Tag Archive | JongHyun

CN Blue: Musical Geniuses

The next segment of CN Bluestory documented the band’s first street performance titled “CN Blue Burning Concert” in the frigid weather. How ironic… Anyway, I was particularly moved by their revelations relating to their musical influences:

Musical influnces

YonghwaBon Jovi, because he seeks to achieve the same ‘charming and charismatic’ voice. The magic moment happened upon hearing “It’s My Life,” one of his favorite Bon Jovi rock songs. Oh, how I love Bon Jovi’s love ballads and rock songs; they last through time and permeate beyond the Pacific Ocean blue, to CN Blue’s lead vocalist. I have been an avid fan of Bon Jovi for many years, probably since before I was born. Classic hits I never get sick of listening to include “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “Livin’ Like a Prayer,” “It’s My Life,” “Always,” “Wanted Dead or Alive,” “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” “Lost Highway,” and “Make a Memory.” They have been a classic band that has survived time because of their unity, talent, versatility, and influence. Now, they have somehow captivated Yonghwa all the way out in Korea.

The ultimate rock song by an awesome old time hair band =)

Amazing how you flash forward 15 years, Bon Jovi lost the frizzy electrocuted-hairdo, skinny jeans, and tacky leather jackets for a more modern, sleek look. And still producing beautiful music! They seriously do not age…

With Yonghwa’s pretty face, enrapturing stare, chiseled physique, exuberant personality, and sexy vocals, he is well on his way to falling into Bon Jovi’s shoes. Aside from his musical talents, he’s popular on the small screen. On my “Korean Stuff to Watch” list are We Got Married (‘Sweet Potato’ with Yonghwa and Seohyun of SNSD), You’re Beautiful, and Heartstrings.

Here’s Yonghwa and his ‘wife’ Seohyun performing together, “Run Devil Run” and “Love Light.” They have perfect chemistry, on stage and on TV…

JonghyunEric Clapton, because of his everlasting love for the guitar. Jonghyun learned his guitar through music, and not just any kind of music, but Clapton’s music. He aspires to be like Eric Clapton, one who carries his guitar with his music. Once again, I have been a great appreciator of Eric Clapton. Mellow, soft, enthralling, Eric Clapton emanates serenity, soulfulness, skill, and passion. Some personal favorite songs include “My Father’s Eyes,” “Tears in Heaven,” “Wonderful Tonight,” “Change the World,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” and “Layla.”  You keep rocking on Jonghyun, you can be a great guitarist and musician like your idol Eric Clapton!

Check out this heartfelt performance by Eric Clapton, “Layla” Live in Japan (2009)! I love the guitar solo, where Clapton closes his eyes and strums every note with fire and emotion.

Another expressive performance by the genius guitarist Eric Clapton, “Wonderful Tonight” (2007). An analgesic song for studying or better, the standard song for the perfect romance.

The saddest song I’ve ever loved and enjoyed, “Tears in Heaven” Live in Japan. Clapton wrote this poignant song after the accidental death of his 4-year old son back in 1991. You can’t listen to this song on repeat or by chance in the car without jolting those lacrimal glands into action.

Look what I found on Youtube, Jonghyun’s soulful rendition of “Tears in Heaven.” He made a circle of Korean guys and girls swoon in the middle of the woods.

And as a tangent, I was watching Taiwan’s Super King yesterday, a CN Blue episode from 2010-10-2. HILARIOUS! Asian variety shows, they make celebrities say and do the darnest things. Check out this episode, where you’ll find CN Blue catching fish with toilet paper nets, jumping rope (and tripping), and attempting to sing Chinese classic songs. Oh yea, and you’ll find Jonghyun strumming to Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.” Enjoy!

Super King 2010-10-2

JungshinMr. Big; I’m not a big fan of Mr. Big the band, so I have no personal opinions or ravings to offer…

MinhyukMaroon 5, because to Minhyuk, they are “Like vitamins.” I could not agree more my drummer friend! I have been a loyal fan of Maroon 5 since their grand debut! The first CD I listened to and enjoy, from beginning to end, until it got scratched up from overplaying, was their debut CD Songs About Jane. Since then, I have made sure to get a whole of their subsequent hit CDs, It Won’t Be Soon Before Long and Hands All Over. I don’t think I’ve come across a Maroon 5 song I disliked to a dent. All-time hits on my iTunes list comprise of “Harder to Breathe,” “This Love,” “Sunday Morning” (plus basically everything on their first album), “Makes Me Wonder” (this was my ringtone and alarm clock sophomore year in college, much to my roommate’s dismay), “Wake Up Call,” “Won’t Go Home Without You,” and “Misery.” If any of these songs do not sound familiar, you should be ashamed… Go rummage through 4shared.com, click download, and put it on repeat to listen over a game of Scrabble or a dinner party. Minhyuk, you keep up your daily dosage of Maroon 5 vitamins, because I’m surely getting my daily supplements of eye candy.

Hm, I wonder how they got themselves and their precious equipment in the middle of the giant lake… It’s pretty awesome they’re performing in the middle of an amusement park. You don’t find random performances like this very often in America…

Oh and this is pretty incredible too. CN Blue and SNSD with “Gee,” but jazzy and spiced up. They are making beautiful music with beautiful girls. Love it!

No wonder I am so gravitated towards CN Blue, and perhaps so are you!  Their musical influences coincides, at least 75%, with my all-time American favorites. They have great potential to succeed and shine on the global scale, just as their idols have performed. With their passion and perseverance, CN Blue will continue to charm fangirls across the globe and hopefully influence budding boybands.

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Why I Like CN Blue

My favorite color is blue, despite my many pink belongings (you name it, I got it). Already, I was at a bias when I heard about Korean indie band CN Blue 씨엔블루.  I have always appreciated the creativity behind Korean band names, and CN Blue tops my list of distinctive bands, beating out American bands and even Super Junior. CN stands for ‘Code Name,’ while BLUE symbolizes each member’s essence: 

Burning = Lee Jong Hyun, Lovely = Kang Min Hyuk, Untouchable = Lee Jung Shin, Emotion = Jung Yong Hwa.

Gah, that earring!

CN Blue is not like any other Korean group, at least not the typical dancing-licious K-pop boy band. I’m typically into the K-pop craze, so I was surprised that Korean indie-rock bands existed and I got sucked into a new dimension. I said to my sister, “Hey, I kind of like this K-pop band CN Blue!!” who subsequently glared at me and responded, “They are NOT K-pop at all you know. They’re like… this underground band in Korea.” In my head, I was thinking, “Underground? That sounds… shady..” you know, like the Hong Kong triads, drug cartels, the Underground Railroad, or prostitute lanes. What she could not describe without sending creepy shockwaves was that they are part of the indie or alternative rock crowd. To put them in perspective, they are akin to American bands like Maroon 5 or All-American Rejects. Wait, my bad, Maroon 5 and AAR are American versions of Korean sensation CN Blue. And it is always the lead singer with the melodic, soulful voice who entrances me, let it be scruffy Adam Levine, skater boy Tyson Ritter, or pretty face Yong Hwa.

The boys of CN Blue are not just pretty faces who spend hours on end dancing. Instead, they jam on their guitars and drums like rockstars under control. They sit down, compose and write music, and practice like any other garage band, except they made it out of the garage and onto the Seoul stages.

CN Blue is a relatively new band, beginning with performances in Japanese night clubs and bars and debuting only in 2009 with their Japanese mini-album Now or Never.  They also played in the Seoul district of Hongdae, a dynamic haven for the artsy and talented. However, their big break did not hail until the following year in January 2010 with their Korean debut album, Bluetory. The first single was a HIT, BAM!-in-the-face GOOOOD, “외톨이야 Oetoriya- (I’m a Loner).” The first time I heard it, my sister was repeating all her CN Blue songs, and I was still foreign to anything else CN Blue except for “Love.” I was immediately hooked to the up-beat, pop-rock tune. It is funny in the MV, which was confusing at first, how each member gets caught up with life, whether it’s wandering in a populated street or getting beaten like a pulp, and then letting out a climactic scream, before meeting at a concert to perform, together…

“Love Revolution” is another great CN Blue classic, with a strong rock-n-roll beat to it. You feel like you want to get up and jump up and down.

Bluetory (2010)

01 외톨이야 I’m a Loner
02 Love Revolution
03 Y, Why…
04 Now or Never
05 그럴 겁니다… 잊을 겁니다… I Will… Forget You…

I vividly remember “Love” as the VERY first and only CN Blue song I listened to until recently. I had too much K-pop congestion in my iTunes that I was too lazy to explore and follow up on this foreign band. That first taste of CN Blue was truly impressionable, because the song was a mix of alternative rock AND jazz. Jazz??!! Yes, I was impressed with the catchy, jazzy tune. Yong Hwa’s soothing vocals and the upbeat instrumentals, supplemented with a brief rock-and-roll section, truly made the song unique.

I like “Black Flower” for its heavy rock tune and “Love Light” for its relaxing soft strumming, perfect for a vacation on the Hawaiian beaches. Seriously, it’s like a song you’d hear under the palm trees with a cooling Pina Colada.

 

Bluelove (2010)

01 LOVE
02 Sweet Holiday
03 Black Flower
04 Tattoo
05 사랑 빛 (Love Light)
06 Let’s Go Crazy

Now, their most recent album, First Step (2011), features some incredible songs, “Love Girl and “Intuition.” I was actually watching “Love Girl” on Youtube by accident one day, because I get subscriptions to live performances in Korea. The rest became history. I was automatically addicted to “Love Girl” to the point of watching almost EVERY live performance they did for their First Step promotion. It is a cute and entrancing song; I still cannot stop listening to it, like right now as I finish this piece. There’s a pop-feel to it, mixed in with some energy and catchy guitar tunes.

I believe what draws me to CN Blue so steadfastly (I’m jamming to my CN Blue collection as I write this, for inspiration) is how they are so different from the K-pop scene. I watched their performances on repeat, especially “Love Girl” like 50 times to date, and I was amazed they could sing AND play instruments. I thought, “Man, they don’t DANCE or wear funky outfits??” Technically, they are no different from Maroon 5, AAR, The Fray, or Matchbox 20, except they’re Asian eye candy. However, CN Blue is a nice medley of different musical styles. Can Adam Levine serenade a jazzy tune, and make rap sound sexy? Can Isaac Slade and the Fray graffiti my car and get away with it? Can Tyson Ritter slow-jam to a love song, or rap and rock at the same time? Can Rob Thomas sing in Korean and Japanese? Jong Hyun wins my heart with a soft rendition of Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.” Even better, Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning.”  Jung Shin can rock that silky, long hair in a ponytail, versus scruffy American guitarists/bassists who throw their greasy locks in all directions. Min Hyuk bangs on his precious drums in the background. Yong Hwa, my CN Blue bias, looks plain adorable in simple attire, whether it’s a striped shirt or a slick suit. His puppy eyes and shy smile makes me weak in the knees and flush in the cheeks.

I suggest watching their 2010 documentary, CN Bluetory, which is like those ever-addicting E! True Hollywood Story, except featuring CN Blue’s evolutionary history =) They are a cohesive group of friends who enjoy each others’ company and making music together. All their hard work has paid off!

I liked this particular segment in their documentary:  What music means to them?

Yong Hwa – “Music allows me to breathe, allows others to breathe.”

Jung Shin – “Music makes me think of rest. We usually listen to music when we rest, don’t we? If my music could mean a rest to someone, that would be great.”

Jong Hyun – “Music is a form of communication when I can’t express through words. I also want to relay my music, share with others.” 

Min Hyuk – “Music is something like… rice, maybe my rice.  In my life music and rice are the same. Rice is something we eat 3X a day. Without rice, we’d feel hungry and uneasy.” Oh I like this one the best, because it’s a genuine comparison between passion and basic needs.

Wow, they have mesmerizing stares...

MJ, You Are Missed Dearly Around the World

SNSD SUJU Golden Disk Celebration 2010

As usual, I’ve been hunting around Youtube for K-pop MVs and old concerts.  I came across a Michael Jackson tribute performance at the South Korean 2009 Golden Disc Awards in December.  As the world sadly mourned the loss of the King of Pop, many artists around the world paid homage to Michael Jackson’s legacy. This breathtaking performance of MJ’s hottest dance hits by Super Junior, SHINee, and SNSD absolutely blew me away.  It goes to show how much MJ influenced the world, and how much further international musicians listened and appreciated him right back.  If only America can open up its arrogant ears to the greater talents the rest of the world has to offer?  Then, maybe we can enjoy these amazing Asian popstars who have the flair and spunk to change the face of international entertainment.

12/10/09 Golden Disk Award Winners

Oh, my! The Superb Junior 슈퍼주니어 (Leeteuk, Eunhyuk, Sungmin) and SHINee (JongHyun, Key, TaeMin), how awesome is their rendition of “Beat It” and “Bad.”  I adore the black-and-white suit style, the white gloves, and the mysterious fedora hat; the guys achieved the MJ look with an air of sex appeal.  The choreography and the synchronization were all put together very cleverly.  They make the Moonwalk and every dance move look so effortless.  And (Girl’s Generation 소녀시대) SNSD’s dance to “Smooth Criminal” was a show-stopper.  The girls (HyoYeon, Yuri, SooYoung, Sunny, SeoHyun) really mastered the

SNSD "Smooth Criminal"

famous Moonwalk and robotic moves.  I love their cute and clean tuxedo style, adding to that some attitude and spunk.  Their technique and careful execution of every move are flawless.  Now, this is the tribute to remember (SuJu, SHINee, SNSD).

MJ revolutionized dance and music before and during my generation.  I’m not a huge fan of today’s music (rap, hip-hop, teen popstars, etc…), but I’ve always loved 80s-90s music.  MJ started his career as a young kid in the Jackson 5, and peaked during the 80s with funky tunes like “Thriller,” “Beat It,” “Bad,” “Smooth Criminal” and “Billie Jean.”  Some of my favorite soft songs include “We are the World,” “Black or White,” “Man in the Mirror,” and “Will You Be There” (Free Willy theme).  Even though his last decade of his life involved accusation, controversy, and crude humor, I still remember him as the soulful, versatile musician and dancer.

Unfortunately, his end came too soon back in June 2009.  The NY Times alert in my Gmail came as a shocker.  There I sat, in my dorm room, scrolling through my iTunes and listening to all his greatest hits that have made music so memorable around the world.

Here is 王力宏 (Wang Lee Hom) and his rendition of “Man in the Mirror.” He made it his own, thanks to his soothing vocals, oriental instrumentals, and his charm.

And lastly, I found this Taiwanese version of “We Are the World,” called “愛 (Love)” a few years back.  This was originally Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie’s 1985 charity song for the Africa poverty relief effort.  The Taiwanese version was recorded to support the Indonesia tsunami relief campaign in 2006, featuring 周華健 Emil Chau, 任賢齊 Richie Ren, 梁靜茹 Fish Leong, 潘瑋柏 Wilber Pan, 阿 杜 A-Do, 5566, 張惠妹 A-Mei, 王力宏 (Lee Hom), 張韶涵 Angela Chang, 王心凌 Cyndi Wang, 范瑋琪 Fan Wei Qi, and more.  All the artists sing with all their might and passion, a truly beautiful collaboration.