the two vocalists was rather nice.

      • Yong-hwa has a greater vocal range than Jong-hyun does, so the higher parts will often be given to him. IMHO, Yong-hwa’s voice is generally more powerful while Jong-hyun tends to more low key, though arguably, this can be attributed to their respective styles and a marked preference for such a quality in a lead vocalist. I think that it’s primarily for these two reasons that Yong-hwa is the lead vocalist. In regards to describing their respective styles, I think Ale describes it well: “…Yonghwa’s clear sweet vocals with Jonghyun’s husky vocals.”

        Aurally, the best way to differentiate between their voices is listen to the last song on their second Japanese mini-album, VOICE, “One of a kind,” which you can listen to and follow along with the lyrics posted in the info section (marking parts in lyrics when Jong-hyun or Yong-hwa sings) here. The way that particular song is constructed makes it easy to do so.

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  4. Ya! you have the most indifferent review… I was reading reviews on bluetory…
    you’re the only one who’s favorite out of the album is “I will.. Forget you”… It wouldn’t be my choose either if you didn’t mention that it is “Teardrops in the Rain”… I love listening to that song before going to sleep…

    But my favorite is “I’m a Loner” simply because its the only original album from bluetory… what I mean is… It’s not from their other album.

    I like “Wanna Be Like You” from their VOICE album.. dunno why.. but i Like it…

    Most favorite is “Y, Why”.. i also love it when they released it in English.. hehehe.. cause I can understand it better.

    By the way, I’m a C.N.Blue fan, my blog is almost anything about them… please take a peek.. thanks! http://wwlyna.wordpress.com/

    • Yeah, I really like this album. They kind of cheated though, because most of the songs on ‘Bluetory’ were already released~! lol
      Thanks for commenting and I’ll definitely check your blog out :D

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