Band of the Week: CNBLUE
Welcome back to Band of the Week! This week, we are featuring K-Rock’s arguably most influential band of the 2000s, CNBLUE. With nearly 40 wins and even more nominations for multiple music awards and 23 wins from multiple music shows, CNBLUE is the epitome of band success in South Korea. They won 15 times at the Golden Disc Awards including the “Best Asian Group” award in 2012 and the “Best K-Pop Band” award in 2017.
CNBLUE consists of Yonghwa (singer, keyboardist/pianist, guitarist), Jonghyun (main guitarist), Jungshin (bassist), and Minhyuk (drums). Though they had a failed Japanese debut in 2009 with an all English album Now or Never, they debuted successfully with Bluetory on January 14, 2010 making them one of the biggest sensations at the time. Their reality debut show CNBLUEtory gave them the head start they needed to become popular. Multiple successful albums later, such as Code Name Blue, Can’t Stop, and Re:Blue as well as a successful re-debut in Japan, took their popularity to the next level. Another factor to their success was Yonghwa’s successful drama To the Beautiful You. Later, Jonghyun, Jungshin, and Minhyuk would star in other hit dramas including A Gentleman’s Dignity, Cinderella and Four Knights, and The Heirs.
CNBLUE’s style started with a more pop-rock feel with their first album Now or Never and their Korean debut of “I’m a Loner.” Their style continued with more pop rock, but eventually they incorporated some jazz-funk influence with “Love,” and would continue to keep it within their style. Both Yonghwa and Jungshin have rapped in their songs such as “One Time,” and “Imagine.” Also, Yonghwa says he is inspired by American powerhouse-rocker Bon Jovi, and Jonghyun mentioned that his guitar inspiration comes from American classic rock’s most easy-listening guitarist, Eric Clapton.
Their last Korean title song “Between Us,” plays up their pop-rock sound, but their latest Japanese title track “Don’t Say Goodbye” showcases their funk with a bit of big band swing.
CNBLUE held CNBLUE 8TH ANNIVERSARY FANMEETING [Track 8 - Just Please Hold My Hand] on January 6, 2018, to commemorate their debut anniversary despite their mandatory military enlistment just around the corner. Yonghwa enlisted for his mandatory military service on March 5.While Yonghwa was still in the military, the rest of CNBLUE held their CNBLUE Official Fanmeeting 2018 Boice Airline in Osaka, Nagoya, and Kanagawa from March 8 to March 15.Jonghyun and Jungshin held another fanmeeting in Thailand for 2018 LEE JONG HYUN & LEE JUNG SHIN 1ST FAN MEETING 'J VS J' IN BANGKOK on May 27. CNBLUE did their final fanmeeting, 2018 Global Leading Lotte Hotel CNBLUE Fanmeeting in Seoul "Everlasting Promise," on June 2. Jungshin and Minhyuk also enlisted for their mandatory military service on July 31. Jonghyun later enlisted on August 7.They released their Best of CNBLUE/OUR BOOK [2011-2018] nearly a month later. The album had songs from their debut in Japan in 2011, including their newest song, “Don't Say Goodbye,” which was recorded well before Yonghwa enlisted. Expected to be back in 2020, Boice are anxiously awaiting the boys’ return. Until then, if you haven’t already played their best of album, be sure to buy it, especially if you are new. You’ll be in awe of their pop-rock and funk sound.