Faves – CNBLUE

CNBLUE is one of my favorite groups, but for some reason it’s not a group I spend a lot of time with. I don’t know the personalities of the members that well, I follow no blogs related to them on tumblr and I’ve not written much about them here. My love for CNBLUE is rare when it comes to my kpop interest, as it’s almost solely based on their music. I won’t lie and say that the pretty boys don’t factor in whatsoever, but that’s really not the main pull for me.

CNBLUE have released a total of six studio albums, but only one of those were in Korean, and that one mainly consisted of Korean versions of their previously released Japanese songs. So instead I will look at their two most recent Korean extended plays: “Re:Blue” and “Can’t Stop”, released in January of 2013 and February of 2014, respectively. I’ll take this in chronological order, so here’s “Re:Blue”:

Re:Blue

Track 1 – I’m Sorry

(Co-written and co-composed by Yonghwa)

I love this song. This song was my first introduction to CNBLUE, and I fell head over heels in love. Before I got into kpop, and still am, I was always fond of rock music, and it was something that I had been missing from my Korean idols. But here, I got the best of both worlds. On the very first List of the Week I ever wrote, this song was the first entry. This is the song that kicked off this blog, and I love it as much now as I did then.

Track 2 – Coffee Shop

(Co-written, composed and co-arranged by Yonghwa)

This is such an awesomely funky song. It has very simple and nice lyrics describing what goes on in a coffee shop, and calling people to come out together and have some coffee. I’m not so big on coffee and I’ve (almost) never been one of those people that spends hour after hour in a coffee shop, but this song makes me wish that I was, just so that I could listen to it on repeat and relate to it.

Track 3 – More Than You 

(Co-composed by Jonghyun)

This is a proper hidden gem! This is the first song on this album that I hadn’t heard before, and it’s exactly the kind of song that this feature was designed to find. I was afraid that it would be somewhat of a ballad with this title, but it’s not. It almost sounds cheerful from time to time, even though it’s really not. I’m glad to hear Jonghyun sing together with Yonghwa, I really like the contrast between their two voices.

Track 4 – A Guy Like Me

(Co-written, co-composed and co-arranged by Yonghwa)

This is also really good. I don’t think the chorus completely lives up to the amazingness of the verses, but it’s still catchy and solid. Jonghyun’s voice is really shown in its best light here, and he provides a nice contrast to Yonghwa’s voice in the verses. I almost wish he was featured even more heavily, because he just sounded that good.

Track 5 – La La La

(Written, composed and co-arranged by Yonghwa)

I don’t know why, but I have this fascination with the whole sentiment of “as long as you’re happy, it doesn’t matter if you’re not with me”. It’s noble and tragic in some way, and it just works with all my secret romantic fantasies. I do think that this song feels a wee bit long towards the end, but in general it is really good.

Track 6 – Where You Are (English Version)

(Written and composed by Yonghwa)

I love the fact that CNBLUE tend to make more English songs than most groups. They are a quite internationally popular group, so it makes sense, but so are a huge number of other groups, and they don’t make that effort. And yes, both in grammar and pronunciation, this isn’t perfect English. But it’s a really good song, and I really appreciate the effort. Yonghwa wrote lyrics in a language he is far from fluent in, to give us international fans something we can understand and easily sing along to, and I’m grateful for that.

Can’t Stop

Track 1 – Can’t Stop

(Co-written and co-composed by Yonghwa)

You might think that this song would be too non-rock and too ballady for me, but it’s really not, and the credit for me thinking that this song is a glorious masterpiece goes to Yonghwa. He sings it in an absolutely stunning way, and the way it’s composed makes it more than an average rock ballad to me.

Track 2 – Diamond Girl

(Written, composed and co-arranged by Yonghwa)

I like the sound of the instrumental, but except for that I think that this song is a little generic and forgettable. Not that it’s bad, not at all, but I expect something more interesting from these guys. It’s a little funky, and catchy, but it lacks a little substance and weight.

Track 3 – Cold Love

(Written, composed and co-arranged by Yonghwa)

There we go! Drama! This is a very heavy and dramatic song, and I just know that during certain moods, I will eat this up. This song will probably make me cry, and I won’t be able to explain why. It’s that kind of dramatic pull that really lifts this song to another level.

Track 4 – Sleepless Night…

(Co-written, co-composed and co-arranged by Jonghyun)

I have the same problem with this that I did with “Diamond Girl”. It’s not a bad song, and I’m sure there are people out there that absolutely love it, but it’s not what I want. It’s too light, too far from the sound I’ve come to expect and love from CNBLUE. I hope these songs aren’t an indication of them completely altering their style, because I don’t want that. I enjoyed “Can’t Stop” immensely, but I don’t want it all the time.

Track 5 – Love Is…

(Written, co-composed and co-arranged by Yonghwa)

Very pretty. But you know, ballad. I could listen to this in the car late at night or when I’m about to go to sleep, but it’s rare that I find myself in situations like that. I almost never ride a car at night, and I don’t listen to music when I’m going to sleep. So I have no real place for this song in my life. It’s beautiful though, both Jonghyun and Yonghwa really shine.

Track 6 – Like a Child 

(Written, composed and co-arranged by Yonghwa)

I quite like this. It doesn’t blow me away, but it has some of that funkiness that I want from CNBLUE, and it has a bit more of their original rock sound. Not enough, in my opinion, but it’s closer. I like the lyrics though, they’re extremely sweet and nice. A child’s smile is one powerful thing.

Final Thoughts

As an album I definitely prefer “Re:Blue”, that is just flawless. “Can’t Stop” holds a lot of pretty songs, and the guys always deliver, but I feel like it’s made for a different audience. So I hope that that was just a one time thing, not an indication of a change in style, because I absolutely love CNBLUE as they have been.


Which stye do you prefer and what is it that you want from CNBLUE? Do you agree with me or do you prefer their more popish sound?

 

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