K-POP / REVIEWS

[Review] [Mini-Album] CNBlue – ‘Re:Blue’

2013_cnblue_reblue

written by: McRoth

One of the best ways to know you have come to terms with an inherent liking for a K-Pop group is when you’re no longer apprehensive or cautious about their comebacks. It’s something I can’t say for many today, but there is one new exception: Korean pop-rock quartet CNBlue.

Having dipped into rounds of redundancy and banality a couple years ago (a curse for many), CNBlue felt less genuine then than when they segued into K-Pop in the first place (early 2010). But last year was different. 2012 was a re-inspired year for CNBlue, as they began long promotions in Japan that culminated with the release of their full length album ‘Code Name Blue‘, an excellent idol album in its own right.

This month, they return to Korea with their 4th mini-album, ‘Re:Blue‘.

The prefix says it all. This mini-album is in many ways a return to CNBlue’s first steps into Korean pop music, but also very much a fresh new take on their recognizable pop-rock style. It only takes a listen to their new single “I’m Sorry” to hear this pan out in full, as frontman Yonghwa leaves the “dibidi-dibidi-doo” trills far behind and picks up slicker hooks and melodies for stronger dimension (his hand in composition shines across this mini-album).

Everything from the subtly spooky keys in the background to Jonghyun‘s static interjections between verses – not only does the composition feel new, but invites all kinds of interesting elements that create a rather hard-hitting pop single; definitely one of CNBlue’s strongest, and possibly their best work on a lead track in recent memory.

And yet, one can’t help but think that even CNBlue were becoming aware of their repetitive formula and finally came to rewrite it altogether, as even the B-side tracks on ‘Re:Blue’ welcome significant change and pleasant arrangements abound. “Coffee Shop” layers in wispy synths among the twang of CNBlue’s bass lines, sounding very Maroon 5 and very retro. “나란 남자” does the same, albeit in a far less interesting way (rendering it the weakest track on the album). And then there is “나 그대보다“, the lightest mid-tempo on ‘Re:Blue’. Fans of CNBlue and spectators alike know that if there is one bonus to listening to the vocal line in the group, it’s hearing Jonghyun’s velvety smooth singing on anything. He gets his turn on this song, which echoes the heart of “I Will … Forget You …” off CNBlue’s first mini-album, ‘Bluetory‘, with a well balanced change in pace in the chorus. It’s a lovely mid-tempo track and very much true to the group’s musical aesthetic today.

But if there is one song that truly pushes CNBlue’s sound on this EP it’s “La La La“. It opens with an eerie arpeggiated piano riff that you hear faze in and out throughout the duration of the song, with a contrasting change in mood as the song builds to the chorus. As “La La La” tackles the notion of being confused by love, the hints of overlapping positive and negative colors comes across beautifully. It’s a real treat that CNBlue has decided to cross perform it live on music shows recently.

==

CNBlue have already known who they are as a pop-rock group, so to hear them continue to play with their style and try out fresh ideas (and pull them off pretty well at that) is as comforting as it is exciting. It’s great to hear these guys grow, and ‘Re:Blue’ is a nice example of what that is supposed to sound like.

==

Scorecard

I’m Sorry
1
Coffee Shop
.75
나 그대보다
.75
 Points scale
0 – could do without
0.5 – mediocre/filler
0.75 – pretty good/grew on me
1 – liked immediately
나란 남자
.5
La La La
1
Where You Are (English Ver.)
.75
Total Points
4.75

Points to stars conversion: [(4.75/6) x 5] + 0.25*

4.2/5


*there is a 0.25 bonus for every album. The logic is that, if every song were “pretty good”, it’s a 4-star album.

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12 thoughts on “[Review] [Mini-Album] CNBlue – ‘Re:Blue’

  1. I really love this mini a lot, every song is well done for me and it’s difficult to pick my top favorite but Lalala is definetly one of them. About the title song, CNBLUE leaves the “dibidi-dibidi-doo” that were always in their title songs because this song is the first title song that is composed by Yonghwa in korea, the other title tracks in older albums were composed by Kim Do Hoon.
    I’m really glad that the CEO finally decided to let them go and trust them, you can say Yonghwa is the producer of this mini because he work every detail because the CEO gave him that responsability and he did his best so it makes me happy that the respond has been good. Thank you for the review :)

  2. I agree about pop-rock, because that’s the reason why i love cnblue music .. they have indie feel and disco feel in their songs, but i like their acoustic too, sometimes i miss their old type songs … thanks for fair review

  3. C.N.Blue are one of the only groups I stan too and this album pretty much solidifies that- I reckon this is their best release to date, definitely in Korea at least. For me there isn’t a single ‘skip-track’ and La La La and Coffee Shop were the highlights.
    I love to see them writing their own stuff too, I think it’s to be expected at this point in their career.
    Anyway thanks for the review, which was spot on as always :)

    • Oh and I forgot to mention, YES about Jonghyun’s voice! He may not have Yonghwa’s range, but dem velvety tones *drools*

  4. Thanks for the review. I’m no music exprert but as a music listener, I enjoyed all the songs from the first listen. I’m Sorry is so new to my ears but definitely still has the CNBLUE signature in it. I guess that can be attributed to how Yonghwa sings it. His voice is so distinct that you’d know if it’s a CNBLUE song or not. I appreciate the track order a lot too, you can tell they put much thought to it too. One thing I really like about CNBLUE is that they give you your money’s worth with each release.

  5. Thank you for sharing your review. I personally feel, so far Re:Blue is the most interesting Korean comeback of CNB, not only because they finally able to presented their own song as title track (which achieved an all-kill on various music charts, congratulations!) but also because they get to play live on regular music show. I’m sorry is cool, I like the idea of singing a “broken hearted” song in an up tempo/tough mood. The way Yonghwa sing suit the song theme. Totally agree with your review on Lalala, it’s my favourite song from the mini album. CNB is so blessed to have Yonghwa and Jonghyun as vocalists and composers. Their styles are distinctive yet vocally they can harmonize awesomely. This made their songs enjoyable with different variations/moods. I hope their company will continue to let them show their own title track and style in Korean album.

  6. ARNOLD!Thanks a lot for this. ^^
    By the way, we have the same favorite songs in this album. I’m Sorry and LALALA.. hehehe..In Lalala, I can’t help but be mesmerized with Jonghyun’s voice.

  7. when i first heard this song i was like “finally they left the stabirabira or “dibidoo” era’… that just isn’t my cup of tea.. i always think cnblue suits rock/alternative music better.. im liking this new song

  8. I’m happy that this album got a good review and I personally love all the songs. Personally I liked 나란 남자 as well, I think it has a very catchy tune and arrangement. Anyways, listening to CNBlue’s albums nowadays is like attending one of their live concerts and it’s always a blast!

  9. Pingback: [리뷰/번역] CNBlue – ‘Re:Blue’ by McRoth’s Residence | CNBLUE the Band

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