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[Album Review] CNBLUE ‘Can’t Stop’ Churning Out Hits With Their 5th EP

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CNBLUE comes back on the Korean music scene, sporting a more mature look and sound for their 5th mini album. Let’s take a closer look with this album review of ‘Can’t Stop’.

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It has been a little over a year since CNBLUE released new tracks for their Korean fanbase leaving their fans waiting patiently for their return to Korea’s flourishing KPOP scene. In the meantime, the four member band has been busy literally touring the world on a musical tour around the globe. Their ‘BLUE MOON’ 2013-14 world tour took the young men all over Asia, Australia and North and South Amerca over a span of 10 months. CNBLUE made history being the first Korean band to tour around the world, for a young band of four, that’s a really big accomplishment yet even still, they don’t let one achievement cool off before they are onto the next hurtle to jump.

Finally having time to focus on their home-base, CNBLUE released their fifth extended play album ‘Can’t Stop’ and title track MV of the same name, on February 24th 2014 which topped the pre-order charts earning them the highest numbers on any of their previous albums in Korea. Since the enormous success of their last album, ‘RE:BLUE and its title track ‘I’m Sorry’, which was written and composed by group members lead vocalist Jung Yonghwa and lead guitarist Lee Jonghyun respectively, CNBLUE decided to come back strong with yet another self written album. This time around the band takes a different direction than expected for the fifth mini album and resurfaced with a British Rock tone as well as mature subject matter. Yonghwa takes the lead on album production as well as composing and writing the lyrics for five out of the six tracks, leaving Jonghyun in charge of his own unique composition.
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The album kicks off with the infectiously melodic title track, ‘Can’t Stop’ which for the first few bars, leads the listener through a roller coaster of emotional sounds starting with just a piano and Yonghwa‘s eloquent whisper as the sound of the drums, bass and guitar are slowly introduced leading to Yonghwa‘s explosive falsetto and Jonghyun‘s soulful crooning at the chorus. The ever changing tempo which starts off slow, hastens, then returns to its original “ballady” beginning accompanied with a perfect symphony of violin and guitar strings that can be heard all throughout. The seamless arrangement, catchy hook, and total feel of the song with its combination of emotional lyrics and infectious melody make this one track you will not want to stop listening to. ‘Can’t Stop’ definitely lives up to the title.

The album’s second track, ‘Diamond Girl’ gives off an urban, jazzy club feel complete with brass band instrumentals and skilled guitar licks thrown together showing off CNBLUE‘s signature sound that is powerfully eclectic in style and delivery. Jonghyun seems to make the track glitter from beginning to end with his slick electric strumming along with Yonghwa‘s bright yet bluesy vocals. ‘Diamond Girl’ speaks of the feeling of wonder a man has for this glowing beauty of a woman, he just can’t resist her since she shines brighter than any other woman in his sight. The sexy lyrics fit well with the song’s upbeat tone which carries the musical elements of the variation of instruments from ‘Can’t Stop’ only this time giving the melody life with lively horns, drums, and a mix of acoustical and electric guitar all rolled into one snazzy little package of just over three minutes.

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From the first notes of the piano in ‘Cold Love’, the soft vulnerability of Yonghwa‘s vocals coming together the synthesized heavy rock elements of the violin and guitar, you know you’re in for one great rock ballad that only CNBLUE can bring to your ears. This is where CNBLUE make their mark and stay there, under your skin with their unique ability to be light and airy on one track and then totally blow your mind with a sound that blends harmonious vocals, the rhyme and rhythm of hip-hop and strong rock elements together the way only CNBLUE can do it. ‘Cold Love’ had me in a trance from the first moment, the first piano key and screaming guitar runs along with the heavy drumming. The intimate lyrics are the heart of the song which Yonghwa sings masterfully, exhibiting his ability to emote such tender emotion through his most powerful instrument, his mesmerizing voice. This band wants the listener to know they can rock out and break your heart at same time. ‘Cold Love’ has to be one of my favorite treasures of the entire album, hands down.

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Next, Jonghyun takes on the lead vocals for the lighthearted ‘Sleepless Night’ which follows up the darkness of ‘Cold Love’ with a bright, romantic rhythm and matching harmonies. Written and arranged by Jonghyun, ‘Sleepless night’ is seemingly about a man’s longing to be with someone he’s only met from afar and his unrequited love for her, this pretty and poppy tune has the makings being that one song that you want to listen to when you need to feel light on your feet or just want to bask in the perfection of CNBLUE‘s tandem vocalists, Yonghwa and Jonghyun.

‘Love is…’ begins with Jonghyun‘s husky timbre along with soft violins and acoustical sounds to set the scene for one of the most emotional and thoughtfully written tracks on the album. An anti love song within a love song, including some of the most mature lyrics which lend the feeling that words like these could’ve have only been written by one who has personally felt the hurt and pain of having to let go of a great love. Yonghwa‘s song verses depict a man telling his love to leave him and forget everything about him even though he knows his spirit will never completely abandon her, he asks her to leave him nevertheless. ‘Love is…’ is melodic and heart clinching yet the pain and the saddening feeling emoted from the track creates a mood of bitter-sweet need to hit the replay button and experience these emotions of true love which were poured into this “perfect for TV drama” song over and over again.
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Rounding out CNBLUE‘s fifth EP is the song most will say sounds like it was inspired by the sound of Brit Emo band Coldplay‘s dreamy piano and strings with such elements reminiscent of the sound that made the band world famous, and they’d be correct only this is CNBLUE. With is song CNBLUE has taken inspiration from somewhere else and brought it to the next level. Amazingly, CNBLUE created a wonderland for the ear as they marry simple elements of strings and piano and drums together with along guitar which all combined is just like heaven. To describe the feeling given off by this song, I would have to describe watching Yonghwa perched upon a cloud, wearing all white, seated at his baby grand piano breaking the sound barrier as he spreads happy thoughts and wholesomeness all over the world. Sure that sounds fantastical but that’s how I feel when I listen to this track. According to Yonghwa, ‘Like a child’ was written to express the feeling of pure joy that only a child can spread, with just a smile or just their presence and being able to relive or duplicate that feeling as you did as a child. This song forces one to ingest the idea of grandeur and simplicity all at once, masterfully produced to evoke that feeling exactly.
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The album ‘Can’t Stop’ demonstrates what happens when talented, hardworking born musicians are left to their own devices and given the freedom of creation and imagination. Not only is this album thought provoking but it leads the listener down a path of self exploration as one begins with the first track and ending with the last. ‘Can’t Stop’ is an eclectic yet cohesive collection of songs that make evident the level of growth CNBLUE have achieved in such a short time since their arrival to the music world four years ago. This album was a risky move taken by CNBLUE and their label FNC Entertainment because it is indeed so very different from what would’ve been expected after their successful ‘RE:BLUE’, but once again, ‘Can’t Stop’ exhibits CNBLUE‘s chameleonic ability to adapt to different environments and in this case, musical genres and make it work and work well. CNBLUE have proven they are not to be underestimated nor kept in a box, they are determined to break through musical barriers and use their matchless perspective to create their own color of music that only CNBLUE can actualize.

**Featured on KpopStarz.com on behalf of CNBLUESTORM**

Source: FNC Entertainment
Photo Credits: FNC Ent.

written by: Mari @cnbstorm / colormecnblue

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2 thoughts on “[Album Review] CNBLUE ‘Can’t Stop’ Churning Out Hits With Their 5th EP

  1. All 4 of them are so talented they continue to amaze me. Can’t wait for 4/12 when they are back in L.A.

  2. Boys are rockers………..always……….

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