written by: drowningn00b
Rock in the idol megasphere isn’t rock in its most common sense. It’s more akin to the earliest years of The Beatles; a group of guys that look like pop idols and sing well together that just happen to play instruments. The instrument playing isn’t technical or intricate. An idol’s only purpose is to provide the sound a producer would create digitally. Pop-rock, as it is commonly referred to, leans heavily on pop tricks to gain popularity, with the rock elements existing as an afterthought. CN Blue’s “Ear Fun” mini finally hit stores recently, and it’s a mixed bag. It tries to make a more equal balance between these elements, but CN Blue’s pop sensibilities and their idol status give “Ear Fun” a promising, and at the same time distressing outlook on their future as legit pop artists and musicians. (maybe not quite like The Beatles.)
To get the unpleasantness out of the way, let’s talk about the lead single, “Hey You”. In a nutshell, the song is not good.
We get it, CN Blue, “I’m A Loner” was your most successful song to date, but get over it! “Hey You” doesn’t copy that old one; “Love” already did that. What “Hey You” does to “I’m A Loner” is take a nail-spiked bat and beat a dead horse to a bloody pulp. The pieces within “Hey You” don’t do anything new to the template that “Love” didn’t already try to do. Not only is the song bad, but it’s quite honestly disrespectful. CN Blue has talent beyond their looks and “I’m A Loner”, but FNC purposefully keeps them stuck in a perpetual money-making motion machine year after year. If you have it on any music device, delete it now. Leave it on YouTube to rot and die. Watch it if you must, but I’d advise against it; just go back to their original.
Fortunately, “Ear Fun” is not total shit, thank goodness. When news hit the interwebs that Yong Hwa would have a hand in the writing and composition of the mini, my interest went up. Writing “Bangmal Song” may have been a one-off, so could he pull off the heftier scale of an EP? Answer: a resounding yes.
“Still in Love”, as a teaser single, was a good choice to highlight (review here). I just wish it was the only single to the mini. If FNC wanted a poppy and fast tempo single, “Rock n’ Roll” would have made a better choice. It’s a silly song and it has a rock edge that non-fans don’t know CN Blue had. As a guitarist, Jong Hyun has the chops to go somewhere, though he gets the same treatment Kim Jung Mo of TRAX does from SM Entertainment. CN Blue could even take miss A’s “sentimental” idols claim and make it work one better. “Dream Boy” is short and sweet, with a soft exterior and crunchy inside that’s ideal for pop-rock tracks of the melancholy nature. Yong Hwa’s sweet vocals, alongside Jong Hyun’s guitar, work well together. Why FNC hasn’t put the focus on that pairing and fostered the talent therein is maddening.
Ultimately, “Ear Fun” is lopsided. “Hey You” is a slap in the face to CN Blue fans, and the last two tracks (“Run” and “In My Head”) try at something new and interesting, but fall short of that goal. “Still in Love” is the best song on this mini, with “Dream Boy” right behind it. “Rock n’ Roll” ultimately serves as Jong Hyun’s demo tape for his guitar skills and a silly track that would’ve done CN Blue better in the long run. CN Blue needs to experiment outside their established sound and get good at it. It sounds stupid for me to have to say that, considering this is CN Blue’s seventh official release.