By Paris365 on February 15, 2013

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Pop rock quartet CNBLUE's 4th mini-album is named RE:BLUE because it represents the rebirth of CNBLUE. It seems they felt like they were just going through the motions recently so they deliberately set out to be more creative and expand their horizons when it came to the writing of RE:BLUE. To that end, lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Jung Yong-hwa found himself rather inspired and was involved in writing the lyrics and composing the music for the mini-album's five new songs. Lead guitarist/background vocalist Lee Jong-hyun also co-wrote one of the tracks. And it seems their creativity has paid off -- the mini-album has already become a huge success in Korea as well as Japan with over 100,000 pre-orders, perhaps the largest number of pre-orders for a K-Rock band ever. Equally impressive is the fact that it has topped the Billboard World Albums Chart and hit #22 on their Heatseekers Album chart.

The hook-laden opening track, "I'm Sorry," begins with a phone ringing twice before voicemail beeps and a girl leaves a message: "It's over, I'm sorry." This likely signifies a break up, which is what the song seems to be about, but it also serves to declare that the old CNBLUE is over, signifying their rebirth. When Yong-hwa sings "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," it sounds less like an apology and more like self-empowerment. The song's music also feels confident, not to mention fresh. Bassist Lee Jung Shin lays down some sleek, funky stuff, in perfect time with drummer Kang Min-hyuk, the two proving to be one hell of a rhythm section.

"Coffee Shop" would seem to be the band's answer to Maroon 5, sounding as catchy and groovy as anything the American band has ever done. And they've done quite a few irresistible tunes over the years, so that's saying a lot. Here, CNBLUE borrows their twangy guitars and disco-infused bass guitar style while maintaining a sound that remains distinctly CNBLUE. The chorus is especially infectious; it sticks it's razor-sharp claws in you and won't let go. "Everybody, coffee shop!"

"나 그대보다 " (Google translate: "You Than Me") is a mellow mid-tempo number that allows Yong-hwa to use the silky side of his voice, which has a smooth, lovely texture. At times he even whispers some of the lyrics, his voice caressing listeners like a gentle breeze. There's also some wonderful harmonizing between Yong-hwa and his bandmates here.

"나란 남자 " is a very different song for CNBLUE. That much is obvious as soon as it starts with its glittery synthesized electro-beat. Here, they prove that they're just as capable of delivering disco-friendly pop songs as they are serving up rock numbers that over-flow with hooks.

"라라라" -- translation: "La, La, La" -- is an especially vibrant and emotive song that you probably wouldn't have gotten out of the old CNBLUE. It begins with a slightly creepy piano line, though it turns into more of a traditional pop rock song once the guitars start. Still, the piano runs throughout most of the song, making it moody and a bit haunting. The song is also noteworthy for having an intense hip-hop part at the end.

The final track is an English version of "Where You Are." "I'll always be right there, babe," Yong-hwa sings over and over again throughout the synth-laced tune. The song delivers one hook after another, its chorus being the greatest and highly addictive at that. If they were going to try to break England or the States then they probably should have done an English version of "Coffee Shop," but there's nothing wrong with this track whatsoever. "Only then I will shine bright," Yong-hwa sings at the end and it sounds more like a promise than an ultimatum. And it's a promise you'll want him to keep. -Michael McCarthy

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