Korean rock band CN Blue finally released their first major album under the Japanese label, Warner Music Japan. With rock being heavily popular in Japan, their previous Japanese hit singles like “In My Head” and “Where You Are” helped assemble a wide following for the group, making them one of the few highly successful foreign rock bands there. This new album features thirteen impressive tracks, eleven of which are written and self-composed by leader and lead vocalist Jung Yong Hwa and lead guitarist Lee Jong Hyun. “Code Name Blue” is sure to mesmerize listeners with its colorful array of impeccable melodies and instrumental compositions, furthering the achievements of CN Blue as a talented and absolute band.
Comprised of a powerful drum line, heavy guitar riffs, and electrically synthesized reverberations, the album sets off with a dramatic and exciting instrumental entitled “Intro 02.” This intro is composed by Jung Yong Hwa and was first heard during CN Blue’s “Winter Tour” concert. Opening up a portal into the newly exhilarating musical realm of CN Blue; “Intro 02” definitely reels us in to listen for more.
The previously released songs “In My Head” and “Where Are You” were also included in this album as the first two tracks; both possessing an alternative grunge rock feel, characterized by their distorted guitar background and contrasting musical dynamics.
“Time is Over,” the album’s title track, tells the story of a man who has been ravaged by the merciless world he lives in. However, instead of wasting away with his pain, he stands up back to face it triumphantly. Yong Hwa’s powerful vocals and Jong Hyun’s intricate assistance from the background along with the overlie of guitar and drum effectively demonstrate that the time for wallowing in agony is undeniably over. This uplifting song has YongHwa’s name all over it, perfectly depicting the musical style that he’s known for. You know what this means right, it will be on replay for days!
Listening to the following song guarantees an excellent moment of bliss. Reminiscent of the disco era, with upbeat melodies comparable to the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack, the addition of CN Blue’s rock sound takes this track to a whole new level of fun! In “Have a Good Night,” Yong Hwa insists that listeners must free themselves from their worries, get up, stay up, and dance the night away even though reality is no paradise. I think I’ll take his advice, you should too!
The next song on the track list is called “Wake Up,” which was also a part of CN Blue’s recent 3rd mini album “Come On” that was just released on August 1st. “Wake Up” articulates a conversation about derivative people who act high and mighty while belittling others when in fact, they actually need to wake up and discover their individuality to truly shine. The directness of the lyrics and the buoyant rhythm of the music make this a song that many will undoubtedly enjoy rocking out to.
Unlike most of the heavily rock n‘roll based songs or emotional ballads from CN Blue, “No More” is a dance track. This song talks about letting go of a disillusioned relationship in order to find a new and better horizon. Seemingly inspired by pop songs from the 80s, like those belonging to Madonna and Paula Abdul, “No More” allows us to groove along with the song while cruising in a car or prancing about in the shower.
“These Days” written by Kosuke Oda, a Japanese lyricist and composer, is one of the slower tracks in the album, containing a softer and sweeter sound compared to the other songs. Being composed by Lee Jong Hyun, the lead guitarist provides the main vocals for the song, easily engulfing listeners with his soothing and ardent voice. Kang Minhyuk’s smooth drumming, Lee Jung Shin’s bass licks, and Yong Hwa’s light falsetto pleasantly render together to deliver us a song full of passion.
Another mellow track is “Blue Sky,” sung fully by Yong Hwa. This ballad was also written by Kosuke Oba. The song is simple and gentle with Yong Hwa’s voice and the acoustic background blending perfectly to together. Although the English lyrics do not fully make sense and appear a bit awkward, the song speaks about finding hope and having the ability to make a place for oneself in this vast world.
Confined between two other formerly released singles, “Mr. Kia” and “Get Away,” is “With Me.” This song again travels on the traditional CN Blue route with a cheerful and addictive sound. This sound that “With Me” possesses is similar to the pop rock that originated back in the early 2000s due to its arrangement of melodic tunes and catchy hooks.
The final song “Come On” can be said to be the definition of this album and represents the persona of CN Blue. It was composed by Jong Hyun and the lyrics were written by Yong Hwa. “Come On” immediately starts out with an appealing, greasy guitar groove that deepens and then serenely quiets away to open up for Yong Hwa’s commanding vocals. Yes, it’s true that this song is a bit heavier than most of their songs and it’s not as upbeat or catchy, but remember CN Blue is a rock band. This song proves that they don’t only make songs that have main stream influences to appease the general public but that they are also capable of true rock ‘roll!!!
Overall, “Code Name Blue” is an all-embracing album, containing various genres from distinct musical eras that amalgamate flawlessly together; fashioning a consistent and thorough sound that is strictly unique to CN Blue. Deserving of its name, the album does CN Blue justice with its wonderfully executed songs, confirming the band’s exceptional growth and talent as a group and individually. “Code Name Blue” is an incredible album that illustrates the pure essence of the band and is truly worth listening to.
This is the MV for the title track, “Time is Over.”
Here are a few tracks that my personal favorite tracks fro the album.
Review By: Samantha Her & Alona
MORE RELATED ARTICLES