By Paris365 on December 26, 2012

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Warner Music Japan

CNBLUE is a Korean rock band that has recently been enjoying just as much success in Japan as they have in Korea. The members are Jung Yong-hwa (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Lee Jong-hyun (lead guitar, vocals), Lee Jung Shin (bass guitar, vocals) and Kang Min-hyuk (drums, vocals). Robot is their fourth Japanese single and it follows their number one Japanese album CODE NAME BLUE.

I have little doubt that "Robot" will be another number one for the group as it finds them at the top of their game. The superbly-produced track has a great melody, catchy guitar riffs and is, ultimately, as infectious as any pop song this year. (Which doesn't surprise me, as I've always considered the group to be a POP rock group, not merely a rock group.) "I'm a lover, I'm a lover, I'm a lover," they sing over and over again during the chorus, harmonizing perfectly (as always). And that's not the only English in the track -- I'd say at least one third of it is in English. That said, I'm not sure why it's called "Robot." "I'm A Lover" sounds like it should be the title, since you hear it so often during the song. Maybe the point is that they're lovers, not robots?

The first B-side, "Ring," is a far cry from "Robot." Musically, it has lots of bells and sounds like a cheesy Christmas song. But I don't recall any mention of Christmas or the holidays in the lyrics. Of course, they could be there in Japanese and I'd never know it. Seriously though, the song has drums and bass guitar but instead of their usual electric guitars it has keyboards and bells. Lots and lots of bells. "Ring, ring, ring my bell," they sing over and over. It might grow on their pop-minded fans, but their rock fans will likely cringe upon hearing it.

B-side two, "Starlit Night," begins as an acoustic ballad and a beautiful one at that. With all of the clapping in the song -- which sounds live, not canned -- you can actually imagine them recording it while sitting around a campfire. At least initially. As the song progresses, it has drums, bass guitar, keyboards and layers and layers of gorgeous vocals, truly building to something epic. We're talking about the sort of vocal layering that producer Mutt Lange is famous for. It also calls to mind The Beatles. Seriously. It's that lush and colorful. Mind you, I'm not saying that it's as brilliant as Lennon, but I imagine it's a song he would have very much enjoyed. It might not be as immediately exciting as "Robot," but it certainly rewards multiple listens and is easily my favorite of the three songs here. -Michael McCarthy

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