The Three Changes CN Blue Has Witnessed in Its Four Year Career
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.”
CN Blue′s life 1: Acting
Jung Yong Hwa started acting before his debut, and last year Lee Jong Hyun, Kang Min Hyuk and Lee Jung Shin joined the singer-turned-actor ranks. Lee Jong Hyun appeared as Collin in the popular SBS drama A Gentleman′s Dignity, Kang Min Hyuk appeared in KBS2′s Unexpected You and Lee Jung Shin is currently starring in KBS2′s My Daughter Seo Young.
The trio received favorable reviews for their acting, expressing their characters so well that some viewers even mistook them to be professional actors instead of rookies from a band. Their good looks also helped them garner even more love from their viewers.
Lee Jong Hyun added, “[Lee] Jung Shin changed the most. Only a few people know how hard it is to film a drama and perform in concerts at the same time. Still, he got everything done without complaint. I felt he had become very mature, and I thought it was great. I wonder if he knows how we feel (Laugh).”
“Jung Shin now even makes gestures at the camera (Laugh),” Jung Yong Hwa joked.
Lee Jung Shin explained, “It′s not that, it′s just that I made gestures thinking that I should be of help too (Laugh). I became sorry with the thought that I hadn′t done much onstage up to now.”
Lee Jong Hyun continued, “Also, the way I express myself onstage has changed after I started acting. Our role is to help the front man (vocalist) [Jung] Yong Hwa hyung (big brother) shine, but it was stupid of me not to take up acting, as I′ve realized that the bigger we get, the brighter the vocalist shines, and the bigger CN Blue becomes.”
“I was surprised to find while I was trying to bring the mood up during a live performance that I was making expressions I had become used to making while acting,” Kang Min Hyuk said.
Jung Yong Hwa said, “I′m happy now that everyone′s busy acting. Our fans, however, worry that I′m not doing anything, wondering if it′s because I′m trying to let the other members become more known (Laugh). I actually asked our agency [for some time off] because I didn′t have any time to look back on myself during the two or three years I had been chased around by my schedule, working on my songs. I was happier because I had more time on my hands.”
CN Blue, however, showed it was happy in the midst of such debate. All throughout the interview the members seemed bent on giving off positive energy. Their positive and youthful energy was out to heal hearts.
Lee Jong Hyun said, “I was so happy when we were filming the music video for I′m Sorry in London. We performed on a rooftop like The Beatles, which is every band′s dream (Laugh). I don′t think we should be too concerned about anything when we′ve had so many great opportunities.”
It seemed Lee Jong Hyun was the happiest member of them all. He talked in a high, elated voice about how joyful he felt.
“Fans kept getting suspicious and asked me what had happened to me when I started laughing more than I used to,” he added. “I saw the expressions on the members′ faces while on tour, and they all betrayed happiness. I think we were like this since October last year. We were so happy to perform together, getting brighter with every minute.”
He also said, “I sometimes thought I shouldn′t be on TV, but it′s so much fun to see myself on TV. It also feels like I′m doing good for my parents when I come out often.”
Jung Yong Hwa said, “We′re enjoying our promotions. I used to care for my image when I would go on variety in the past, but now I don′t care at all. It′s fun to promote now that I′m enjoying it. I missed the camera when I took a break last year (Laugh).”
“I became scared if the four of us weren′t together so Yong Hwa hyung would appear [on TV] alone. Now, however, it′s so much fun because more people want to see us,” said Kang Min Hyuk.
Lee Jung Shin said, “[Lee] Jong Hyun hyung and Yong Hwa hyung appeared recently in SBS′ Running Man, and I found Jong Hyun hyung watching the episode like it was a movie, in a room with all the lights out. He looked so happy, watching it with the sound turned up (Laugh). He had seen it that night, but he got up in the morning and watched Running Man again. I could really feel his happiness (Laugh).”
He added, “I recently realized that I′m happy while I was drinking with the members. We got together for the first time in a while because we had been busy with our dramas, and we talked and laughed and reorganized our thoughts. I was tired, but I was happy.”
“Bad things may happen, but still I′m happy that the four of us get along so well and that we′re working together,” Lee Jong Hyun said. “I hope this lasts for as long as possible.”
“With teamwork like this, I′m sure we′ll be able to overcome any slump that comes our way,” said Lee Jung Shin.