Let's turn back time about three years. Like now, the K-Pop scene of 2010 had been overridden by idol music, and their music was the mainstream, reigning above all other genres.
The four-member band CN Blue, however, made an entrance and changed the direction of the market. This band, comprised of a vocalist, guitarist, bassist and drummer, was an anomaly in the eyes of the younger generation at the time.
Thankfully, the band was able to draw interest thanks to its interesting resume. Jung Yong Hwa, who had appeared as band member Kang Shin Woo in SBS' You're Beautiful, turned out to be the leader of a real band, and the band had also debuted in the Japanese indie scene before it made a major debut in Korea.
It took a while for their music to be acknowledged. The band was first hindered by its members' flower boy looks and the limits music shows in Korea had in letting them play their own instruments live.
Their sincerity toward their music was even passed up when their debut single I'm a Loner, written by Kim Do Hoon, became caught in plagiarism claims.
CN Blue, however, never stopped trying to persuade the public through its music. Since its debut in 2010, it released a studio album, four mini albums, including its most recent fourth mini album Re:BLUE, a special album and its brand song Friday.
Jung Yong Hwa wrote lyrics and songs for every album, and member Lee Jong Hyun also helped perfect CN Blue's brand of music. Doubts on whether they could play their instruments well were quieted through many performances held inside and outside the country.
The four members enews recently met at FNC's new office in Cheongdam were completely different from the boys they used to be. They were more confident, and gave off a brighter energy. They wouldn't stop smiling when they were led to talk about their music, and their eyes shone. The members opened up on the three biggest changes that had hit them in their four years with band music.
CN Blue's music
A total of six tracks were included in the album. The promotional single I'm Sorry, Coffee Shop, Man Like Me, Lalala and Where You Are were written by Jung Yong Hwa, while More Than You was written by Lee Jong Hyun.
I'm Sorry has especially received reviews that it embodies CN Blue's unique colors as a stylish and modern rock track. The album contains even more diversities of rock, including pop rock and disco rock.
Lee Jong Hyun said, "We were going to release the album in November last year, but we started becoming attached to the album at the thought that it would contain only tracks written by us. We kept spotting things we wanted to fix, so it came to be released in January."
"Yes, when the members were acting in dramas I wrote songs," Jung Yong Hwa said. "I thought all day about writing songs in coffee shops in Hongdae. I was so absorbed I even grew out a mustache (Laugh). We had finished filming the music video but we had to check the mixing and mastering again as we kept adding to the song. We worked hard with no regrets."
Lee Jong Hyun also said, "We've always written our own songs except for the promotional singles. It comes naturally to us, so it's embarrassing to point out that 'we wrote this' (Laugh). I tried to express how much we mature every year for our recent songs. I think I feel more attached to the album because I had so much I wanted to say."
Kang Min Hyuk said, "This year again [the album] was filled with CN Blue's self-written songs. Of course, you call all tracks you wrote self-written, but when that came to be emphasized too much I started having doubts on whether it's the most important thing. I hope the songs make issues because they're good, not merely because they were written by us."
"People associate our music with acoustic moods like those used in I'm a Loner or Banmal Song, but we like more different varieties," Jung Yong Hwa added. "We contain many pop elements, and we like styles in rock and dance so that's why we wrote such songs for our album. Since we had to choose six songs, we tried to keep the balance using [Lee] Jong Hyun's More Than You as a major track among the minor songs that I had written. We decided on the order of the tracks based on the flow of the music."
Lee Jung Shin said, "[Kang] Min Hyuk and I concentrated on playing our instruments to liven up the music that [Jung] Yong Hwa hyung (big brother) and Jong Hyun hyung had written."
Trust in CN Blue
Thanks to the trust it had built with its music, CN Blue was able to perform on the January 18 broadcast of KBS2's Music Bank completely live, with even the instruments ringing out as live accompaniment. The performance as a whole was pre-recorded, but still it didn't change that CN Blue had performed each and every part of the music by itself for that performance.
Jung Yong Hwa said, "We talked about performing live with our agency head a while ago. He said, however, that there were a lot of issues to take care of, such as our schedule or the costs. We plan to continue to show how we perform live if our schedule allows it, even if we have to choke up money ourselves. It's more entertaining for us to perform live, and we were able to have fun with the audience in front of us like a concert. I believe we'll have to have more performances like it (Laugh)."
Lee Jong Hyun said, "What I feel has changed the most is the officials' attitude toward us. They trust us now, and give us room to perform as we wish (Laugh). More producers have started to suggest that we perform completely live, and it feels great now that we feel we're getting more opportunities to perform. I want to work harder and show off more of what I have."
"It would've been hard for the shows to give us time, but still the camera directors liked it and helped us by saying they want to get individual shots of us playing our instruments," said Kang Min Hyuk.
"I learned that a lot of producers still work with music," Lee Jong Hyun added. "They said when they first heard we wanted to perform live, they scoffed and doubted these 'kids' could do anything, but they were surprised when they saw us perform. We're thankful to hear such things."
Photo credit: FNC Entertainment
Reach reporter Choi Eunhwa on Twitter @silvercandy88!