[Second Spin] Love! Love! Love! for CNBlue’s Underrated Tracks
Second Spin puts the spotlight on songs that have remained out of it. It’s the chance to showcase some of the unpromoted tracks that are overshadowed by the signature songs in the featured artists’ discography.
The four gentlemen of CNBlue “Can’t Stop” bringing their music to the world stage. Recently back with their fifth mini-album in Korea, the band has also just wrapped a four-continent concert tour and released best-of singles collections in both Korea and Japan.
From the streets of Japan during their indie days to the Billboard charts, CNBlue has produced a body of catchy pop-rock tunes on life, love and dreams. While some may have caught the opportunity to see CNBlue live and gotten to know of the other songs in their wide discography, there may still be some forgotten finds in their varied track lists.
Let’s take the Burning, Lovely, Untouchable, Emotional boys for a (second) spin.
Any opinion expressed in this column is from the writer only and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Soompi Editorial Team and its management.
“Love Revolution” from “Bluetory” (2010)
Like many of CNBlue’s earlier releases, “Love Revolution” from the band’s first mini-album “Bluetory” is the Korean version of the track previously released in Japan. It’s a lighthearted, happy song, which breaks the sad tones of the album’s promoted single, “I’m a Loner.” This track features a short rap break that lead vocalist Jung Yong Hwa sometimes passes over to bassist Lee Jung Shin in live performances.
“Lie” from “First Step” (2011)
Guitarist Lee Jong Hyun is the force behind “Lie,” having created it while in the waiting room of a music program (as he personally revealed during an appearance in “M Soundplex”). It is a song that especially showcases the harmony of his and Jung Yong Hwa’s voices. In a segment of the song where they sing a line alternately, Lee Jong Hyun’s smooth, modulated voice contrasts with Jung Yong Hwa’s rocky, raspy one. “Lie” was first released as one of two tracks in a single in Japan in 2010, and remade with Korean lyrics for its release in CNBlue’s first full Korean album, “First Step.”
“One Time” from “First Step” (2011)
“One Time” is a Jung Yong Hwa composition, also first released in Japan during their indie era. The song itself tells of that period in CNBlue’s journey towards making their music known to a bigger audience. Originally sung in English, the lyrics, while a little stilted in the grammar, is chock-full of imagery on determination amid difficulties: “One way, only one way. I had nothing on except for my socks” and “Give me a few more minutes. One time. One time. I’ll show what I can be: the top of the world.” Though the Korean lyrics, when the track is launched in “First Step,” are slightly different, it retains the same rah-rah spirit.
“Dream Boy” from “Ear Fun” (2012)
When “Ear Fun” came out in March 2012, CNBlue has had a successful major label debut in Japan and co-headlined a show in the United States with labelmates FT Island. A certain pressure might have set in, along with a lick of being burned out. In contrast to the strong messages of chasing dreams as in “One Time,” the track “Dream Boy” from “Ear Fun” is a wistful remembrance of simpler times. The song lulls and stays gentle in its verses but picks up in tempo at the choruses for an overall still positive song about going forward in the direction of one’s dreams.
“No More” from “Code Name Blue” (2012)
Like many artists, CNBlue also draws influence from other musicians and they have at one point or another mentioned listening to Maroon 5. The Maroon 5 vibe is nowhere as strongly evident as it is with “No More,” a Jung Yong Hwa composition from CNBlue’s first full album under a major label in Japan. “No More” is a breakup song, but in the tradition of Maroon 5’s goodbye anthems, the good-riddance message is delivered in groovy beats and rhythms.
“Illusion” from “392” (2011)
“Illusion” is one of three new songs in CNBlue’s last indie release in Japan, “392” also a compilation of all their previously released singles. The Lee Jong Hyun-penned “Illusion” is a ballad that tells of lost love, and a man that cannot move on. The song’s highlight is its end, where the vocals blend and then the long, repeated “Ohwhoaoh” in the silence while the sounds from the instruments have already faded.
“Tattoo” from “Bluelove” (2010)
“Tattoo” reveals a more sensual side of the clean-cut CNBlue. A Jung Yong Hwa composition, the track is off the second Korean mini-album “Bluelove.” The song, which hints at a very mild obsession after a breakup, is eclipsed by its more feel-good cuts, “Love Light” and “Sweet Holiday.” CNBlue does perform “Tattoo” at concerts and live shows, kicking off or fitting it nicely in a set with some of their more rock-infused promotional singles and songs.
“I Can’t Believe” from “What turns you on?” (2013)
“I Can’t Believe” has music and lyrics by Lee Jong Hyun. It’s a pop-rock love song, the Top-4o, radio-friendly kind that one would probably tune into while on a city drive. The first release was in CNBlue’s second full-length Japan album, and later introduced to the Korean market in the best-of collection, “Present.”
“One of a Kind” from “First Step” (2011)
Thanks to the success of “Love Light,” “Sweet Holiday,” “Love Girl” and “LOVE,” CNBlue is also known to sing of happy love songs that send many fan girl hearts a-flutter. “First Step” also had “Imagine,” which saw exposure when Jung Yong Hwa modeled for a season campaign of a bag brand. But the real hidden gem of a CNBlue love song is “One of a Kind.” It is a bonus track on “First Step,” but had already been previously released in Japan. Though not written by CNBlue themselves, “One of a Kind” takes on the band’s signature sound with Lee Jong Hyun’s smooth vocals mostly through the song and makes for the perfect sweet note to leave a live audience with, as the band had done in shows earlier in their career.
Soompi readers, your turn! With CNBlue back in the limelight for a round of promotions, any favorite CNBlue underrated track you might want to take for a Second Spin?
hazelnutthursdays is the resident introverted fan girl. She loves catching a break on Thursdays (the not-quite-weekend) that she celebrates with a hazelnut-flavored (not-quite) skinny latte.