CNBLUE came back strong after a 10 month hiatus from the Korean music scene with their powerfully addictive 4th mini album ‘RE: BLUE’. The meaning behind ‘RE: BLUE’ represents CNBLUE’s opportunity to re-define themselves and their sound, to “Re-do” CNBLUE’s musical color. This album is the first ever to include a self-written & self-composed title track by lead vocalist Jung Yonghwa along with five other member produced songs making ‘RE: BLUE’ a true CNBLUE creation.
‘RE: BLUE’ starts off with a bang with the lyrically potent title track ‘I’m Sorry’ which describes the story of a man in a rocky relationship, being dumped by his girlfriend whom doesn’t explain why and only says she’s sorry. Disgusted with being let down time and time again, he’s left behind with only his anger to keep him company. The song explodes with emotional lyrics & lead vocals by Jung Yonghwa and an equally powerful bassline dressed with strong electric guitar riffs. ‘I’m Sorry’ expresses angst and desperation complimented by an infectious refrain which is the highlight of the song.
Following the intensity of ‘I’m Sorry’, ‘Coffee Shop’ is a mellower yet still rhythmically addictive song which speaks of the types of people & their many situations one would come across in a coffee shop. Inspired by one of his many trips to pick up his daily dose of java, Yonghwa wanted to capture the multifaceted relationships he witnessed. Coffee Shop’s sound consists of electric guitars that bear a Maroon 5 feel and a clean instrumental arrangement that allows Yonghwa’s vocals to flow seamlessly. Chameleon with his singing styles, Jung’s smooth velvety voice oozes sex appeal which plays well along the flirty guitar licks. Fellow label mates Ace of Angels make a special appearance as the girls Yonghwa refers to on the ‘coffee break’ during a brief but cute speaking part towards the end of the song. With its catchy lyrics & instrumentals, this track will definitely stay on repeat in my playlist!
Slowing down the pace temporarily, the only ballad styled song on the album, ‘Na Geudae Boda’ (More Than You) composed by lead guitarist Lee Jonghyun, is easy listening at its’ finest. About a man questioning the emotional investment of his lover, ‘More Than You’ has a beautiful sentiment and matching arrangement. Though it’s the least exciting track because of its contemporary and super relaxed start, it still manages to come alive at the bridge with the help of Yonghwa’s infectiously sensitive vocals. This song does well with breaking up the fast pace of the album flow so far which may not be a good thing. I often find myself skipping over this track, not because it isn’t good or well produced, just because I feel its slow tempo may not be what I’m in the mood for at the time.
Picking up the tempo to the max, ‘Naran Namja’ (Man Like Me) has to be the most fun song of the album with its’ wild electronic sound, bass line, and charismatic tandem vocals from Jonghyun and Yonghwa. All those elements come together creating a song you will want to keep on constant replay. Yonghwa’s magic is in his voice but Jonghyun’s get to shine as well on this track. The flawless harmonizing on the bridge portion, lead right into the most repetitive yet mesmerizing hookline easily making it the most addictive and fun song to sing along to on this album.
Next up, ‘LaLaLa’ is hands down, the shining light of this album for its flawless arrangement and passionate lyrics about a man who lost his love by his own immaturity then learns to let her go once he realizes she’s finally happy with the next man. The melodic piano mixes with striking sound of the rhythm guitar and drums to produce such a contagious and emotional intro that sets the mood for the rest of the song. Jonghyun’s vocals always balance well with Yonghwa’s and on this song; his are full of hurt and a vulnerability that suits the song so well. Once again, Yonghwa melds his soft husky voice to compliment any song, emoting the perfect amount of passion and strength each time he sings. On ‘LaLaLa’ he demonstrates how versatile he is by his hushed toned singing style, to the almost whispering talk he does at the break of the song to the breathy rap at the end, which to me, is the highlight of the song, Yonghwa’s full control of his vocals is something to look forward to every time he sings. This song is no exception.
Boasting very heavy grunge rock guitar rhythms and strong percussion, “Where You Are” rounds out this musically eclectic set of tracks. The previously released English version of the song compliments the strong musical body of ‘RE: BLUE’ because of its intense rock sound and strong vocals. “Where You Are” was CNBLUE’s second major Japanese single and helped to earn the band top chart placement in Japan and assists in establishing the musical color I believe CNBLUE are aiming for with ‘RE: BLUE’.
When writing this review, I tried to be as objective as possible but in the end, a music review is ultimately the opinion and point of view of the writer and my opinion is that I loved this album from the first verse of ‘I’m Sorry’ to the familiar sound of ‘Where you are’. I especially loved this album because of CNBLUE’s vulnerability. Having put his heart and soul into the majority of the compositions and the lyrics of this album, Jung Yonghwa allowed himself to express his thoughts in a way that makes the listener feel what he feels. Lee Jonghyun’s contribution to this album is prevalent as he exhibits he too is a strong musical force to be reckoned with not only with his vocal talents but with his outstanding knowledge of his instrument. Drummer Kang Minhyuk and bassist Lee Jungshin also demonstrate major growth and understanding of how slight variations of a drum tap or lick of a bass string can affect the outcome of a song.
Overall, I believe ‘RE: BLUE’ is a cohesive mix of Rock and upbeat electronic elements that when brought together with the talented tandem vocal and guitar team of Jung Yonghwa and Lee Jonghyun, comes alive with full emotion and explosive energy displaying what I believe to be what CNBLUE have grown to become. ‘RE: BLUE’ is the proof of what hard work and determination have afforded CNBLUE. The true color of CNBLUE.
**Featured on KpopStarz.com on behalf of CNBLUESTORM**