The album opens to electronic tones with the scratching of the DJ table. For a second, you would think that “Hey You” is reminiscent of last year’s comeback single “Intuition”, but we are reminded that this is, after all, CNBLUE. After a long hiatus of a Korean release, they open with a track that sounds similar yet the same, and that’s how we know we are in for some Ear Fun.
“Hey You” speaks of a theme common to CNBLUE title songs, that of love, longing, and some tinges of regret. Being the only song that is not directly co-written by any one of the members, we hear them having fun playing the music in this song, yet also not necessarily owning it, as if that of mockingbirds simply mimicking music they are told to sing.
The sophomore track “Still In Love” is where we are taken back to a sound uniquely CNBLUE. The rawness of emotion is heard in the lyrics, yet it remains steady with the band’s signature laidback delivery. This track is better enjoyed with a tub of ice cream, perfect for the warming tone of spring and summer. Its highlight is that we hear each member’s instrument or vocals in a way that makes them blend yet stand out on their own. Props are awarded for a new vocal instrumental language in Jong Hyun’s “stabirabirapstastabira” and Yong Hwa’s singing of “Appeun sarang-ah”, and the way it sounds good you could hurt like what the words convey.
“Dream Boy” is genuinely a masterpiece. We hear the acoustic rock that defines this band, and the lyrics are well-written to convey the dreams and everything in between of a band only in its early years. Their youth and their growing pains were accurately summed up in this track.
It’s long overdue for a dance song from CNBLUE, and in this album we get it from “Rock N’ Roll”. It tells you to “dance” at the very least, so it becomes pretty obvious what it wants to do. That aside, the intro to this track had a life of its own. We start the song not knowing where it is going to take us, especially since it sounds like the opening riffs of a cheer song. But, if you tell us your head didn’t bop to those opening strains, we reserve the right to call your bluff. Credit is due to Min Hyuk and Jung Shin for giving this track the full-bodied rhythm it required. But then again, this song should be the anthem for power pairings within the band, as Yong Hwa and Jong Hyun’s vocals were also performing awe-inducing gymnastics with the way one of them seamlessly begins as the other ends (i.e. this is most evident beginning in 0:44 to about 1:07).
The upbeat momentum built from “Rock N’ Roll” is maintained in “Run”, so it is highly suggested you don’t shuffle your mp3 player when first listening to this album. True to its title, the song is delivered in high speed. The fast tempo makes the vocals in this song take a more subordinate role, giving the music from the instruments take the lead. Its dizzying pace can make it a fit for a film OST, perhaps of the anime or sci-fi genre.
“In My Head” is the only re-issue in this album from their Japanese release. So what it really achieves in inclusion to this album is bringing a hit home to Korea. Surely, FTISLAND vocalist Lee Hong Ki would appreciate this song more than any of us, since if given the chance to cover, he can sing it in his own language. Its placement as the last track also likely serves as homage to their fans, as the words of the song take a more collective theme, seeking a continuation of loyalty and love, a slight deviation from the undertones of the original Japanese lyric.
Overall, Ear Fun, in entirety, brought us sounds that are signature CNBLUE. The style slightly steered away from their previous Korean offerings, in what appears like an attempt to push the musical envelope. It is CNBLUE’s second year in Korea, after all. With this being the first Korean release as they push forward to their third year of music, we do hear a sound of boldness, creativity and confidence this time around. This is warranted from a band that can no longer be called “rookies” and a newly minted international up-and-comer. In this album, we didn’t hear them rely heavily on their musical influences, definitely no traces of Maroon5 or Jason Mraz or Bon Jovi here. Instead, CNBLUE pushed for a style they can call truly theirs, now and onwards.
I can’t really review bout music itself, since I’ve only focus on Jong Hyun-ie. So I take this review as an objective review for EAR FUN Album…
But after all, I like this ‘EAR FUN’…, much.
If u like this Album, Give your review too…