[Review] That Girl – Jung Yonghwa (CN BLUE) ft. Loco

After a 2 and a half year wait, Jung Yonghwa has finally made his solo comeback with That Girl. The main vocalist of CN BLUE previously made his solo debut in January 2015 with One Fine Day. That Girl is a track from the mini-album, Do Disturb, and the track itself features Loco, a well-known rapper and hip hop artist.

That Girl attracts similar comments to his solo debut tracks, Mileage and One Fine Day. While it doesn’t appeal to my personal tastes, what I did like about the song was the confidence that Yonghwa exerted via his lyrics and the vocalist’s vocals. The brighter sound compliments the catchy sound of the chorus and the melodies are pretty good. But besides all of that, the track just doesn’t seem to hook you in for long. Instead, the verses, which should have continued the momentum from the chorus ended up lacking that energy. Loco’s raps were a big no-no to my ears. It felt foreign and unexpected, which didn’t work with the rest of the track. Actually, his parts felt like a completely different song entirely. Although I only just listened to the track a few times (which means there is room to grow), I can’t stand his final remarks at the end of the song. It was 100% cringy and awkward to listen to. Overall, I guess you can categorise the song as ‘okay’ based on my comments.

The music video wasn’t too bad. I liked the colour and I thought the colour suited the atmosphere that the song had. The confidence, which I mentioned previously in the song part of this review, was portrayed nicely by Yonghwa throughout the video. It was totally evident once he entered the bar at the start of the video. But the side of Yonghwa that needed a little more confidence was Yonghwa in the choreography segments. Though I am not writing a section for the choreography, I can say that it looks pretty good. I know Yonghwa isn’t a dance idol but you could see it was very awkward for him to dance in the video and it made it awkward for us to watch. He starts off good, but that confidence or energy just disappears, which is disappointing. But overall, it was a good video to watch.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7/10 

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[Album Review] 7°CN (7th Mini Album) – CNBLUE

7°CN is CNBLUE’s latest release and their 7th mini album since debut. So many releases over the years and I only just remember getting hooked onto their debut single. I wasn’t going to do an album review for this mini album, but I thought, ‘why not?‘. It is also a sign of thanks for your endless retweets, likes on Twitter and the huge amount of views for my review of CNBLUE’s latest track. To date, you guys made the 24th of March the most viewed day in the history of my blog and made the review the highest review of the year so far (865 views in just one day). The force of the Boices!

 

Image result for CNBlue between us
7CN Album Cover

1..Between Us (title track)Click to see the full review of Between Us (9.5/10)

 

2. It’s You – It took me a few listens to like this song, but I am now a big fan of it. Usually, I prefer the rock and powerful sounds that the band is commonly known for, such as their title track. But this feels different and most importantly, it sounds fresh. It a lot more fluffy than what I am used to but that doesn’t affect the track in any way. The instrumental pulls the song together, which gives it a bright and sweet feel. Yonghwa’s voice fits this song perfectly. Whether he is singing or rapping, it doesn’t matter. Those “Woah” and “It’s You” are catchy and make the song addictive. (9/10)

3. Calling You – When I write every single review, I take my time so I can listen to the song multiple times to ensure what I am writing is what I feel and I could pick on a few more things that I may have missed out. But I can’t write this review while listening to the song. Don’t take it the wrong way, though. It just shows how good the track. Yonghwa’s vocals don’t stand out here, but Jonghyun’s vocals do instead. That part where they sing at a higher pitch (post-chorus) catches your attention. To me, the instrumental sounds very typical, but there is a happy vibe coming off it, which is something that is hard to miss.  (9/10)

4. When I Was Young – It sounds like your typical KPOP song, but it’s jammed with more modern influences that one could imagine. The band’s influence is softer in this. It uses more electronic sounds, similar to the title track. And it makes the song stand out a mile away. To be honest, it sounds like a track that a dance group would have released as a B-side. But here, CNBLUE seems to effortless make this song work for them. I like this song because, like the title, it takes different genres that I grew up thinking wouldn’t work and make it work. (9.5/10)

5. Manito – This is the compulsory ballad that all album releases KPOP must have on their albums. Is there some law that enforces this? This song is probably the weakest track out of the lot. But that being said, it is still pretty good. The track does make you sway along, and their vocals make the song sound amazing. It does give you a chance to relax and take a step back from the epicness of the album. However, it just sounds quite typical and ordinary., which does make it disappointing. (8/10)

6. Royal Rumble – Besides the title track, when I first listened to this song, I was blown away by it. It’s not your typical track, and it isn’t something that I have heard from CNBLUE before. It adds an almost Latin or Spanish feel to the song, which does stand out a lot. I love the strumming guitar, which is addictive now that I come to the think of it. More importantly, is the buildup before the chorus. It may not be much, but it impressed me a lot. Also, the “Royal Rumble” which Yonghwa sings, sounds amazing. If he had a huskier voice, then the song would have been perfect.  (9.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9/10

 

Between Us Teaser Image

 

[Review] Between Us – CN BLUE

CNBLUE has returned with their 7th mini album, 7°CN. This is their first comeback to the Korean stage since You’re So Fine, back in April of last year. Since then, the group had another (5th to date) concert tour and released more songs in Japan.

This song is amazing. Am I too straightforward? At first, it sounded a little awkward to me. CNBLUE is a band and for the longest time focused on more traditional instrumentals when it comes to bands (such as guitars, drums, keyboards, pianos and vocals). But the chorus this time is dominated by synths and electronic sounds. This isn’t the first time the band has gone for this style, but it is done wonderfully in this song. It keeps true to the band’s roots and the rock sound that I yearn to hear from CN Blue each time they come back, something that was missing from their last comeback. The chorus is made to headbang along with, something that I have been doing when the song pops up on my playlists or as the next automatically played video on YouTube. Per usual, the song is dominated by Yonghwa’s vocals, with a small distribution going to Jonghyun. I am a little disappointed because it has been a while since we have heard Minhyuk or Jungshin in their title tracks. But this song suits Yonghwa and Jonghyun’s vocals very much. There is a big difference between their singing abilities, but in this song, both voices worked well with each other. Everything was really catchy and addictive. And I mean everything (vocals, beat, instrumental). It’s a really good track and is a track that I would be willing to recommend to new listeners of KPOP.

The music video was interestingly shot. I personally thought it was a cool video to watch. There isn’t much to it. For the most part, especially, the chorus focused on the band. The camera circled the band, who were playing the instruments. It complimented the more upbeat and faster tempo of the song at that point. The verses slowed down a bit and showed more of the individual members. They spoke on the phone to their lovers. They used a flip phone and a brick (for those who do not get the term ‘brick’, it refers to the old mobile phones that resembled the shape and weight of a brick) for those scenes and Jonghyun was featured in a phone booth. Next, you would tell me this video was shot 10 years ago. There was a lack of colour, but that didn’t ruin the video. Instead, it had other effects on the video. Either the scenes were presented using a black and white filter; or while filming, they directed quite a bit of light to focus only on one area. It looked stylish and focused the attention of the viewer at one spot, where the member(s) were in the scene. I just was not into the overlaps of scenes and images (see feature image above). It made it look too messy. The idea behind them was nice, but it just looked messy. Overall, the video fits the song perfectly and vice versa.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10 
Overall Rating – 9.5/10

 

You’re So Fine – CN BLUE

So much work to do and yet here I am procrastinating. It is funny. When I don’t have anything to do but write reviews, I procrastinate then and find work that I have put off for weeks and months. Wasn’t actually planning on writing a review until tomorrow since today was extremely busy, but hey, CN Blue cannot wait. Yep, the band is back with a brand new mini album. That being said and all this talk about being busy, the boys are extremely busy with promotions and also solo work.

It is officially Spring and you can tell by listening to this song. CN Blue usually goes for a powerful rock / pop track. Something with a little more energy and bass is a sound that I would associate with CN Blue. However, this time around, they went with a song that has a mellow feel to it (but in a cheerful sense). This is the song that you would sit outside on a grassy field, with blue skies all over and there is just a nice breeze. That or cheery blossoms. Oh wait the song. I really do like the song. I was kind of shocked when I first heard it, but I grew to like this song. I don’t love and I don’t think it is their best song ever, but it is still a good song. The vocals were great, though the small sections of rap or the short instrumental we got for the bridge were kind of awkward. It has that “throw your hand in the air” kind of feel, but they are just hanging down near my hips. Though, I do love the instrumental. Combining that band feel with the saxophone did wonders to my ears. It isn’t overpowering and the volume of the vocals and the instrumental is just right.

The music video was boring. The guys are in this lobby hotel. Minhyuk is getting his hair cut. Jonghyun is getting this poor kid to polish his shoes. Jungshin accidentally gets locked in the elevator. Yonghwa is the singer by the bar. Okay. A girl walks in and each guy is suddenly drawn to her presence. She some hows manages to interact with all of them indirectly (by giving people around them flowers). Then she goes and gets changed, and each of the guys decide to sit there and wait for her to come down and blind them with her beauty. Might have added that last part. But there wasn’t anything in the video to make me go wow. The video just had me thinking “So what?” throughout the video. It wasn’t climatic and it just didn’t do much to portray that spring feeling. I did like the set, very colourful. And there is what I liked the best regarding the video. Their clothing isn’t that great as well, but very retro.

Overall, great song. I’ll pass on the video though. 5/10

Recap of Golden Disk Awards 2016 + Thoughts

Probably one of the biggest award ceremonies for music and also probably one of the most prestigious, the 30th Golden Disk Awards (GDA) was held on the 20th to the 21st of January 2016. The GDA was supposed to be held in China but was moved back to South Korea due to the recent earthquakes that occurred there just 1 or two weeks before the scheduled event. Even though many people were shocked and feared the award ceremony would be either postponed or cancelled, the ceremony went off without a single hiccup and was broadcast live in both Korea and China.

What I like about this particular awards is that is focuses on both the physical albums and downloaded songs of the year. In other words, more awards for everyone. It is also nice to see who excelled in what (hahahaha…). The digital awards were handed out on the 20th of January, while the physical album awards were handed out on the 21st of January. The award show on the first night was hosted by Jun Hyun Moo, Kim Jong Kook and Seohyun (SNSD). The second night was hosted by Jun Hyun Moo, Leeteuk (Super Junior) and Krystal (F(x)) I have recapped the award winners on the two nights below.

Disk Daesang (Album Of The Year) – EXODUS (EXO)
Digital Daesang (Song Of The Year) – Loser (Big Bang)
Disk Bonsang (Best Artist) – APINK, VIXX, F(x), BTS, CNBLUE, Jonghyun (SHINee), EXO, Beast, Super Junior
Digital Bonsang (Best Artist) – Red Velvet, EXID, AOA, Zion.T, Park Jin Young, Sistar, Taeyeon (SNSD), Kyuhyun (Super Junior), Big Bang, Girl’s Generation
Best New Artist – GFriend, iKON, Seventeen, Twice
Popularity Award – SHINee
Best Rap / Hip Hop – SanE
Best Rock – Hyukoh
Global Popularity Award – EXO
Best Group Vocal Award – BTOB
Best Solo Vocal Award – Jung Yonghwa (CN Blue)
Best Male Artist Award – Big Bang
Best Female Artist Award – Taeyeon (SNSD)
Next Generation Star Award – Monsta X

Once again, this wide spread of award winners seem to be more representative of main stream KPOP. Not that I am complaining. Most of the award recipients were similar to the Seoul Music Award 2016, however a lot more artists won in this ceremony, since their was more rewards. Not that I am being a hater or anything, but Kyuhyun’s bonsang award seems a little far fetched. From memory (correct me if I am wrong though), his song never charted high on the charts and likewise Super Junior barely makes an impact on the digital side of the music industry. So I am a little suspicious of how he managed to get an award for a digital bonsang. Saying that, he did sell a lot. Like a lot on the physical side. But beside that, I think it was a nice range of artists who won and I think it is accurate (as in which artists managed to shine the brightest in 2015).

I really need to think of ways to start off the different sections, but once again… I think out of the all the ceremonies that have already been broadcast (NOTE: I am typing this prior to the Gaon Chart Awards), GDA has the best performances. Why? Because many of the artists performed multiple songs and I really enjoy how some artists (or their producers) integrate different songs together. GFriend, Red Velvet, EXID, Seventeen and BTS had the best stages on the nights. Some artists performed some songs that were released in the past (in previous years, such as EXID’s Up & Down, VIXX’s Error, Sistar’s Touch My Body etc.), which I kind of liked, but, the songs were released last year… so maybe a little outdated. But overall, the performances, I think, were to a very high standard and pleased me (*points at myself* and *acting as the biggest critic of all time*).

Below are just the few performances that I found and slapped together in a playlist format in no particular order.

For a last minute change to the ceremony, it managed to do pretty well in my books. Awards, performances. Everything was just great. There is one more to go of this season’s award ceremonies, which will be coming out in the coming days. Until then, bye!!

 

Cinderella – CN Blue

CN Blue is back with a brand new album. This year, the members have focused mainly on solo work up until now. They have returned to acting and also launched solo careers in Yonghwa’s case. He made his overdue debut with One Fine Day at the start of the year. The band itself has been busy in Japan, releasing singles after singles that topped charts. They also have had many concerts in the few months in between Yonghwa’s debut and their second album release.

This song is a great song. Their last few songs have been quite mellow and more ballad like. This song picks it up quite well and adds that Summer feel that I don’t see much in CN Blue’s songs. This song is catchy and addictive to listen to. We don’t really see much bands in KPOP, so everytime we get something from CN Blue, I get excited. This song gets me really excited. It kind of reminds me of the tune of their debut songs and the few songs they promoted afterwards. I love the “ooo~”s that we get throughout the song. Jonghyun’s and Yonghwa’s voice compliment each other a lot in this song. In the past, Jonghyun was given a small part of the song, but in this song, he has parts that are spaced out more. Jungshin’s part, which was the “Somebody help me” was great as well. I am disappointed that Minhyuk did not get much of the song beside the drums and the “ooo~” that we aren’t really sure if it is his. They also nailed the English this time around. It was a great song and a nice throw back to the era of CN Blue which I liked.

As for the music video, Minhyuk’s arms. Damn, someone has been to the gym. Hahahaha… It is weird that the girl was there one minute and all of a sudden she disappeared, with a glass slipper to replace her. Like I get it for Minhyuk’s part where he looks away and then when he looks back to see that she is gone, but honestly Yonghwa’s part where she was halfway through shaving his non existing beard and then all of a sudden he leans forward and she is gone. What a teaser. And where on earth is that small laundromat? I have never seen a place look so small. Essentially, two washing machine are found in that small room and it looks so tight that they barely have any room to stand, yet somehow they made some room to sit down on the floor and chill for a while. Jonghyun’s part was also weird. He leans to the girl for the kiss, but she just vanishes and leaves a slipper behind. Jungshin probably got the short end of the stick and the only form of skin-ship with the girl, was a simple bump. But I love how dark the rest of the music video was. Does it match the song? Probably not. But I thought the test looks quite nice and reflected the mysterious nature of the girl that disappears and randomly leaves glass slippers. And how many pairs of those shoes does she have? Like why are there so many glass slippers at her disposal?

Beside that shocking music video review, I thought the music video was enjoyable and the song was incredible. CN Blue never shocks me. 9/10

One Fine Day – Jung Yong Hwa (CN Blue)

Jung Yong Hwa is back. For those who don’t remember, Jung Yong Hwa, the leader of CN Blue, promised a solo album. He pre-released his first song, Mileage, a few weeks before, and has officially released the whole album, with One Fine Day being the title track. I need to address something however. Companies really need to get some word out regarding the status of some singles. One song is released first, and then they turn around and say it was a pre-release. This really ticks me off. (Yes, I know I haven’t reviewed Jonghyun’s other title track and I don’t plan to, because I did not read anywhere that there was dual title track thing going on). End of rant. Proceeding with review.

Once again, it was an okay song. I am still hoping for a rock themed song as I have said in my Mileage review. But oh well. This song lacked appeal to me. I can’t really say it had no colour since the song and the music video was built up with that idea of having no colour. It is a very slow ballad. I like ballads, but when they seem to be dragged out most of the time (like this song), it feels boring and bland. The chorus is quite nice, instead of building up the song, it kind of plateaued off. Though if you want me to say a good word about the song, I liked the piano instrumental in the background. The start really does not show off Yonghwa’s vocals, but at the end does. Overall, I like the ending of the song more than the start. That is a first for me, I guess.

The music video, as I said before, was built around the lack of colour. During scenes when Yonghwa is with the girl, there was a range of colours. But when he was alone, such as his close ups, there is definitely a lack of colour. Overall, I feel that the lack of colour contributed to the overall feel of the song and it made the music video more symbolic. In the video we see Yonghwa meet with a girl and start dating. However, the couples drift a part which leads to a sad video. In the end, they meet up again, but with another person they love. Just both can’t seem to forget each other. Yonghwa’s club scenes were a little creepy at the start. He looked like some creepy person smiling across the dance floor that would make you uncomfortable.

Overall, this debut was lacking in some parts. But it made fans think he was dreamy and romantic. Well, that is what I think he did to the fans. 4.6/10

Mileage – Jung Yonghwa (CN Blue) ft. YDG

After like a whole year of re-scheduling and a lot of articles about the new solo “coming soon”, Jung Yong Hwa has yet to make his official solo debut on the stage. However, CN Blue’s leader has teased us with a new song. This is just a pre-release, with the actual solo debut set to occur at a later date (later this month). Hopefully, they don’t push this around anymore and let him make his debut. And then make a CN Blue comeback!!! Asking too much? Getting too personal?

This song is okay. I always hoping for something along the lines of a rock themed song as that is what I grew up to know Yonghwa and CN Blue. Thankfully, this is just a pre-release, so I can still hope for the full album right? Anyway, this song also compliments his soft voice. I understand many people love him for his dreamy love songs and dreamy voice. Just this is a change that I really saw unexpected. The song is quite sweet but at the same time is also quite funny. The rapper was a little too passionate for this song. While Yonghwa was being dreamy via his voice, the rapper’s voice sounded hard and harsh to this song. This song isn’t catchy and that appealing on a whole. It as, to me, a one listen song, where I basically listen to it once and forget about it.

The music video was pretty cool. Some parts annoyed me. I know that for creative purposes they cutted out shapes and stuck them onto objects such as a soju cup or a vacuum cleaner. Yet why couldn’t they just used the vacuum cleaner or soju cup instead of “faking” everything. To you, it may not be a big deal and that I could be really picky. But hey, that thought stayed in my mind the whole time I watched the music video. Beside that, I thought the bed scenes were hilarious. It was really creative. It is the first time I ever saw a bed stuck to the wall and the dudes were playing around, but really they were walking around. That is pretty cool. Blew my mind for a wild (mainly because it took me forever to get).

Overall, a pretty cool music video for a song that was okay. 5.6/10