I know half the K-pop planet is all over Girls’ Generation at the moment, but I thought I’d take the time to briefly mention this little mini that came out a day or two ago: CNBlue‘s Can’t Stop.
I’m pretty hot and cold with CNBlue’s brand of music. Their Korean releases have a very distinctive pop-rock sound that I don’t always like for more than a couple of listens, though if you asked me exactly why that is, I probably couldn’t give a proper answer. I’m actually more fond of their Japanese presence; unfortunately, that comes with lamenting the fact that they’re always singing in English. But past experiences aside, I’m happy with Can’t Stop, to the extent that CNBlue finally makes music that is different on the exterior, but still true to their roots. Over the years, my gripe with the group is that they’ve gotten into the pattern of releasing the same sort of lead single ad-nauseum, so seeing the piano based “Can’t Stop” is a breath of fresh air.
What makes the song stand out though is the juxtaposition of the conservative melody in the verses with the blown-up chorus. It’s creative in the sense that it doesn’t make a conscious effort to “be artistic,” which I seem to be seeing more and more of as an increasing number of idol acts try to put pen to paper and write music. Songwriting is often about following the flow of the melody you start out with; we should be able to guess where you’re going without feeling like we’ve already been told where the the destination is. I guess one could call it a form of storytelling where the listener latches on to the familiar such that she can wade through what she doesn’t know. It’s a fine line that musicians tread between telling and showing; active and passive; artistic and pretentious–CNBlue survives it and then some with their title track.
The rest of the album is similar in aura. It doesn’t boast much, yet it doesn’t disappoint either. The songs flow together naturally within the boundaries of CNBlue’s abilities, all the while presenting something that will impress listeners. Here’s my favorite track, “Cold Love”:
CNBlue isn’t quite at the point where they can create a full immersion through their music (like popular band counterparts Jaurim and Nell); nevertheless I like watching CNBlue start developing towards that point, in theory at least. Do I think CNBlue will get to the point that they “become one with the music?” (Goodness, that phrase sounds so archaic, if not hackneyed.)
No, not at all. I don’t think it will get there, nor do I want it to go there, for it will sacrifice the identity of the band. CNBlue’s broad reach exists because it makes pop-rock music effortlessly fun and relentlessly catchy. Each track flies by without another thought, existing as the epitome of simplified deliciousness. I don’t want to always have to think about what I listen to, be it good or bad, and CNBlue delivers the good side of a lion in sheep’s clothing.
K-pop is a mixed bag of hits, misses, and troll works–in this world, CNBlue stands out as a consistently decent band. No matter how many times I get annoyed at them for constantly releasing what is virtually the same song rehashed, I’m going to give their album plenty of listens. Can’t Stop is no exception to that rule. In fact, I could say that Can’t Stop takes one step further than just being decent, which makes the EP quite the success for the band. You don’t really need much more than that.
What do you all think of Can’t Stop? Which song did you like best?
Full Album:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdEP-Lpr0BU&list=PLUe4f9Byr_mg-kJP9_oOajyTuRDkdc-Mv&index=2]
(FNC Entertainment, Soundcloud, Youtube)